Three Men at a Bar

“My younger brother killed himself yesterday,” said Jim as he put down his glass. Everybody fell silent – even the background music seemed to go quieter by itself. “I told him to kill himself and you know what? That son of a bitch did it. Kids these days, spending too much time in front of the computer. They don’t know what’s good for ‘em.”

Ray’s eyes widened in surprise. “No fucking way.”

“What? You know something about my brother’s death?”

“What was his name?”

“Johnny. Or Jon the Slayer, as he liked to refer to himself when he was caught up in his games.”

“My ex killed himself yesterday, and I’ve been devastated. I couldn’t pay him a visit. He told me his family was homophobic. I-” Ray broke down and started to cry. “I regretted not trying hard enough to make it work.”

“The fuck? You were dating my brother? You fucking fag!” Jim stood up, his fist raised and ready to strike.

“Now I know why he didn’t want to come out.” Ray retorted.

“My brother was not gay!”

“Stop it!” said Leonard as he stepped in between the two men. “Your brother just passed, and you’re acting like an animal in public,” he told Jim.

“It was all his fault!” yelled Jim. “If it wasn’t for this piece of shit over here, my brother probably wouldn’t be so much of a coward!”

“Hey! It wasn’t my fault that your brother loved sucking dicks. He was born that way – I didn’t make him choose his sexual preference!” snapped Ray.

“Just shut the fuck up and sit down, both of you!” interjected Leonard. He had to act fast before the previously-amicable-turned-sour conversation devolved into an all out brawl.

Jim and Ray didn’t respond. Ray was also now on his feet, staring Jim down. As if beckoning him to throw a punch.

Now the music in the bar had stopped and all eyes were on the trio.

“Are you guys going to behave properly or should I call the authorities?” the bartender’s voice boomed from across the room.

“We’re fine over here,” said Leonard as he nudged the two angry men back into their seats.

A few seconds passed and the music and chatter among the other patrons in the bar gradually resumed. It was as though everything was back to normal.

Ray and Jimmy were still fuming at each other while seated.

“Look, Jim and Ray – neither of you are to blame for what happened. You guys met tonight – there’s no need for bloodshed. Honestly, Jim, you should have told me you weren’t up for a blind date after such a tragic occasion. It would have been better if you stayed home.”

“This was the blind date?” exclaimed Jim.

“Yes, I told you that I was going to help you take your mind off things.”

“I thought we were just going for drinks!”

“And you decided to set me up with the extremely homophobic homosexual brother of my dead ex!” confronted Ray.

“How was I to know that you dated his brother?” replied Leonard. “If only you were more open with your past!”

Leonard got up from his seat.

“I’m going out for a smoke, and when I get back, I want to see you guys laughing and hanging out like best friends. Like you’ve known each other your whole lives,” he said. They remained silent as he walked out of the bar.

He stepped out into the cold night, lit up a cigarette and peered through the glass. He could now see that Jim and Ray were warming up to each other again and had started talking. Based on their body language, things were going well. It wasn’t long until they were holding hands and falling into each other’s eyes lovingly.

He smiled to himself. I guess I’m done after all. He pulled out a voice recorder and started speaking into it.

“Leonard two-three-one-seven reporting. Experiment one thousand and sixty-seven has been a failure. Despite all the different methods I’ve employed, it appears that it’s impossible to stop love from taking place. It is powerful enough to transcend both space and time. I’ve enjoyed myself in this timeline, but it’s time to go. If there’s another way to stop the relationship from happening, I haven’t found it yet. My life’s work has been ruined – all gone down the train.”

He sighed as he put the tape recorder back in his pocket. A few seconds later, his watched beep. “Message Received” was the prompt that flashed on its tiny display. He felt a tiny explosion go off in his head and his world was enveloped in darkness.

Writing Prompt from Reddit: Three guys start chatting in a bar during the lowest moment of their lives. As they exchange their life stories, they realize that they are all connected, and responsible for eachother’s misery.

The Fool

She was waiting for him to get out of his car. When he did they locked eyes. He smiled at her and she returned it. I’ve been waiting for you, her eyes seemed to say.

However her gaze immediately averted when he walked into the restaurant – as though she knew they were doing something wrong. He was here.

