On the run from Andi Peters following a misunderstanding about cruises, Melissa begrudgingly agrees to follow her friend Joanne (and Joanne’s 17th century throwback ‘life partner’ Fax) to the Edinburgh Fringe. While leafleting for Fax’s dreadful stand up show about faith healing and vegans, Melissa endures the highs and lows of pretentious student plays, ‘street typing’, and the knowledge that her shop has been left in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand tills…

Crap Comedy is the follow up to the 2018 novel Crap Holiday. Read it here.

3: Frigg

Somehow I’ve managed to get to Friday without cancelling Joanne’s dinner or killing myself. As I approach my old house, I’m surprised to see they haven’t painted runes all over it or some other nonsense. The numbers are still missing off the front door. I never did figure out why someone would steal the numbers off our house.

Fax answers the door. To my horror he’s wearing one of those aprons designed to look like he’s a naked woman. All this does is remind me that I once saw his knob when he was having a nudist phase, and now I don’t know how I’m going to manage to eat anything, even if they’ve made anything edible.

“Namaste!”

“Yes hello.”

“I’ve made whores de vurs!”

Jesus, I’m not even through the door and already I’m having to stop myself laughing. I clutch the YoNanas in front of my face (I didn’t want to turn up empty handed) and follow Fax into the living room.

The living room is still painted in Dulux ‘Highlighter Pen Holocaust’. In fact, it looks much the same as I remember it, except…

“Fax, where’s the settee gone? Did you move it?”

Joanne comes prancing out of the kitchen. “We got rid of the settee because it was giving Fax spiritual migraines. Don’t worry, we’ve replaced it – look!”

Bean bags. They’ve replaced the entire settee with bean bags.

“Don’t worry, they’re vegan beans.”

“Oh good, I was worried.”

I try to remember last time I attempted to sit on a bean bag. I think I was about 10. It belonged to my friend and it was a giant cheeseburger. Didn’t end well.

Joanne comes over and hugs me, oblivious to the fact that I am clutching a YoNanas.

For once Joanne smells nice instead of like weed and patchouli.

“I like your perfume.”

“Oh thanks, my dealer does Avon as well, and he got me this. It’s called ‘Rowan Musk’.”

Of course it fucking is. I’m still holding the YoNanas.

“This is for you.”

She takes the box. “Oh mega! I’ve always wanted one of these!”

I’m trying to decide if she actually knows what it is.

“Fax! It’s the banana ice cream thing!”

Oh right. Well… good?

“But I thought you couldn’t get these in real life! I thought they were just on TV! How did you manage to get one?”

In lieu of telling her about the QVC/Andi Peters saga, and subsequently having to explain the existence of shopping channels to her, I just say “I know a man.” It’s technically not a lie – Andi Peters is a man, and I’ve seen him on TV so I sort of know him. Although I’m not sure he has much to do with YoNanas.

I’m ordered to sit/squat on a bean bag of my choice, while Joanne fucks around with the YoNanas. Fax hands me a glass of… something. I sniff it.

“You must give your honest opinion of the beverage Melissa, it’s infused with my own energy. And plums.”

Joanne looks up from the YoNanas. “Isn’t he clever? He’s been making his own wine!”

Fax beams. “I squashed the plums with my own two hands, while singing ‘Sumer is icumen in’, which is a traditional song from Wessex. Then I meditated on it for three days. And then I added some gin to it so it would be alcoholic.”

That’s not wine, that’s plums and gin. Could be worse. I take a sip – it tastes of plums and gin.

“Mmmm, it’s lovely, thank you.”

Joanne disappears into the kitchen; Fax picks up his acoustic guitar and sits on a bean bag opposite me. This is a bad sign. I think it means he’s going to sing ‘Sumer is icumen in’ at me. I steel myself.

“Ooohhhhhhhh… the bullock is prancing, the billy-goat farting…”

What.

“Loudly sing, cuckoo! The seed is growing…”

I down my gin, which doesn’t seem to have been enhanced by Fax singing about farting goats.

When I first met Fax, I realised I’d need a foolproof method of stopping myself laughing in his face until I died. Thinking about my life generally does the trick. I employ this tactic now, to great effect.

Fax finishes his performance just as I’m getting to ‘I wonder if I’ll ever have sex again’. I applaud enthusiastically, as this is the best way to make him pour me another ‘plum wine’. Suddenly I’m aware of a familiar smell that I can’t quite place. It smells kind of… burnt, like burnt grass. I’ve definitely smelled it before. What is it?

Right on cue, Joanne comes back into the living room. She is now wearing the naked man equivalent of Fax’s apron. I don’t know where to put my eyes.

“Dinner won’t be long!”

The penny drops. I know what that smell is. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

“… What are we having?”

“I’ve made my speciality,” says Fax. “Hand rolled kale and facon savoury orbs!”

“With chicken super noodles” adds Joanne.

If there’s such a thing as a ‘disappointment hernia’, I’ve just got one.

Hang on, chicken super noodles? Aren’t these two super vegans? I decide not to question it, because I do quite like super noodles.

Joanne sits on the bean bag next to Fax, and they begin a mysterious game of I Spy. I can’t see anything in the room that begins with ‘Q’, so I assume it’s one of their bits of made up hippy crap. I try desperately to think of a way to get rid of my dinner without putting it anywhere near my mouth. I wonder if they’d believe me if I claimed it clashed with my food chakra.

I don’t mind super noodles, but I don’t trust Joanne. I’ve seen her attempting to make food. She once tried to cook spaghetti in the toaster.

“Ha ha OK I give up, what is it?”

“It was Qadshu, the Syrian goddess of fertility!”

Of course it fucking was. Where is she, behind the TV?

I hope Fax has made a lot of his rubbish plum gin wine.

Well?

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