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 make my way out with my Meal Deal, and notice a small crowd has formed near the Postman Pat ride. Then I notice why a small crowd has formed near the Postman Pat ride.

‘WH SMITH IS A BASTARD!’

‘FREE PALESTINE!’

‘SMASH THE WH SMITH PATRIARCHY!’

‘YEAH!’

Oh my Christing hell. I was hoping my biggest problem this afternoon would be that my knickers keep going up my arse. I go stand at the back of the crowd, making every effort to look live I’ve never met these two before in my life, while at the same time getting a good look.

What the fuck have they done? Oh Jesus, all this over a bag of expensive nuts.

Fax has somehow acquired what looks like a dog lead, and has tied himself to the Postman Pat ride. Joanne is standing next to him punching the air and yelling shit about Palestine. I don’t know much about world politics, but I don’t think Palestine is responsible for the price of Nobby’s Nuts.

‘PEOPLE UNITE AGAINST THE CAPITALIST WH SMITH OPPRESSORS! ALL TOGETHER NOW…’

‘THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE…!’

He waits for the crowd to chant it back at him. Unsurprisingly, they don’t.

Fax has decided they just haven’t heard him.

‘THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE…!’

Silence. If you don’t count the man shouting at him that he’s a prick.

‘Get the fuck off the ride, my son wants a go on it!’

Oh god, security is coming. I didn’t even know they had security at the services. I thought it was just agreed that we all ignore each other and get out of there as soon as possible. The security guard stands at the back for a while, assessing the situation. He’s distracted when an Alsatian runs between his legs and into WH Smith. I can’t see what it’s doing in there. But I do hear a crash and then some barking. Also, I’m no longer wondering where Fax got the dog lead from.

My instincts are screaming at me to get out of there and go wait by the van, but this is too funny. Plus, I really do need to know if they get arrested.

‘PEOPLE OF MOTO SERVICES! RISE UP AGAINST YOUR EVIL CAPITALIST OPPRESSORS, WHO ARE MAKING YOU PAY £3.50 FOR BASIC VEGAN SUSTENANCE!’

Fist in mouth time again. Only because I don’t want him to hear me and insist I join their ‘protest’.

The security guard is back. I don’t know where the dog is, I assume it’s been given some food or a Road Atlas to chew up.

This time he politely makes his way through the crowd until he reaches Joanne and Fax. ‘Excuse me… Pardon me madam… Excuse me please… Sir can I ask what you’re doing?’

Joanne, with horrible timing, yells ‘FREE PALESTINE!’

‘Sir, would you mind stepping away from the ride so we can have a chat?’ He nods at Joanne to include her in this request.

‘FASCIST!’ yells Fax at the poor security guard who looks about 95. I really should step in. I really should.

‘Oi knobhead, fuck off and have a wash!’ someone yells. The crowd laughs.

‘WHO SAID THAT!’ screeches Joanne. Her skirts are whirling in anger and she isn’t even moving. If they look in my direction I’m going to hide behind the neck pillow display.

A pissed off Phil Mitchell lookalike steps forward. ‘I did. Look love, I don’t want no bother, but my son wants to go on that ride,’ he said to both of them. ‘So get the fuck off it,’ he says just to Fax.

I’ve always wondered how Fax would react to an actual threat. This guy looks like he might actually smash Fax’s face in. Sort of with good reason. I mean, not that I’d laugh or anything, but still. I would laugh.

Credit to Joanne, she stands her ground. Fax, however, is hastily undoing his oppression lead.

‘But WH Smith is oppressing the working man!’ he wibbles.

Phil Mitchell is having none of it. ‘Working man? What, like lorry drivers?’

‘Yes, exactly!’ says Fax, his hands covering his crotch.

‘I’m a fucking lorry driver, and my fucking son wants to go on that ride. So MOVE!’ The crowd backs away a bit as one.

‘But someone has to stand up for the poor downtrodden workers!’ wails Fax.

Phil Mitchell takes a step towards Fax. Fax screams and runs, shoving past children and old ladies to get away. Joanne follows suit. Gandhi would be proud.

The crowd’s attention is momentarily taken by an old man yelling ‘BRUNO? BRUNO! WHERE ARE YOU LAD?’

The Alsatian comes slobbering out of WH Smith, a half packet of peanuts in his mouth.

‘BRUNO! I THOUGHT YOU’D RUN OFF!’ cries the old man. The crowd is so absorbed in going ‘aww’ at the one man and his dog reunion, they forget to notice Fax and Joanne have got away.

When I get back to the van, Fax is crying (of course he is) and Joanne is offering to give him a blow job, again, to ‘align his essences’. I have to repeat my earlier threat.

‘Anyway, don’t be too downhearted, because look what I liberated!’ says Joanne. Out of fuck knows where she pulls a bunch of chocolate bars. I know in advance that I will not eat one.

Well?

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