Not the Longest Joke in the World

You’ll find that elsewhere by Googling that phrase, ‘the longest joke in the world.’ That version, though an interesting story, is nearly 11,000 words long, most of it unrelated build up, not joke setup. Mine is 203 words, or about 2% of the original length. For this punchline, it’s still too long.

Coming down the dune in his SUV he sees something strange at the bottom: a huge snake coiled around a long pole.

He slides to a stop and looks through the window at the snake, which looks back, then, to his surprise, asks him to lower his window.

“I won’t bite,” it says.

Must be the heat. He puts the window down. “What’s the deal? Why are you out here?”

“My name is Nate. I’m the guardian of this switch. Move it, all mankind dies.”

“That seems dumb.”

“True. I know some not dumb things. Stick around and I’ll teach you the secrets of immortality, unending wealth, and how to put a USB stick in the right way the first time.”

Curiosity gets the better of him. But hunger gets the best of him.

“How about I run to town and get snacks first?”

“Thataway,” pointing with its tail.

He races off, gets his stuff, comes back. Barreling down the dune, his brakes fail. He’s headed for the switch of doom. As he fights the steering wheel he realizes that he can pass the switch on the left.

The snake is sunning itself right there.

He keeps going, figuring, better Nate than lever.