Funny stories in under 500 words.

Leaving the Pen

Why would Lincoln never go to jail? Because he is in a cent! Anyway... Check out this story from Todd Outcalt, who is the author of over thirty books in six languages. He live in Brownsburg, Indiana.
The path between the fences had never seemed so long, but Talbert was enjoying the conversation with Warden as they strode toward the gate. “Remember,” Warden said. “Remember what you’ve learned these past three years. Nothing comes easy. When you walk through that gate, it’s going to hit you like a ton of bricks. Steer clear of any signs of trouble. Stick with what you know. And don’t press. Don’t try to do too much too fast.”

Talbert nodded. He was eager to get past the hazing, break through to a new life. All he had was his high school behind him, and now three years to learn the hard way. And it was tough—all of it. The long work in the pen. The constant ridicule. The shit food and the crowds who cursed at him on the other side of the fence. All he could do was take it—which was the most difficult learning of all . . . finding a way to stand tall through his mistakes.

Warden patted him on the back—a first—and Talbert swelled with confidence as he neared the gate. Talbert wondered if the other side would be receptive to him, welcome him. He wondered, if he should run, would the grass hold up under his feet and if all of the space beyond would be as beautiful as he had imagined in his dreams. But he was nervous, not wanting to blow his chance, holding out hope that he had not squandered his years in the pen.

Talbert rounded his shoulders, drew in a couple of deep breaths. Warden patted him on the back again just before he opened the gate. “It’s all yours,” Warden said, sliding back the bolt. “Go get ‘em.”

Talbert hesitated briefly amid the chorus of cheers and jeers that greeted him, and then he sprinted across the silken grass, blinded by light, his energies focused on the pitcher’s mound as Warden barked at him from behind, “Welcome to the Major Leagues, rookie!”


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