“I can’t talk to you.”

That’s all he needed to hear.

“I’m leaving-”

Please, don’t.”

He saw the desperation in her eyes. After a second which seemed like an eternity he made up his mind. He was done playing the fool; he walked out of the restaurant without saying goodbye. She held back a tear as he drove away.

Writing Prompt from Reddit: I give you the punctuation, you write the story.

The Perfect Crime

“Two years and not a word. I wondered if they even realized it was gone. Was my fake that good? I went into my garage, unlocked the trap door to my basement and descended the steps into it. I switched on the lights. There, in the middle of the room, was the prized Mona Lisa, resting on an easel for no one but my own eyes to see. I had pulled off the perfect crime, but there was nobody I could tell about it, or I would have been caught and sent to jail.”

“Alright, show and tell is over. It’s time for your meds,” said Francis off to the side of the podium. I stepped away from the lectern, normally reserved for bingo nights, and felt two steady arms guide me back to my seat. Though my eyesight was failing, I could see the same (old) faces, smiling at me, breaking the silence with frail clapping.

“Oceans Ninety Nine! Tell us another story!” I heard from the back of the room.
“This is only the hundredth time I’ve heard it!”

“Bah! These patronizing kids,” I thought to myself as I sipped the water through a straw placed in front of me. “They’ll never know the truth if it hit them in the face!”

Writing Prompt from Reddit: You have been striving for years to commit the elusive “Perfect Crime” for the fame of it. You steal the Mona Lisa and replace it with a fake. You leave a taunting note and wait for the panic when it is discovered. But, 2 years later, no one has noticed.

Tony hated cats

When Tony was a young boy, he used to have nightmares about a man sneaking into his room and taking his toys away. He had made sure to always go to bed hugging his favorite teddy bear, but in the dream, the teddy bear was always on the floor on the other side of the room. He’d cry and scream, and beg the man not to take his teddy bear away. But the man would never listen. He’d always make sure to grab the soft toy before exiting the room.

However, there was one night the dream didn’t play out as usual. This time, the teddy bear was still in Tony’s clutches. Thinking that the mysterious man would give up if he didn’t find the bear, Tony hid it under his blanket, away from the man. After silently combing the rest of the room and not finding the bear, instead of walking out of the room, the man looked at Tony and stepped towards him. It was as though he could sense the bear under the sheets.

“Go away!” Tony yelled at the man as he gripped the bear even tighter. He wasn’t going to lose the toy again. Not this time.

The man wordlessly continued towards the boy. And for the first time, Tony saw the face of the man, revealed by the moonlight shining through the windows of the room. Expecting the face of an adult man, Tony was horrified by what he saw – the man had the face of a cat. The fact that it wasn’t disfigured or grotesque made it much worse for Tony. He let out a scream and woke up crying. He had never felt a greater fear before in his life.

Since that nightmare, Tony decided to get rid of his teddy bear, thinking that it was a magnet for the mysterious cat-faced man. While the dreams stopped, his fear of cats and anything feline-like remained. He never looked at them the same way again.

Writing Prompt from Reddit: Wednesday Writer’s Workshop: “Thought” Verb Exercise


“I can’t wait to see her again.” He smiled to himself.

It had been two weeks since he had last seen her. She spent the summer break at her parents’ place out of state. So he had been looking forward to this day. He kept his feet on the gas pedal as he drove towards her house. Traffic was great this evening – it was smooth all the way. Less than ten minutes after leaving his house, he was at hers.

He saw her standing outside as he parked his car. He couldn’t wait to tell her all about what had happened during his break. Elated, he hopped out of his car and dashed towards her. She had finished smoking a cigarette and was putting out the butt with her flip-flops.

“Baby!” he greeted her, arms outstretched.

While she was only dressed in a casual T-shirt and shorts, she stood radiating like a goddess under the moon light. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

A few paces from her, just out of arms reach, he saw the smile on her face straighten. Like a trampoline returning to its neutral state, it took the wind out from his step.

“I’ve put all your stuff in here,” she said as she handed him a paper bag. Then she turned and walked back into her house.

Writing Prompt from Reddit: Write either a genuinely nice story or a story that looks nice and then has an unexpected turn. Don’t let any people reading know which you wrote until the end.