You pretty much have to be a kid to tell or listen to this one. I learned this from a fourth-grader many years ago, in a tiny country school in Fletcher, Vermont. It is a kind of joke, masquerading as a jump tale. This kind of story (and there are a ton of them) can work very well-- the jump- tale part builds tension, which the punchline releases in a laugh.
Kids: The way it works is, you tell it as if it were going to be a jump tale-- you try to build up the tension the same way, make it really scary! The desk clerk should be creepy, the voice should be creepy and monstrous, and the kid getting up, going to the closet, opening the door, etc, should be very scared-- the narration tight voiced. Draw out as much tension as you can. Then change up and be goofy. At the punchline, don't be shy! Do the finger! Hold it out, look at it, then put it in your mouth.
Teachers: If you ever need to teach some kid a story that will make all the other kids laugh-- this is one. Some principals do seem to mind, so be warned.
This text is shareware, and can be reproduced freely, as long as you print everything, including the headers (so people know where to find more.)
copyright © 1996 by Tim Jennings
It was a dark and stormy night, and a man came into the hotel lobby,
soaking wet, and said,
"Gimme a room."
"I'm sorry," said the desk clerk. "We only have one room left. And it's haunted."
"I don't care," said the man. "I don't believe in ghosts."
"All right," said the desk clerk. "I warned you." And he gave the man the key.
The man went up to his room, lay on the bed, read his newspaper, and he heard a voice.
The man went "EEEEEK," jumped out the window, had a heart attack, and died.
About an hour later, a wrestler came in to the hotel office. "GIMME A ROOM, PENCIL NECK!"
The clerk said, "I'm sorry. We only have one room left, and-- it's haunted."
"I AIN'T AFRAID OF NO PENCIL NECK GHOST! GIMME THE KEY OR I'LL SLAM YOU!"
The clerk said, "All right. I warned you."
The wrestler went up to the room, started flexing his muscles in the mirror. After a minute, here came the voice:
The wrestler went "EEEEEEEK!" jumped out the window, had a heart attack and died.
After about an hour, a kid came into the office. "I need a room," he said.
"I'm sorry," said the clerk. "There's only one room left, and it's haunted."
"I don't care," said the kid. "I need a room."
"All right, " said the hotel clerk. "I warned you." And he gave him the key.
Kid went upstairs, lay on the bed, watched a little TV, and he heard the voice
Kid turned off the TV.
Kid got up off the bed, started looking around.
Voice was coming from the closet.
The kid walked over to the closet, put his hand on the doorknob.
The kid slooooooowly opened the closet door--