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.

My bastard head. Please kill me now. Please God, stop hitting my skull with a pan and just put me out of my misery.

God/my brain tells me ‘you need water’. I do. I also really need a piss. I roll over and collide with…

Oh my fucking Christ no. Please let it be a dead rat instead.

I collide with the body of Andrew Scunthorpe, who I apparently spent the night with. He looks a lot less like Andrew Lincoln this morning. A quick check confirms that at least I’m wearing some sort of t-shirt. The pillow smells of cough medicine.

I roll back over and close my eyes. My phone buzzes. After what feels like a month, I look at it. Even if my phone is filled with Joanne and Fax’s bullshit, at least they can come and get me in the meat van.

Three missed calls. One text from Joanne, two texts from Saif.

For fuck’s sake. Right, I need a big piss before I can deal with any of this stuff.

I crawl to the bathroom. After I’m done being sick, I fill my body with water from the tap then sit on the loo.

‘Oh God, what do?’

I put my head between my knees, which calms me down. My eyeballs are spinning. My phone goes again. I kick it.

There’s a knock on the door. ‘Melissa?’

No, I’m a fucking burglar that’s decided to burgle your toilet.

‘Yeah?’

‘Can I get you anything?’

I’m sick again before I reply. ‘Can you get me a taxi?’

‘Open the door.’

‘No.’

‘Please?’

I open the door. Lee comes in, and tries to give me a hug, completely ignoring the fact that I am currently dry heaving, and that we both smell of old toast. I wriggle away.

‘Can I make you some breakfast?’

No, that’s the last thing I want. I-

My phone rings. It’s Joanne. For once, I’m glad she’s ringing me.

‘Sorry it’s my friend Joanne.’ I stab at the screen. ‘Hi Jo.’

‘Oh we thought you were dead! Fax did a ceremony and everything!’

Luckily for them, I’m far too hungover to process the fact that they held a funeral for me because I was out for an evening.

‘No, I’m… at a friend’s.’

‘Oh. Shall we leave you, or-’

‘No come and get me.’ I try to keep the urgency out of my voice.

‘Where are you?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘God not this again! Are you still in Edinburgh?’

‘What? Yes of course I fucking am. (I have no idea if this is true or not.) ‘Look, hang on a minute…’

I hand the phone to Lee Scunthorpe.

‘Hiya, Joanne is it? I’m Lee, Melissa’s boyfriend. If you’d like to swing by, come to 18 Victoria Court. What? No, Lee. Who’s Andrew? Oh anyway yeah, we were just going to have some breakfast…’

He laughs at something she says. I do not laugh. Did he just tell them he was my boyfriend? This is really bad.

He hands the phone back to me. Joanne’s still finishing the previous sentence, something about ‘vegan eggs’.

‘Jo will you pick me up please?’

‘Since when do you have a boyfriend? Why didn’t you say?’

‘I don’t.’

I’m trying desperately to convey to Joanne that I need her to rescue me from this man who’s decided he’s my boyfriend, even though he might not be able to supply her with vegan eggs for breakfast. I’m trying to let her know this without offending Lee, who is still standing right fucking next to me.

‘Tell you what Jo, shall I meet you somewhere that’s easier to get to?’ Like any fucking where that isn’t in this flat?

‘Hang on, let me look up where that street is.’ I hear her shuffling the pages of what I assume is an A-Z. ‘You’re only round the corner Mel, why do you need us to pick you up?’

‘Oh am I?’ Thank you fucking baby Jesus and all the cows on Noah’s boat. ‘I’ll just make my own way then.’

‘You’ll be back to set off for Fax’s show won’t you?’

Oh fucking hell I’d forgotten all about that. I look at my screen. Somehow it’s still only 8am. ‘Yeah, I won’t be long.’

I hang up and sit back down on the toilet. I’d hoped Lee would take the hint on account of how I’m ON THE FUCKING TOILET, but no. Maybe if I try and do a poo that’ll put him off.

‘Can I get you a cup of tea Melissa?’

