Thursday, April 28, 2011

#FridayFlash - Keep It Clean

“How am I supposed to take a piss with you standing there?”

“Orders are orders.”

“You want to hold it for me, too?”

“You want I should kick you between the legs for getting smart about it? This ain’t no picnic for me either, Remedy.”

“It’s Remley.”


“What if I can’t go?”

“If need be, I can call in the nurse and she’ll bring a catheter.”

“You serious?”

“As a heart attack. Though I got to tell you, it ain’t the going in that’s the problem. She’ll put K-Y on the tube first, that way it slides up nice and easy. It’s the coming out that can be a booger. Sometimes—and I seen this just a couple days ago—the balloon don’t deflate and she just has to yank the thing out. The guy it happened to? The catheter came out looking like a grape on the end of straw. He walked in here acting like he was all that, you know? Later, though, the dude looked like he was carrying a hunnert-pound man on his shoulders."


“Don’t you worry none, though. The nurse, she got some antibiotics, cure any urinary infection most likely follow something like that?”

“You cannot be serious.”

“Would I lie to you, Remedy?”


“Again, I really don’t care.”

“Right. So, how does a guy land a gig like this, watching while other guys take a leak?”

“You getting smart again?”

“No, I’m genuinely curious. What’d you do, get caught with the Judge’s daughter or something?”

“Listen, Remedy, outside of this here—mutual arrangement—you and me, we ain’t pals. We ain’t gonna swap war stories or send each other e-mails with stupid jokes or titty pictures attached. We just two guys got to do their jobs. Mine is to stand here, make sure you don’t try something funny. ‘Cause in case you haven’t figured it out by now, the justice department ain’t big on a sense of humor. And your job is to keep your mouth shut, your eyes down. I would hate for you to lose your focus, make a mess all over my floor. The last guy who did that walked out of here with a bad attitude, seeing as how I made him mop it up with the shirt on his back.”

“Jeez, man, you need to relax. You take this job way too serious, you know?”

“Well, I’m glad to see you finally catching on. So what say we cut the crap and you get on with your business so I can get on with mine?”

“It couldn’t hurt, you know.”

“What’re you jawing about now?”

“About you and lightening things up a little.”

“You want me to tell you a joke, that it?”

“I don’t know. Why, you got anything good?”

“Okay, yeah sure. It seems there was this tough looking gang of bikers, out riding around when they spotted an attractive young lady about to jump off a bridge, so they stopped. Now, the gang leader, a big burly guy, gets off his bike and says, ‘Hey, baby, what’re you doing?’ ‘What’s it look like?’ she says. ‘I'm gonna commit suicide.’ Okay, so while he did not want to appear insensitive, the biker didn't want to miss out on an opportunity either, so he asked, ‘Well, before you jump, how’s about you giving me a kiss?’ So she did, and it was long and lingering and passionate, and after she finished the biker said, ‘Wow, that was the hottest kiss I have ever had. That there is a real talent you'll be wasting. Say, why you committing suicide anyway?’ ‘Because,’ she said, ‘My parents don’t like me dressing up like a girl.’”

“Ha-ha-ha-oh-oh… Oh yeah, there we go. That was all I needed.”

“Merry Christmas, Remedy.”

“Kind of looks like a beer, don’t it?”

“Just put the lid on the cup and stick it behind that sliding panel there.”

“Hey, I’m sorry about all that stuff earlier. Just a little tense, having someone in the room and all, you know?”


“I’m not really a bad guy. I just made a bad choice and now I’m paying for it. In spades.”

“You guys all say the same stuff.”

“No, I mean it, I'm—”

“Yeah right, out of here is what you are. See you next week, Remedy. Until then, keep yourself clean.”


Author's note: The joke in the story is not mine; I'm not good at creating jokes. Rather, it was something I heard and simply placed in the story, telling it in a way that fit with the character. The way I see it, if Elmore Leonard can do something like this in Up in Honey's Room, then I can do it too.


  1. And now an all-dialogue experiment! You are one of the most devoted to experimenting in new things of all the #fridayflashers. Or maybe it just looks that way and these are all secretly archives. Either way, good work, Stephen.

  2. John: Thank you. Just like I try to read a variety of material to keep myself balanced, I try to write different material for the same reason.

    One note (and I'm going to place this in the posting): The joke in the story is not mine; I'm not good at creating jokes. Rather, it was something I heard and I simply placed it in the story, telling it in a way that fit with the character. The way I see it, if Elmore Leonard can do something like this in Up in Honey's Room, then I can do it too.

  3. Oh, this is Great Stephen! You are truly talented at dialogue, wonderful job!

  4. Entertaining piece with realistic dialog, Stephen. Jokes like that one or variations are told and retold with no author's credit so I'm not sure you need the disclaimer but it's stand up to give it.

  5. Even if the joke isn't yours, it is funny! LOL Good story.

  6. As always, very good with the dialogue.

    This had me smiling mostly, but I did cringe a bit at the catheter and the straw and grape bits.

  7. Hi there Stephen --

    Lovely crisp dialogue, that set the scene really well. I liked that joke, regardless of source (you probably didn't need to attribute in this case, but good that you did), and the two characters seemed to arrive fully formed. Very enjoyable read.


  8. Sorry for the delay in responding to the comments, everyone. I've been extremely busy with the passig of a family member. I appreciate all of the kind words. Even though the catheter situation might make you flinch, I have actually seen that happen to someone. Not a pretty sight.