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Daily Prompt: Fill In the Blank – Three people walk into a bar…

… although to even the most casual of observers it is obvious that their arrival together is mere coincidence. The barman watches as they approach. He recognises each one, knowing what they will order, where they will sit.

The Businessman

He looks out of place in his Savile Row suit, silk tie and expensive wrist watch. He takes his order – a double whisky on the rocks – to a seat in the corner and sips slowly. He is in the business of buying struggling companies for next to nothing, stripping them and selling them off piecemeal for huge profit. Now highly successful, he never forgets his roots. His Dad brought him to this bar when he was small – he’d practically grown up here. On completion of every successful deal he comes in, sits in the corner and sips his whisky while his driver waits patiently in the Bentley. You wouldn’t leave such a car unattended in this neighbourhood.

The Mechanic

Looking older than his years, he orders a glass of iced water and sits next to a window where he can watch the world go by. He splits his time between bars, shopping centres and, when weather permits, the park. He lost his job three months ago and hasn’t found the courage to tell his wife. He hides the letters from her – letters threatening repossession of his house. Where will he live? What about the kids? He burns through their savings in secret while he hopes fate will provide him a new job. He remembers the day he found out his job was gone. A nameless, faceless company had bought the chain of car servicing specialists he had devoted his life to and split it apart. Ninety percent redundancies. Stunned, he had walked away from the car he’d been servicing, neither knowing nor caring that the brake system replacement was left half-finished.

The Drunk

A sad shell of a man, he walks on unsteady legs to the bar. Unkempt and unshaven, he orders the cheapest cider. Although barely midday, he already reeks of booze. His hand shakes as he downs his drink and the memories of that day three months ago come unbidden to his mind. Walking with his beloved wife across the pedestrian crossing. The car which threw him sideways, breaking his leg. His wife, thrown across the bonnet into the windscreen, killed instantly. The police had told him that it was “mechanical failure”. A failed service had left the car with only drops of brake fluid in the cylinder. It was impossible to find the person who had serviced the car, they’d said. The company had recently been bought out and split apart. The paperwork had been lost.


Every act, every decision causes ripples which spread outwards to touch, change, save, destroy lives.

The ruthless businessman. The negligent mechanic. The grieving drunk.

Three people walk into a bar.

  1. May 14, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Chilling story! Very well written


    • May 14, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Thanks! It was originally going to be a purely observational piece (from the barman’s point of view) but my mind kept nagging me to link the 3 strangers together in some bizarre and tragic way.


  2. May 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Wow! well done draliman!


  3. May 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, very nicely done 🙂


    • May 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks very much – this mini-fiction took a bit of thinking about!
      Thanks for dropping by for a read 🙂


  1. May 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm

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