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 know I sort of agreed to do ‘leafleting’ for Fax last night, but I was a bit pissed when they asked me. Also, I didn’t have all the facts at my disposal, namely:
· I would regret agreeing to do leafleting in the morning
· There would be people milling around so close to me they were actually trying to wear my clothes
· It would be fucking raining again
. I don’t fucking want to
‘Free five-star comedy’ I mumble half-heartedly to no one in particular. I am ignored. Good. Hopefully they just think I’m a crackhead talking to myself.
I’m so hungover even my eyeballs are dehydrated, which is a shame because I could really do with crying right now. My right knee really fucking hurts because I’ve been stood on a slope for three bastard hours. Occasionally a passing tourist will try to murder me by stabbing me with an umbrella spoke. I’m not doing anything to stop this happening. I would have escaped hours ago, but I’m surrounded by wet tourists. Every time I breathe in it smells of soggy wax jacket. If I get past those, I’m met with a battalion of screeching drama students peddling their own shit.
To count my one blessing, at least I’m not next to Joanne and Fax. Thank fuck, those two are 20 feet away, but I know they’re trying to keep an eye on me, otherwise I’d have just chucked the leaflets at a passing drama student. Occasionally I hear snatches of Fax’s terrible acoustic guitar:
‘Meat is defeat, the goddess says…’
‘Come to my awakening, you liver clad folk…’
Joanne bangs a tambourine out of sync with Fax, and spends the rest of the time yelling at people who ignore Fax’s genius. Her and Yul Brinner would get on like a house on fire.
Just as I’m weighing up the pros and cons of attempting to hold my breath until I die, the rain stops, and the sun makes an effort to come out. That’s something at least. I might stick to death by umbrella spoke, it’s easier.
The man next to me gives up and leaves. Clearly no one’s interested in A History of Scandanavia on the Flute. He is immediately replaced by two of the screeching drama students, who set up camp in his spot.
Why? Why does the universe hate me and want me to be unhappy? First I can’t marry Andrew Lincoln, then I have to get away from the QVC mob who will break my legs, and now this? And that’s not even counting the time I gave Callum Ross a valentine’s card at school, and he ripped it up in front of me.
The students are leaning on me to put on their tights. They don’t think to ask me; no doubt they think I’m a postbox. The universe really does hate me. It’s because I prayed to God to make Fax and Joanne get eaten by sharks isn’t it?
I accidentally-on-purpose lean into the girl one so she falls over. Then I pretend to be engrossed in Fax’s shit leaflet. That’ll learn her to be eight stone.
‘Oh my god! Are you OK?’ says a posh male voice.
Just when I think he’s talking to me about being used as a fucking wall, he pipes up again:
‘Oh my god! I’m so sorry! I should have caught you! Do you need to sit down?’
‘Oh, yah I’m fine,’ replies a voice that’s half girl, half horse.
‘Did you hurt your leg? Do you want me to have a look at it?’
‘Oh no, I’m fine.’
There’s an edge to her voice when she says this that makes me pay more attention. I manage to drag my gaze away from Fax’s shit leaflet.
‘You’re so brave. I could massage it?’
‘No! No, really.’
I sneak a look. He’s trying to put his arm around her, and she’s trying to wriggle away like he’s a creepy uncle. This might end up being more fun than last night’s EastEnders, which was just about Ian getting a new set of pans.
They go back to fannying about with their costumes.
‘I liked your photos on Instagram, did you see?’ he asks.
‘What? Oh, I haven’t really been on it today.’
‘They’re really beautiful photos. Your hair catches the light in them…’
‘Are you sure you don’t mind doing this?’ she asks him, clearly desperate to change the subject. ‘I know it’s last minute, it’s just that Emily keeps being sick, so…’
‘No no, of course not, you know I’ll always help you out.’ When she doesn’t respond he adds ‘I’ll always be there for you!’ She makes a non-committal noise and starts talking about ‘Emily’ again.
‘She was so wasted. I told her a pre-lash was a bad idea, but of course then she started having Jägerbombs… I’m so annoyed with her. Like, she knew we were doing this today.’
‘Not everyone is as professional as you…’ he simpers.
‘OK, shall I help with your wig?’
Wig? I look over again. Oh my fucking god. The pair of them are wearing dresses and powdered wigs. He must really want to get off with her. I’m no dating expert, but I’m not sure ‘wearing a powdered wig and being creepy’ is the way to someone’s heart.
Nothing much happens for ten minutes. At least the rain’s keeping off. I start mumbling ‘free five-star comedy’ at people again; the students hand out their leaflets with more enthusiasm. Occasionally horse-girl will break into snippets of a ‘ye olde song’. She’s not got a bad voice. Better than Fax anyway.
They take a break and check their phones.
‘I was thinking,’ says the friend. ‘Shall we go grab some dinner after this? I know a great place, it’s really cozy.’
‘Oh, no thanks, I’ve got stuff to do after this, so…’
‘What? I thought you’d at least let me buy you dinner. What’s wrong with that? Just friends going out for dinner!’
She hesitates. ‘Sorry, I really am busy.’
‘Well, what about this evening? It would be a nice thank you for helping you out…’
His name’s Julian. Of course it fucking is.
‘I’m sorry, I don’t really want to.’
‘Why? How do you know you don’t want to if you’ve never let me buy you dinner?’
She sighs. ‘We’ve been through this Jules. I only want to be friends.’
‘What, and friends can’t go out for dinner together?’
She doesn’t reply to that. ‘Look, I really am busy anyway.’
‘Oh I get it. You mean you’re just using me.’
‘Jesus that’s not fair! You said you were happy to help!’
‘I am, but not if you’re just going to use me like this!’
Oh for fuck’s sake, she’s leaning on me again to dick about with her shoe. This time I don’t mean to push her over, I really don’t, but I sneeze and she goes over anyway.
Having been rejected by his one true love, ‘Julian’ clocks me and decides he need an outlet for his rage.
‘You pushed Amelia over!’
I hide my smirk behind my pile of leaflets. Don’t forget he’s yelling at me while wearing a dress and a powdered wig.
‘She was kind of leaning on me, to be fair.’
‘Oh was I? I’m sorry.’
At least horse-girl has some manners.
‘No that’s not good enough, you could have seriously injured her!’
‘Julian, please leave it.’
‘I’m just trying to stick up for you and protect you!’
‘I DON’T NEED YOU TO PROTECT ME! AND I’M NOT GOING TO GO OUT WITH YOU!’
You can see him flushing under his face powder. ‘Fine. But don’t come running to me when you’re sick of bastards and want a genuinely nice guy!’
He yanks his wig off, throws it on the floor and storms off. Still wearing the dress. She just tuts and gets her phone out.
‘Yah, it’s me. Yah, you were right, he did. Well, I didn’t have a choice did I? I told you not to start on the Jägers… No, I’m getting out of here, we can try again this evening. Revolution? Yeah, about half an hour. K bye.’
She packs up her stuff and fucks off. I decide to do the same. Joanne shouts after me but I ignore her. I’ll deal with her mighty wrath later.