A Joke by JK Rowling (abbreviated)

A horse walked into a bar. It was eerily familiar. Ancient metal tankards hung from the wall alongside flower-patterned plates which the horse thought would have been better placed in his grandmother’s living room than in a place like this. Old bearded men sat around the knock-kneed tables heartily spluttering recently heard bar-based anecdotes to each other. The barkeeper – who was polishing an old, superficially cracked tumbler glass – looked up to see the horse. A sly look of mischief flashed over his eyes. The horse had heard about this man before. The horse’s former master had often told him about the barkeeper’s unsympathetic remarks about some of the unfortunate events that had happened here. “Just keep your mouth closed and don’t give him any reason to wind you up!”, he thought to himself.

As the horse approached the bar, which was only five short steps away from the entrance doorway, he thought about what drink he was going to order. There were so many choices. There was ‘Old Logdon’s Pale Bilge Ale’, ‘Uncle Cronkador Half-Baked Brew’, ‘Clergyman’s Wizened Thumb’ as well as the usual popular beverages produced by larger nationwide/international brewers. But then his eye was caught by an unusual vivid purple-blue colour. It was a bottle of Hooch. The horse had heard about Hooch. Not a single person had ordered that beverage in over 12 years. There was something magical about it. Yes, he’d have that!

Before he could open his mouth, the barkeeper butted in. “Why the long face?”, he said feigning a worried tone so convincing that the horse almost believed that the bar keeper was genuinely concerned. However, the horse knew that the barkeeper was only making fun of his appearance as it wasn’t long before the barkeeper’s face turned into a mean grin. The horse glared at the barkeeper but couldn’t bring himself to show how angry he was. A silence came down on the tavern as the two stared at each other. The barkeeper’s grin fell as he noticed tears were starting to well up in the horse’s eyes. He had only meant the comment as a joke, but the horse had reacted in a way that suggested something much more serious had happened previously. May be it would be unveiled later leading to varying consequences and increased emotional empathy with the horse’s character.

Before they could break the silence an Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman came bursting into the bar with Seamus O’Flaherty jibbering something incomprehensible about death by Mau Mau and The League of Gentleman.