I hope your pranks were successful this morning and you were not made the fool yourself. It is always an entertaining day with so many companies and celebrities trying to get a piece of the action. I'm sure you all had a good laugh at Google dropping the mic.
In honour of this silly day, I thought I would treat you to a free story, so here is a piece of flash fiction called The Laughing Stock which appears in my short story collection Breadcrumbs.
It is utterly bonkers. Enjoy!
A man walked into a bar. He never walked out. Inspector Ulnar was sent to investigate.
‘This better not be a joke,’ Ulnar grumbled, stepping through the doors of The Laughing Stock.
Ulnar walked into a scene of jovial pandemonium. A horse with a long face was tap-dancing on a piano, whilst a twelve-inch pianist struck the honky-twonk keys with his fists. One drunkard threw a prawn cocktail at his adversary shouting, ‘That’s just for starters.’ The bartender himself was yelling at a playwright, ‘You’re bard!’ Meanwhile, another chap was hopping around with a dog attached to his ankle screaming, ‘I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!’ to which the accused replied, ‘That isn’t my dog!’
Ulnar sighed. Why did he always get these jobs?
‘Listen up! I’m looking for–‘ He tripped and landed flat on his face. That got their attention.
He had stumbled over an inebriated giraffe. Ulnar shouted at the gorilla sat with the giraffe, ‘You can’t leave that lying there!’
‘That’s not a lion, it’s a giraffe!’
Ulnar scowled and pinched the bridge of his nose.
He held up a photo. ‘I’m looking for this man. His name is Descartes, missing presumed dead. Anyone seen him?’
A bear shook its head. ‘No, I‘m afraid.......... not.’
Ulnar was suspicious. ‘Why the big pause?’
‘I was born this way,’ replied the bear, holding up two large paws.
Ulnar rolled his eyes and moved on. ‘You there, have you – Wait. Why do you have a steering wheel down your pants‽’
The suspect grinned, ‘I don’t know but it’s driving me nuts!’
It continued like this for some time.
‘Enough!’ yelled Ulnar. ‘This is no laughing matter! Has any man, animal or inanimate object seen this man?’
‘Ask the bartender,’ said a voice. It was a golf club.
‘You snitch!’ shouted the bartender.
‘Serves you right for not serving me!’
‘I was doing you a favour! You’re driving later!’
Ulnar was losing patience. He grabbed the bartender and hauled him over the bar. ‘Look! Have you seen this man? His name is Descartes.’
‘Yes! Yes!’ the bartender spluttered. ‘He came in last night. I asked if he would like a drink and he said “I think not” and then he vanished right in front of me! I don’t understand. Who was he?’
Ulnar groaned. It all made sense now. He unhanded the bartender and held his head in his hands. ‘He was Descartes. The philosopher. He coined the term, “I think therefore I am.”’
The bartender thought for a second. ‘Oh… now I get it! That’s pretty funny.’
At that, the rest of the pub burst into raucous laughter. Ulnar had half a mind to arrest the entire clientele for obstructing an investigation. He could at least bring the bartender in for causing unintentional annihilation.
But what was the point? It would just get laughed out of court.
He screwed up the photo and headed for the door. ‘What a joke.’
A man walks out of a bar.