Funny stories in under 500 words.

Meet Trouble

Will our hero get the girl? This story was written by Frank Diamond. His poem, “Labor Day,” has recently been nominated for a Pushcart Prize Award. His short stories have appeared in Innisfree, Kola: A Black Literary Magazine, Dialogual, the Madras Mag, Reverential Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, the Zodiac Review, and the Fredericksburg Literary and Arts Review. His poetry has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, Fox Chase Review, Deltona Howl, Artifact Nouveau, Black Bottom Review, and Feile-Festa. He lives in Langhorne, Pa.

“Strawberry daiquiri,” you tell the bartender.

You’re trying your best not to let on that you notice, but Trouble’s next to you. Her gorilla’s next to her. Biker arms, Duck Dynasty beard.

You’ll drink and bounce. You poked the gorilla. She’s turf: bright blue tank top, and tight white short-shorts. Crossed legs that you will not—repeat not—inspect.

Trouble says, “I don’t trust any boy who won’t drink beer.” Gorilla slides his glare behind her shoulders and over to you. You look away.

OK, dude. I’ve been alphaed.

But the daiquiri does look fruity.

“Pretty!” the girl says.

The gorilla laughs. Or could be he’s easing some flem into place for the next time he spits.

“Pretty drink, pretty boy!” the girl taunts.


“Excuse me,” you say and slide off the barstool.

“Ladies room’s that way,” gorilla grunts.

You put all the bullshit the therapist told you about impulse control into one nicely laid jab. You nail that gorilla flush on the side of his beefy mask, but he just smiles.

Next thing you know Trouble’s over you screaming, “Let him be!” to the gorilla.

You’ve got your arm around her shoulders as you leave. You wind up on someone’s front steps in Philadelphia about a block down from the bar. And this leggy—and what your moms would call “buxom”—nursing student tends to your ouchies. Makes cooing noises.

I lost the fight, but got the girl.

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