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.

Joanne and Fax have gone to watch – and I quote – ‘A man in a gorilla suit laughing at various fruit put in front of him’. This is somehow a thing. This means I’m on my own, relatively sober, belly full of food, rest of the night to fill. It’s only half 7, and I’m on my own with, well, oh Jesus, let’s see how much money I’ve got left.

I fight my way to a cashpoint. Why does everything this week involve fighting your way to something? Must be a Scottish thing.

Right, it’s fine, it’s not that bad. Forgot I earn a bit more now. Bills are covered. Money’s fine, as long as I don’t do anything stupid, like give a hundred quid to a busker.

I plop myself down onto some steps. They look like they’re steps to people’s houses, but I’m too tired to be polite. If they want me to move they can come and attack me with a broom, like they do in old westerns.

A knobhead on a unicycle chooses this moment to cycle up to me.

‘I’m on a unicycle!’

‘What do you want, a bastard medal?’

He looks like he’s going to cry. He stops his unicycle. ‘I’m sorry do you not like my cycling?’

I narrow my eyes. ‘You’re not getting any of my money, so you might as well fuck off. Go on, off you fuck.’

He stops his unicycle. ‘That’s a bit rude.’

I want to say ‘so is your face’, but that might lead to an actual fight with this guy, and only one of us has a unicycle that could be used as a weapon.

‘I’m just not giving you any money.’

‘I never asked you for any money.’

‘Well that’s alright then.’

Why is he still talking to me? To signal that our conversation is at an end, I get up and walk off. I can’t even sit there feeling sorry for myself in peace.

This encounter has made me angry with everyone in Scotland. For want of anything better to do I mooch over to a doorway and start rummaging through my bag. A woman comes and stands next to me. This week is not going to end with me not having killed anyone.

‘Is this the queue?’ she asks me.

‘Yes’ I reply.

I don’t know what made me say that, but now here we are, in a queue I just made up.

The woman calls over to her friend. ‘Susan, this is the queue!’

I have no idea what we’re supposed to be queueing for. I scan the doorway, it’s just a big wooden door. Oh wait, there’s a sign that says ‘Montgomery Chartered Surveyors’. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be opening any time soon. Susan joins the queue, followed shortly by a German couple. I don’t know the German for ‘this isn’t a queue’, so I can’t do anything about that.

Did you know that a surprising number of people will join a queue even if they don’t know what it’s for? I didn’t know that, but now I do. It started off being funny but now I’m panicking a bit. How do I get out of this queue? And why does the queue keep getting bigger? It was OK when it was just that woman and Susan, but now it’s like a dozen people behind me. I wish I knew what they thought they were queueing for. I try to listen in on their conversations:

‘…prefers to be called a spoken word artist’

‘…I saw those in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill’

‘Ich brauche wirklich ein bisschen…’

While I’m listening, the queue doubles in size. Right, this is getting serious. I go through my options:

A) Turn to everyone and announce ‘My bad, this is not the queue after all.’
B) Stand here until we all die of old age.
C) Run away.

I go with a slight variant on option C, which is to act like I’ve forgotten something then casually stroll away. I keep an eye on the queue while I’m getting a burger from ‘Burger City’. Some of them are starting to tap their feet and look at their watches. I feel a bit guilty, but not guilty enough to do anything about it. Let them figure out they’re in a bullshit queue, it’s the only way they’ll learn.


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