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.

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