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.

After all that fannying about, we end up back at the flat with a load of wine and crisps. We could have just done that anyway. I know it was me who wanted to go out, but I’m still annoyed at those two for existing, and smelling of vegetables.

Fax has produced a pack of cards from… somewhere. If he tries to do card tricks at me I am not going to be responsible for laughing in his face until one or both of us die.

Still, I’d rather be sat on a settee with a load of booze and food than out in the cold night, being forced to listen to a load of students being shit at Welsh accents.

Joanne arranges the bags of crisps in a circle on the kitchen table. She never explains the purpose of this. When I go to grab a bag of Skips from the circle, she slaps my hand away. I’m too tired and too pissed to argue, so I go for the Monster Munch. She slaps my hand away.

‘What? Why can’t I have any crisps?’

‘…Because they’re in a circle, and now it’s bad luck if you break the circle.’

I take the Skips, while ignoring her.

‘Put those back!’

I’m sick of this. ‘Joanne, I will punch you in the face if you don’t let me have Monster Munch.’

Joanne gives in, powerless against my intellectual prowess.

Fax pipes up. ‘Do you want to play Strip Snap?’

I’m assuming he’s directing this question at Joanne, but to my horror he’s looking at both of us. There is no outcome of “Strip Snap” where I don’t lose. However, thanks to all the “Assblaster” I can’t think of a suitable argument. I seem to have used up all my intellect threatening Joanne over Monster Munch.

I pour a gin. ‘You two can do what you want but I’m not joining in. I’ll be the umpire.’ I meant to say “referee”, but actually umpires do spend their time watching balls fly in front of their face, so…

They seem OK with this compromise. I take advantage of them being OK by taking the bag of Quavers from the circle, risking even more bad luck and certain death.

Fax starts shuffling his cards. Joanne starts taking her top off. I feel it is my duty as the umpire to stop her.

‘You haven’t even snapped anything yet, what are you doing?’

She starts giggling. ‘Oh, Fax is really good at Snap.’

Fax blushes. ‘I do possess a knowledge of the cards. I always manage to find a match for the 10 of cups reversed.’

‘What.’

They look at me like I’m simple. ‘The 10 of cups reversed. It’s a staple of the Gardnerian Lightworker deck.’

I swallow my Quaver. ‘Are you guys playing Snap with Tarot cards?’

‘Of course.’

Despite my misgivings, I do want to see how they manage to play Snap with fucking Tarot cards. Actually, do I? Are they going to turn Snap into something involving incantations? Is that why Joanne made a circle with the crisps? I’m so confused.

I listen to them crap on about the rules for a few minutes, and then I’m even more confused. I’ve never known a game of Snap where there’s a possibility of invoking Tyr, the Norse god of war.

It is time for another gin.

Half an hour later, both of them are still clothed. This is because I’m taking my job as umpire seriously, and because I don’t have a whistle, I’m banging two pans together every time I suspect them of breaking the rules. I bang my pans together a lot.

To be fair, neither of them are playing by the normal rules of Snap, which is “get a card that matches the other card”. This is because they are using fucking Tarot cards, and are trying to make out that “these cards match because they both represent increased career prospects”. When they do this I repeat the rules to them, which mainly consist of “fuck off that’s wrong”.

As a result, the atmosphere in the room is somewhat tense and clothed.

‘2 of Wands!’ Fax yells, slamming his card on the table too close to my hand. I spill the gin in my glass.

‘Fax that is not the pile! Watch where you’re snapping!’

Joanne stands up. ‘This is bollocks, you’re not even letting us do any snaps or any stripping! You’re a shit umpire!’

I stand up too, knocking over the remains of my drink. No, you’re a shit umpire!’

‘You’re not letting us do any snaps!’

‘You don’t deserve to do any snaps, that’s why!’

‘Why are you being horrible?’

‘Because you put the crisps in a circle you big mental, who does that?’

I may have unconsciously lifted one of my pans in preparation to twat Joanne round the head, because Fax stands up. ‘Ladies, please. Shall I get us another round of beverages?’

Well?

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