a short story
Averages three minutes to read
“…so the goose waddles back into the bar and says, ‘all right, I’m down.’” Shane delivered the punchline with raised eyebrows and a smile like he’d won the Indy 500.
Yuri stared with an expression that had less life than a marble presidential statue on a cold rainy day. His tongue lashed out at a blop of blue icing that clung to the corner of his mouth.
“The goose said, I’m down! Don’tcha get it? Come on, that’s funny!” Shane twisted against the zip-tied restraints that anchored him to the kitchen chair. The half-eaten ice cream cake that now only said ‘Happy’ between him and his roommate.
Yuri took several gulps of milk, his Adam’s apple working like an overclocked elevator. “Why is goose in bar? This common?” He cut a large swath of cake with a fork, reducing the word to ‘Hap.’
“Come on. There’s not much left. My Mom made that, and I only get one a year,” Shane said, scooting the chair closer to the table.
Yuri belched and blew the air into Shane’s face. “You make stupid bet. How this you job? Is no funny joke. No funny like Russian joke. That real joke. Like I say, you can no make laugh.” The lean Russian pointed to the timer counting down on the microwave with his fork. “Only two minutes, then no more treat from Mommy. She make? True?”
“That goose joke is top-notch. Crowds love it. Do they have comedy clubs in Moscow, Balki?”
“Call Balki again I smash cake in you dumb face. He not even Russian, not real person.” Yuri started to pick up the remainder of the cake.
“I’m sorry, roomy. Let me tell you a secret. My Mom says she makes this cake for me each year, but I know for a fact its store-bought. I can’t call her out on it. She means well but can’t do much in the kitchen anymore.”
Yuri put the cake down, his fork clattering to the plate. “Where I come from you call a lie to that person.”
“Come on, I don’t believe you’d call your mother a liar. You’re playing some character, big tough Russian bad-ass. Dude, you have a hamster named Sprinkles,” Shane said.
“No talk about Sprinkles, he more of a man than you mister com-median person. You quite the daring, though. You say? Tied to chair, one minute left to make laugh before I finish cake and move to face punching for to make laugh. Is bad wager, yes? Yes.”
Shane chuckled, “I may have overestimated my ability, probably gone overboard with the zip ties and face-punching aspects of the bet. Yuri, that goose joke brings the house down. Do Russians have a sense of humor?”
“We meet is serendipity for you, my friend. Right word, yes? You learn to pick new career. Maybe make the ice cream cake.” Yuri swallowed the last bite as the timer bleeped the end of the countdown.
Yuri exploded with laughter.
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