Destiny Jones’ reference to the world’s shortest novel (page 153) is a mash-up of two unrelated but well-known stories. But it kind of works.
First is the so-called world’s shortest (and saddest) story, attributed to Ernest Hemmingway. In only six words, we get the entire tale. “For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
The second part of the mash-up is a joke that goes like this:
Anxious relatives are gathered in a hospital waiting room when suddenly the doctor, grave and serious, walks in with news about their loved one.
“I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” he explains to the family, “but the only hope left for your relative is a brain transplant. Since the procedure is experimental, your insurance won’t cover the cost. You’ll have to pay for it yourselves.”
As the family pondered the troubling news, one of them finally inquired, “How much does a brain cost, anyway?”
“You have a choice,” the doctor replied. “A man’s brain will set you back $5,000, while a woman’s brain is only $200.”
The male relatives smirked while the ladies scowled.
One of the female relatives finally broke the awkward silence and asked, “Why does the man’s brain cost so much more?”
The doctor replied, “That’s because it’s never been used.”
As Rorschach says in The Watchmen, “Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”
“I see what you did there.”
[Image from The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962, dir Joseph Green, American International Pictures.]