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.

I’m woken up by a knock at the door. I immediately panic. No one ever knocks at my door. Oh god it’s the police. Oh god oh god. They’ve come to arrest me for some fucking thing or another.

After summoning all my courage and putting a top on, I manage to look through the peephole.

It’s Tony from downstairs. Fucking hell. At least he can’t arrest me, I don’t think.

‘Oh hello, this came for you, it was too big for the letterbox so they left it on top.’

I take the envelope. ‘Ta.’ I give a half-hearted smile so he doesn’t think I’m a serial killer.

‘Anything good?’

Jesus, does he actually want to know what my mail is? Is he going to stand there and watch while I open it?

‘Probably not, bye.’

I smile as I shut the door.

Actually, I have no idea what this is. It’s big and bulky and doesn’t look like a bill. I guess it’s a catalogue of gadgets, or some other shite aimed at the ‘single middle-aged bulging woman’. I get those sometimes.

I’m about to chuck it in the bin when I notice the ‘Ideal World’ logo peeking out of the plastic window. Oh fucking no. Are they actually trying to get me to buy more stuff?

I open it in case my name and address is in there, as if anyone’s going to root through my bin. I catch a glimpse of something resembling a bill, and I stop to look at it.

Abu-Dhabi

14 nights

4 people

First Class Cabin

Immediate payment

What.

What.

Oh no.

Oh shit, oh Christ.

I jam the paper up against my eyeballs, as if this will help it to make more sense. Then I screw it up and throw it on the living room floor in a panic. It lands next to the stain. If, by some miracle, I died right now, maybe this bit of the floor would be opened up to the public as a museum exhibit: ‘Things that hate Melissa and prove she’s a twat’.

OK, calm down. You don’t have to be at work just yet, let’s just keep calm and think about this. No, that’s not being calm. Stop crying. Sit down on the settee and read the letter again.

I do. It doesn’t make me any calmer. All it does is confirm that at some point in the recent past, I have booked a luxury cruise to Abu-Dhabi, for four people. I don’t even know four people. And now they’re after payment. Oh fuck, oh Christ. I frantically scan the letter for anything resembling a price. I find the price at the bottom, which makes me start crying again.

‘Immediate payment’. It doesn’t say anything about what they’ll do if I don’t immediately pay. It could be anything from taking me to court to breaking my door down, using Andi Peters as a battering ram.

My first instinct is to jack my job in and move to Nicaragua. I decide against that as it sounds hot and I’m not really sure where it is.

That was a bad thing to think, as it just reminds me that I’m not sure where Abu Dhabi is, and that also sounds hot. And now I’ll have to go there just to stop Andi Peters and his bailiffs confiscating my stuff.

Right, my plan now is to panic, which I successfully do for 11 minutes before remembering I have a job. False alarm, I have one of my rare and endangered days off. Let’s be honest, I’m going to need to keep my job to pay for the LUXURY BASTARD CRUISE I somehow bought.
That’s it. That is it. I am never drinking again, and I am never watching Teleshopping again, ever.

Because I can’t think of anything better to do, I lie down on the floor. As soon as my head hits the carpet, I start to question why I didn’t think to lie on the settee. Oh well, too late now.

My mood at this point can best be described as ‘anxious’. And ‘terrified’. And ‘accidental fugitive’. Oh Christ, I have to get out of this somehow. Then I have a brainwave – call the people! If in doubt, call the people on the letter. I can always tell them I was on medication for… dyslexia, and the meds made me do it. Then if they say ‘no’ I can sue them for discrimination. Actually, suing someone sounds like a lot of work, so I probably won’t do that. Definitely phoning them is the way to go, though.

After trying to make the letter come towards me using only the power of my mind, I admit defeat, and go fetch it. There is no phone number. There’s just a link to the fucking cruise channel’s website, which I know for a fact only lets you buy cruises, not un-buy them.

Plan B – go buy some wine.

Well?

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