Flash Fiction – Bad Jokes Count

“Excuse me sir, are you a policeman?” the man in the security uniform asked me.

“No,” I answered in surprise. Why would he think that? He knew this was a company party, at a bank.

“Then I need you to come with me.”

He grabbed my arm tightly and started to pull me away from the coworkers I was stuck having a conversation with. I glanced at Peter, who had moments before been telling a bad joke and saw sympathy in his eyes and perhaps a little satisfaction. Mary flashed a nasty smile at me. Realization hit. I hadn’t laughed. The security guard had not mistaken me for a cop, he was following procedure. Only police officers were allowed to not have a sense of humor. By not laughing, I had committed a major crime.

I knew when the real cops came to arrest me they would take my prints and find it was my third offense. I’d be a dead man. Frantically searching for a way to save myself I stopped abruptly. “See you guys in a year if they let me off easy. If not, don’t worry, I’m an old banker, I won’t die, I’ll just lose interest.” Then I laughed. The man holding my arm looked baffled for a moment then chuckled.

Both Mary and Peter wore a look of disdain on their faces. They didn’t laugh. Security surrounded them.

“I guess the joke’s on them.” I said to the guard. He smiled.

“You’re free to go sir.”

My husband and I were waiting for our carry-out order to be ready at a pizza place. I always try to bring a notebook with me in case I get ideas while I’m out. While we sat there we talked about story ideas and I wrote down anything that came up. Somehow the idea for this popped up.

What if not ‘getting’ a joke was a crime?

It evolved into not having a sense of humor being punishable and this is the flash fiction I got out of it. I wrote down what came to me quickly but ideas are still rattling around in my head. I will probably turn it into a pretty dark short story. I’ll keep you all updated.


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