FEATURE CREATURES

Clevereaux Dent, email

A MAN walks into a bar and he is completely parched. He sits at the bar, pats his pockets and realises he’s left his wallet at home. So he calls to the bartender: “Hey pal, I’ve left my wallet at home, but hey, if I can show you something incredible, will you give me a free beer in return?” The bartender replies: “Listen mate, look around at the stuff on the walls, I’ve seen all kinds of things, been all kinds of places. I mean, you can give it a shot but I honestly doubt you can show me something that impressive.” So the man reaches into his left jacket pocket and pulls out a small hamster. He places the hamster on the bar. The bartender looks bemused. Then the man reaches into his other jacket pocket and pulls out a tiny piano, followed by a tiny stool, just the right size for the hamster, who sits down, cracks his knuckles and starts playing a famous piece of music by Rachmaninoff. The bartender is amazed. “Tell you what mate, I’ve seen some things in my time but that is absolutely incredible!” the bartender exclaims. “Here’s your free beer.” The man gulps down his drink until the last drop is gone. But he can’t help but feel another drink would really hit the spot. He motions to the bartender again. “Look, I could really use another drink – how about I show you something even more incredible?” he asks. The bartender stares in disbelief. “After that performance, I think you’ll struggle to beat it! But go on, try your luck then.”

So the man reaches into his left jacket pocket again and retrieves a small frog, who is wearing a waistcoat. He places the frog on the stool beside the hamster. The hamster counts to four, the frog clears his throat, and over the hamster’s piano accompaniment the frog sings a classic opera, bringing several people in the bar to tears.

“Oh my word,” the bartender says, wiping a tear from his eye. “That is absolutely unbelievable.

Here’s your pint, mate. You’ve earned it.”

In the corner of the room, a shady-looking individual has been watching the scene with interest. He approaches the owner of the performing animals and gets straight to the point: “I’ll give you $50,000 right now, in cash, if you’ll let me take that frog off your hands.”

“Well, sure, why not?” the man replies. He hands the frog over to the shady character, who promptly slides back a silver briefcase filled with banknotes before making his exit with the frog.

“Are you mad?” the bartender asks the man. “You could have made millions with that frog!”

“You don’t understand,” the man replies. “I just conned that guy out of 50 grand – the hamster’s a ventriloquist.”