I swallow the urge to reply ‘I don’t know, can you?’. It’s not Lee’s fault I regret meeting him. Oh Christ, for all I know we could have declared our undying love for each other last night. We could have got married in one of those weird drive-thru wedding places, although I’m not sure if they have those in Edinburgh or not. They probably do hipster weddings, where you both have to do your vows via the medium of interpretive dance.

None of this is helping. Then I have a great idea. If I say yes to a cup of tea, he’ll have to leave the bathroom to make it.
‘Yes please, one sugar.’

I notice he leaves the door ajar as he goes, the weirdo. I shut it with my foot and sit there trying to piece together last night. I know there was an Irish bar and a lot of gin. There was a balancing man, did that come before or after the Irish bar? Or was that Lee? I doubt that was Lee.

So, there was an Irish bar and a lot of gin. Then there was something about a goat, but I’m not sure if my brain’s just making that up or not. We must have had some food because I can taste it whenever I burp.

Then nothing, however hard I try to remember. I give up on that and check the texts from Saif.

‘SHOP’S BURNED DOWN’

‘NEVER MIND IGNORE THAT MSG’

Well, he did say to ignore it, so I do. I’m not sure what he thinks I could have done to help.

Downstairs, Lee puts on Radio 1. I didn’t know anyone listened to Radio 1 in real life. The thudding is making me want to be sick again. Right, what is the best way to make this situation end? After a bit of a think, I go for ‘getting dressed and leaving’.

As I stagger back into the bedroom, I notice it’s a bit too well furnished for a holiday rental, so maybe this is actually where he lives? There’s a guitar in the corner, and a laundry basket full of pants. On the windowsill there’s a trophy that looks like a man playing darts. There’s a lot of crap around – tissues, DVD boxes, and wires, for some reason. I don’t know why men always own wires. I hope they’re not for killing people with. I don’t poke about too much anyway. I pull on my clothes, which are mercifully not covered in sick, and arrange my rotting corpse the best I can, then plop downstairs like a prisoner being led to the gallows.

The first thing I see when I poke my read round the kitchen door is a Soda Stream. Ooh, that’s interesting, I haven’t had a go on one of those since I was little. I wonder what the correct Soda Stream-using etiquette is after a one night stand? Would it be rude to have a go on it then leave and change my phone number?

The next thing I see is Lee poncing about with a Nespresso. I still can’t figure out if he lives here or not. I don’t care anyway, I’ll just be relieved to get back to the flat so I can have a shower and some breakfast. I never thought I’d be looking forward to being in the same building as Joanne, Fax, and a naked Polish man, but there you go.

‘Ah, there you are!’

There I am.

‘Would you like some bacon and eggs?’

Oh fuck that’s tempting, but I don’t want to give him the impression that we’re even more married than we already are. ‘No thanks, I’ll just… I’ll head off in a bit.’

He looks disappointed as he hands me my tea. ‘Oh, I thought maybe we could do something today? You know, like I could show you around?’

To be honest, I’ve already seen some shit poets, and a Polish man’s knob, and I’ve started a queue. Not sure how much more there is to see.

‘I can’t, I’ve got a thing on. My friend’s doing his stand up today.’

‘Oh marvellous, is that the guy you were telling me about last night? I think I might have to see that! Where’s that going down?’

For fuck’s sake brain, couldn’t you have at least come up with a lie? Any fucking thing would have done. Consider the following – there are fucking billions of things you could have been pretending to do, including, but not limited to, the following:

Smear test
BNP rally
Charity bath of beans
Shooting pheasants

All these options, and the best you could come up with was the fucking truth? Fuck you, brain.

‘Fine,’ replies my brain. ‘Deal with him yourself, see if I care.’

Given this, I have no option but to tell him where Fax is performing.

‘Sounds cool, I’ll text you later then!’ Clearly I gave him my phone number last night. Wonderful.

I gulp my tea down while making vague, non-committal noises. Then I get the fuck out of there. I notice a pair of cement-caked boots in the hall. Guess he lives here then. That’s good; at least he won’t be able to track me down when I go home.

On the way back I realise I forgot to ask him about Steve Bruce and Brian Clough.

Well?

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