A Flash for Fun

Flash fiction is a fun way to hone your writing skills. Pick a topic or character and tell a story in 500 words. Here is a piece I wrote using the prompt “Three men walk into a bar.”

Straight Man

 Warton slipped in behind the wheel and handed Foster a coffee. “Two creams, no sugar.”

Foster accepted the flimsy cardboard cylinder and returned his gaze to the street. The steps leading to the apartment were half a block away. An assortment of locals had filed past in the last three hours, but there had been no sign of the person the two men were waiting for.

Warton slurped the hot liquid from his own cup and exhaled a sigh. He shifted his bulk and raised his elbows to free up the tail of his gray sport coat and thus his arms, which enabled him to reach and lower the visor. The late afternoon sun highlighted crescent streaks of coffee colored dirt on the windshield. Foster tugged down the visor on his ball cap but otherwise sat motionless.

Warton broke the silence with a chuckle. “So these three guys walk into a bar–”

“I’ve heard it,” Foster said.

“What?”

“The joke. I’ve heard it before.”

Warton raised his eyebrows and the palm of his empty hand. “What do you mean you’ve heard it? I haven’t told it to you yet.”

“Don’t. I’ve heard it.”

“Okay wise guy,” Warton said. “What’s the punch line?”

Foster adjusted his sunglasses and watched a young white female come down the steps from the apartment building. “Which one? There are fifty jokes that start that way.”

“Well, maybe this one was fifty-one.”

“I know that one, too.”

Warton stared down at the man in the passenger seat. Foster was half a foot shorter and five years older. In the three weeks they had worked together, Warton had yet to figure out the man. “If you know them all, suppose you tell me one.”

Without turning his head, Foster took a deep breath and spoke in a monotone, “Three guys walk into a bar. The bartender says, ‘What’ll ya have?’ The first guy says, ‘I’ll have what they’re having.’ The second guy says, ‘I’ll have the same.’ The third guy says, ‘Make it three but no ice in mine.'”

Warton studied the windshield. A few seconds later he shook his head slowly. “I don’t get it.”

“Did you ever notice that it’s usually more about the bartender than the guys that walk in?” Foster asked, ignoring his partner’s comment. “I think that’s why it’s always a bar and not, say, a library.”

“You’re messing with me.”

“It makes sense to me.”

“Anyway,” Warton said dismissively, “mine had to do with a parrot that–”

“This guy isn’t going to show up.” Foster straightened up in the seat. “It’s been too long. Call it in. Let’s head back.”

Warton alerted dispatch and pulled away from the curb. “It was a long shot anyway.”

“What was?”

“That what’s-his-name would show up here. I never can remember his name.”

“Godot.”

“Naw, that’s not it.” Warton scratched his head in thought then grinned. “So anyway, a traveling salesman stops at this farmhouse and–”

“I’ve heard it.”

So how about 500 words based on “You can’t get there from here”? Give it a shot. I’d like to see what you come up with.

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4 Comments on “A Flash for Fun”

  1. The Feather Quill says:

    Loved it! I’ve written a few of these and they are fun. No pressure for another 10 pages. It’s also great exercise to write without pressure, which is what stops so many dead in their tracks. Thanks Dutch!

  2. Waiting for Godot. Nice. 🙂


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