Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

by David James


Three men walk into a bar.
One drinks Diet Coke with a little extra lime.
One drinks pitchers of cheap beer.
The third orders mixed drinks, one after another,
with shots of Jack Daniels to clear the palate.
None of them walks out.
This is where it gets funny.
One finds out he has cancer and fights it
for years before losing.
One has a heart attack
in the bathroom.
One man’s memory crumbles into dust
until his body forgets how to stay alive.
The punch line is death.
The punch line is always death.

I crack up
every time I hear this one.


David James’ third book, My Torn Dance Card, was published in 2015. His second book, She Dances Like Mussolini, won the 2010 Next Generation Indie book award. His one-act plays have been produced from New York to California. James teaches writing for Oakland Community College.

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