#SampleSunday – How To Succeed Without Really Trying

It’s almost time for the Quills & Quibbles writers meeting this month, and I hadn’t done my exercise yet, so I did it for today’s Sample Sunday post. A complete short story in about 250 words. See if you can guess the three words we were assigned to use.

How To Succeed Without Really Trying
by Marian Allen ©2012

I was never much of a bowler, so I usually had the low score, which means I usually paid for the team’s between-games beer. I had gotten pretty good at carrying all them them by the necks (the beer, of course, not my teammates).

This one time, though, Jimbo got up when I did, and I thought he was coming to help me. I put in the order and, when I heard a heavy step behind me, thinking it was Jimbo, I said, carrying on a running gag we’d had that night, “Do these pants make my butt look big?”

A rumbling voice that was not Jimbo’s said, “Do I look like a f’ing haberdasher to you?”

He was large, with a trim beard, aviator glasses, and the look of a casual maniac.

I looked at the name on his team shirt and said, “No, Walter, you don’t. I apologize. Not that there’s anything wrong with haberdashers. Just in case, you know, you might know any. Unless you think there is something wrong with haberdashers, in which case I totally agree. Either way.”

Walter ordered two beers and a White Russian — which sounds like a haberdasher’s drink to me — and, giving me a dirty look and a grunt, went back to his team. I was happy to see they were on the other side of the alley from mine.

When I carried the beers back to my guys, I kept the encounter to myself. Keeping things to yourself: that’s really the key to getting along in the Goodfellas League. That, and usually getting the low score in bowling.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about an encounter at a bar, concession stand, or food cart.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

You may also like...

One thought on “#SampleSunday – How To Succeed Without Really Trying

  1. Kiril Kundurazieff

    May 14, 2015 at 10:28pm


    Encounter at a bar? Hmmmm….

    2 come to mind, but the bar was across the street from where I was at.

    In Pomona Ca., back in the 70’s & 80’s I was a volunteer with a “Citizens Community Alert Patrol” that had ties with the local PD

    I was in my teens and 20’s.

    One thing we did on a weekly basis was guard the 2 parking lots for the local Moose Lodge, on one of their big event nights.

    Across the street was a popular bar, known for being a hangout for gays at a time when being open was not as accepted as today.

    One night I saw a man, the splitting image of a 20-something Uncle Fester of the Addams Family standing outside the bar…staring directly at me as I manned my post in the parking lot…He stood there for the whole evening.

    Never saw him again.

    Another time a fire started in the house next to the bar…someone called the FD, of course but before they arrived a bunch of the gay patrons of the bar took it upon themselves to break into the house…put out the fire, and drag to safety the man who had been napping when his cigarette lit up the couch.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 14, 2015 at 11:05pm

      Great stories! Thank you so much for sharing them. Wonder what was up with that Uncle Fester guy?

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

Leave a Reply, If You Ple-az

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.