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 call in at work on my way back to the flat. This is a sign of how desperate I am not to go home.

Abu Dhabi. Why Abu fucking Dhabi? I don’t even know where that is but it sounds like there’s probably a war there. And I don’t even know eight people, let alone eight people I’d want to be stuck on a boat with. I know I should go home and face whatever music is waiting for me, but I can’t. This wouldn’t have been a problem had I just started living at Knutsford services, foraging out of bins like I wanted to.

All the way to the Co-op I try to rationalise it in my head. I should go straight home, but my legs and brain have other ideas.

Things waiting for me at home:

  • Sofa
  • Hot bath
  • Food (if I buy some food, otherwise no food)
  • TV
  • Not being in Scotland
  • Possibly Andi Peters and his henchmen
  • If not, probably a letter demanding money, signed by Andi Peters, maybe in blood

Things waiting for me at the Co-op:

  • Saif

While annoying, Saif isn’t as bad as a letter written in the blood of QVC.

I find myself hauling my exhausted carcass through the automatic doors. I resist the urge to immediately tell Saif to turn the fucking lights off because my eyeballs are falling out, since that’s probably just the miniatures I drank on the train.
When he sees me, he bounds over and insists on giving me a handshake. Why he does this is never explained, unless it’s part of his mental ‘business strategy’ stuff.

‘Welcome back! How was your holiday?’

Which part do I tell him about first? Spending 80 quid on gin? Nearly getting arrested at Knutsford services? Accidentally starting a queue? Probably not the bit about waking up next to a balding stranger.

‘It was… fine.’

Lame, but I don’t have the mental energy necessary to go beyond that. I am, however, pleasantly surprised that Saif hasn’t burned the Co-op down, or sold it to the Japanese.

‘Where’s Kay?’

‘At the dentist! Can you believe it?’

For some reason, Saif finds it hilarious that Kay’s at the dentist. Maybe she punched her own teeth out to get away from him, who knows. Only wish I’d thought of that first.

I might as well do a cup of tea while I’m here. As I mooch to the back room, I start to notice that something’s off about the shelves.

‘Saif, have you been moving stuff around?’

Terrifyingly, Saif’s response is to do jazz hands at me. I try to cling on to the hope that maybe jazz hands means “No, everything’s just as you left it, and I definitely haven’t been fucking around with the Co-op”.

‘Well you see, I’ve been reading a book about Feng Shui and the productive business environment…’

Oh fuck, Saif has become Fax. I don’t want this to be happening.

‘Now, I don’t normally get into all that religious stuff, but I’ve been seeing some real growth since I implemented these changes.’

I’ve been away for… 5 days? And in that time he’s decided the most important thing is what the Co-op has in its fucking relationship corner.

I inspect the shelves. The magazines are where the beans used to be, except they don’t fit properly so Saif’s folded them up and they look like shit. The magazine rack, meanwhile, has been the victim of an interesting attempt to fill it with toilet rolls, only some of which are still in the packet.

Further inspection reveals that my employee has made some space in the freezers for all the Toilet Duck we have. This is apparently to ‘make it last longer’. I’m still not sure what Saif think Toilet Duck actually is, since he once said he couldn’t believe he used to think it was for cleaning toilets.

The headline act appears to be that he’s rearranged the tins by colour rather than contents, meaning no fucker can find the soup they want.

I don’t want to deal with this. I back away from the tins.

‘… Did Kay agree to this?’

Again, jazz hands. ‘I did it this afternoon while she’s been at the dentist! I thought I’d cement my value to the team by showing initiative!’

I’m all out of coping strategies now. Kay must be coming back soon, so I’m going to leave and she can deal with this. That’s by far the best plan. I have no knowledge of this ever happening.

I take a bottle of Smirnoff with me. Partly to help with the Feng Shui (that’s what I tell Saif), and partly to help me deal with whatever Andi Peters-related debt is waiting for me at home (that’s what I don’t tell Saif).

Well?

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