They Can't All Be Gems
by Wayne Scheer
Two men walk into a bar.
Will Squires reads what he's written and shakes his head. "Good God! It's come to this."
"Gimme a beer," one of the men tells the bartender. "And one for my pal here." He turns and sticks out his hand. "The name's Artie."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, suh. I'm Reginald."
"Well, Reggie. Where you from?"
"Reginald. I hail from Macon, Georgia."
"Georgia? That makes you a cracker, huh?" Artie slaps him on the back and laughs.
"And you must be from New York."
"Brooklyn, born and raised. Flatbush. But don't call me a Yankee. I'm a Mets fan." Artie finds this hilarious.
Will is cursing as his wife walks by.
"What's wrong, honey?"
"I can't believe I'm writing this crap."
She squints, but can't read the computer monitor without her glasses. "Do you want to read it to me?"
"Hell, no!" He turns towards her. "Sorry. I just need to know what these two men are doing in a bar.
"My guess is they're drinking."
The bartender brings the beers. Artie pays for them.
"Mighty kind of you, suh."
"No problem, Reggie. But don't call me, 'sir.' I work for a living."
"And I prefer Reginald."
The two men drink their beers in silence.
Will puffs his cheeks and blows the air out slowly. Oh great. Silence. Just what this story needs.
Okay, I need small talk. What do strangers who have nothing in common talk about?
"The weather here's been pretty good. Bet it's a lot hotter back home."
"Yes, yes. My wife tells me it's been in the nineties."
"Whew! So what brings you here, pal?"
"I had to take a deposition this morning. Now I'm meeting a colleague from my fuhm."
"Oh, firm. You an attorney?"
"Yes, suh. I am."
Will runs his fingers through his thinning white hair. So now I'm stuck with two lawyers who walk into a bar. I know. I'll just have the bartender say, "We don't serve lawyer jokes here," and be done with it.
Wayne Scheer, a frequent contributor to Long Story Short, has been locked in a room with his computer and turtle since his retirement. (Wayne's, not the turtle's.) To keep from going back to work, he's published hundreds of short stories, essays and poems, including, Revealing Moments, a collection of twenty-four flash stories, available as a free download at http://www.pearnoir.com/thumbscrews.htm. He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. Contact Wayne.