I am happy enough with my first days nanowriming, i’ve done 1837 words so far which ahead of the 1666 per diem requirement and i didn’t even use those 160 words I had ready and waiting. Of course, at the beginning we all have a lot of things bursting to get out, it will get harder to write and worse to read. but here’s the opening
John Smith was dying, again. It happens to even the truly greatest comedians. John Smith was not great. Truly, he was not even good. He wasn’t terrible. There is something memorable and remarkable about a dreadful comedian. John Smith was forgetable, anyone who had to sit squirming through his obvious observations, over-contrived anecdotes and featherweight punchlines wanted to forget the experience. Occasionally he would get a few mercy laughs or the momentum of the previous performer would carry the audience laughing into his act. But tonight he killed them, he reduced the whole room to a deathly silence. Yet this would be the best performance of his life.
The fantastic accoustics of the Covent Garden Comedy Club only enhanced the unpleasantness. Tombstones of silence marked the death of every gasped-out joke. Everyone in the room could hear everything with crystal clarity. They clearly wished they couldn’t but no-one was intervening to put John Smith out of their collective misery. Instead one hundred and fifty people squirmed uncomfortably in their seats, checking their watches or looking longingly toward the exit. In the darkness of back rows friends exchanged pained looks while the people front rows illuminated by the footlights were finding their shoes very interesting, desperate not to make eye contact with the condemned man before them.
The compere stood sadistically impassive in the shadows, indulging his long-standing dislike of Smith; a largely irrational, highly visceral antipathy borne out of personal loathing and professional derision. Davie Wales had been on the stand-up circuit seventeen years, he had toiled through the apprenticeship and was now acknowledged by his peers as a senior member of their establishment. He was a usually generous mentor to struggling newcomers. At least at first, the thing he really hated was mediocre no-hopers who did not know when to quit. He was professional jester yet he did not suffer fools. He could not stand nor understand them. They must know that they were not funny. Being at the centre of a horrorshow like this, stared down by three hundred despising eyes ought to work its way into the mind of even the most self-obsessed egotists. After all, didn’t they claim to be good at observation? Attending your own funeral with dozens of stony faced mourners waiting while you dug your grave only so that they could piss on it might be a thrilling experience to have once but why put yourself through repeatedly and why should everyone else suffer too? Why spend ten minutes every Saturday night making strangers hate you? Normally losers like Smith were only inflicted on small groups in upstairs rooms in pubs, tonight for some inexplicable reason he was being allowed to make a hundred new enemies all at once.
Davie could step in at any point and win the crowd back at the drop of a hat. If he wanted, he could do it at the expense of Smith and having the whole room laughing with him before he had even said a word. All he would have to do would be to walk onto the stage at a dead march. The tension would be burst as everyone felt the relief of release. He had done before and it never failed. Tonight he was going to let the corpse swing a little longer before he cut it down. He was not typically malicious but something about Smith got up his nose. Nothing in particular distinguished him from any number of other unfunny wannabe comedians but had taken an instant dislike to him when they had first met a few years ago. It was probably something about the way he parted his hair. When he turned out to be crap that had only cemented the hatred. Two years later and if anything he was shitter but with a thicker skin that kept him coming back. Still this was his biggest gig and this was the biggest fuck up Davie could remember, maybe this would penetrate.
So he let Smith struggle on with some pathetic sequence of jokes about replacing the pieces in chess with different types of dinosaurs to make the game more interesting. Chess? For fuckís sake! Nobody would blame him if he went a broke a chair over the manís head. In fact, why hadnít someone in the audience not thrown anything yet? Or shouted him down? The Saturday night crowd at the Covent Garden was comedyís bearpit; multi-millionaire stars of American sitcoms had come off this stage in tears, often mercifully hidden by the beer dripping down their perfect features. Yet tonight they sat in ominous silence. He hoped that this was not the calm before the storm, because if it blew up they might lose their entertainment licence. Westminster Council would be unlikely to let them continue trading after a lynching. But if silent treatment was enough to stop Smith from ever performing again then Davie was going to let the audience suffer a little longer. The rest of humanity would thank them in the long run.
Eric Hayle was more uncomfortable than most, twenty minutes ago he had done a line of coke as long as his cock and it was starting to work its South American magic. Or it would if it wasnít for this fucker on the stage spoiling his buzz. He was tempted to leave. But gave up on the idea when he realised how much hassle it would be to try and explain to his party that they were leaving. He doubted that this Thai prostitute spoke much more than massage parlour English, and while Raoul, his favourite Brazillian rentboy, was a very talented linguist he was very petulant and would not leave without a scene. So he gave up and resigned himself to being trapped in a darkened basement, folded into a highly unergonomic chair. The Viagra he had popped was starting to make it presence felt too. He tried distracting himself by texting Hans to see if the party was still on for later. When a Berlin fetish night comes to London you can never be entirely sure what might go down. And this was tolerably interesting in its own way. He had seen and done things a lot more unpleasant in his long life. As Mih or Liu or whatever her name was would probably find out later. His night was young. He was ninety-one years old.