Flash Friday 23/05/2014: Worn Out Joke
The Englishman orders a pint of beer.
The bar falls deathly silent. All heads crank around to the three men at the bar. Nobody had seen them come in, but everyone heard them speak. Now, the trio had the attention of every patron in the establishment.
The barman places a beer in front of the Englishman. His face is like a young boy about to open Christmas presents. “Very good. And you, sir?”
“A beer,” says the Scotsman.
The bar can see a pattern establishing. So can the barman, who’s excitement causes his hands to shake as he attempts to pour out the Scotsman’s order. The drink is served with a slightly damp glass and an overflowing head. “And the third sir?”
“Gimme a Guinness,” the Irishman said.
A sharp intake of breath washed over the crowd. They all saw the blatant racial stereotype in the set-up. Anyone doubting the joke would have a punchline could now see how it could come together. But how was it going to?
The barman placed the Guinness on a drinks mat, rubbing his hands together with anticipation, failing to hide the gigantic grin on his face. His eyes darted between the three.
The trio took a swig in unison.
“So.” The Englishman returned his drink. “How was work today?”
“Pretty good, pretty good.” The Scotsman wiped the foam off of his lips, turning to the Irishman. “And you?”
Nobody in the bar breathed for a good five seconds.
“Aye, pretty good.” The Irishman gave a coy nod. “You look like hell though.”
“Yeah, bad day.” The Englishman shook his head. “I was hoping you two would have rotten days as well, so I had someone to complain to.”
“Aye, well you know us. Always good fer a listen fer a friend.”
“Thanks, but I’ll pass.”
The three took a second swig.
“So.” The Scotsman gave a large smile to himself. “Who else saw the football game last night, eh?”
“Wait a minute.”
The barman’s interruption caused all three patrons to turn to him.
“What is it?” the Englishman said.
“What in bloody hells do you three think you’re doing?”
The Englishman looked down at his drink. “Unwinding, mostly.”
“Unwinding? You can’t just walk into a bar and act like you’re three regular men coming off of shift.”
The Scotsman snorted. “I don’t see why not. We are three regular men coming off of shift.”
“You’re hardly ‘regular’. You three did that whole stand-up sketch routine, didn’t you? All three of you.”
“Aye.” The Irishman spoke in-between a large swig of his drink. “But that was a long time ago. It all started with just the three of us having a giggle. Then people sat in chairs closest to us when we came into the bar. And I admit, we fanned the flames a little bit, rode the fame a little longer than we should have. But the point is, we’re done with the ‘walking into a bar’ gig. And the ‘wish-giving fairy’ gig. And the ‘firing squad’ one, too. Remember the firing squad, Scotsman?”
The Scotsman nodded. “Hard to forget that one. One of our best, I reckon.”
“Aye. So there ye have it, mate. We were famous, but now? Three regular guys wanting a drink.”
The barman tutted. “You can’t shed off a public image just like that. You walked into a bar, everyone got excited, and now you’re all just being a let-down.”
The Englishman shrugged. “Not exactly our fault.”
“Come on, just a joke.”
“Just one. Like your old times. Remember those times? Just do a repeat of one, or something. But none of that ‘We walked into a bar, ouch’ bollocks. Everyone’s heard that one, and nobody likes a smartarse.”
“You know, I could hook you up with someone.” The Englishman went for his mobile phone. “It’s a new group on the rise. The Swedishman, the Japaneseman and the Russianman. The name hardly rolls off of the tongue as easily, but their humour is much more international and broad, and they keep their finger on the pulse of current events.”
The barman gave a stone-cold frown. “Just tell us a bloody joke.”
The Englishman stared into his pint in defeat. “You know, when I go for a drive around my estate, I can take the car out at ten in the morning, do a lap, and come back at three in the afternoon.”
The Scotsman stared at the Englishman as if he were a backstabber, then resorted to the same fate. “Oh, yeh? Well, I can take my car out at seven, do a lap round my estate, ‘n get back home for six.”
“Oh, really?” The Irishman said, with no enthusiasm whatsoever. “You know, I own a car that breaks down that much, too.”
The entire bar exploded with a loud cheer, followed by a tail of laughter. Slowly, the excitement died down, everyone returning to the conversations they were having beforehand.
The three men finished their drinks and paid for them. The barman had the same happy grin he had when they had came in.
“So, you feel like coming back another time?” the barman asked.
“Maybe not.” The Englishman stood from his stool. “Although, have you heard about the ‘ten-inch pianist’ one?”
The barman shook his head. “Can’t say I have.”
“I’ll send him over sometime this week.” The Englishman gave a mischievous smile. “I’ll think you’ll like that one.”
Then, an Englishman, Irishman, and Scotsman walked out of a bar.