The Devil’s in the Details


A priest and a rabbi come out of a bar. No one saw them go in. No one saw where they sat, what they were drinking or what they said to each other. Did they say anything? Who waited on them? Did they pay for drinks that we’re not sure they ordered? Were they wearing shoes? Were they wearing robes—maybe a stiff white collar, a colorful yarmulke? Were the details of their dress a disguise?  Who rose to leave first? Two men, right? Did the rabbi precede the priest or the priest precede the rabbi? Staggering? Yes, details matter.


When the priest and the rabbi try to go into a bar, they are stopped at the door. “What’s with the outfits?” the bouncer says. “And no bare feet.” “Who owns this bar?” the rabbi asks. “Not relevant,” the bouncer says. “Wait,” the priest says, “Is this the right bar?” The rabbi says, “Are you a real priest?” “I am if you are a real rabbi,” the priest says. “There’s a sandal and costume shop across the street,” the bouncer says. It is not appealing. The priest and the rabbi buy the bar. As yet, it doesn’t have a name.


A priest and a rabbi go into a bar.” You say this in a loud voice and everyone close by at Tooki’s Tavern leans toward us, expectant. Then I say, “The priest and the rabbi go into the bar.” “The bar. Which bar,” asks a young woman from a nearby table. “Which bar? This bar?” says our server, clumping down our beers. “And why this bar,” the bartender says with a frown. Then the bloke across from me raises his glass, studies it, and intones, “A judge and a lawyer go into a bar.” It gets us back on track.


Pamela Painter’s flash collection is Wouldn’t You Like to Know. Her stories have appeared in Sudden Fiction, Flash Fiction, Microfiction, New Micro and Nothing Short of 100.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks

3 Responses to “The Devil’s in the Details”

  1. Followgram says:

    and derives from the earlier phrase, ” God is in the detail ” expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.

  2. Paul Beckman says:

    Loved this, Pamela.

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