Some of the folks at the FB Suspense/Thriller Writers group are doing an excerpt exchange, and I was invited to participate. An excerpt from my novel, The Assassins Club (which will be released in JUST FOUR DAYS!!!) will appear in Karen Vaughan's blog. Below is about 1,100 words from Dead Comic Standing by Karen Vaughan.
An up-and-coming comic was just exiting The Laff Attak. The comedian usually left through the alley after his sets, usually two per night, 30 minutes per set. Like other wannabes, he worked two clubs per week whilst working part time at an upscale Coffee Emporium. This guy didn’t want to spend the rest of his career as a part-time Barista /Comic. Oh no, this dude had plans, he was going to be the Robin Williams for the next generation. Well, skip the 'Na-noo-Na-noo' bullshit that Robin had to tout, in his early years.
In the meantime, bills had to be paid and the comic had a wife to support as well. Debbie worked as an insurance adjuster for a huge HMO management company. She technically supported him and his “hobby”. At least it was a marginally paying hobby. The young man walked around the corner down another alley, a supposed short cut on his way home. He feared nothing, although he would never have let Deb do this, day or night. Her argument was why should he? Did he think he was “Iron man” or something? The young dude lit up another smoke, a filthy habit and Deb hated it. Another reason she thought he might die young. She just didn’t get the part about a good smoke, after coming off stage. Comics had to be the worst chronic smokers. He had to do it here because once he stepped into the house, no more ciggies. He might as well smoke now ‘cause Deb wouldn’t let him smoke after sex. Smoking brought him back from the adrenaline high of being ‘on’. No matter what shit hit you throughout your day, you hit the stage running with a smile, ready to show the crowd the time of their miserable lives. He stood in the shadows taking a few pulls on the Camel, dropped it and ground it into the asphalt with the other discarded cigarette butts. Debbie, as much as he loved her, had her phobias. She was convinced that some guy would jump out of the shadows and knife him to death, when, in reality, the worst killers came wrapped in cellophane and cardboard.
The next step he took into the alley was his last. A hand holding a butcher knife came out of nowhere. If this weren’t the end for real, he would have found a place in his act for the scenario. He felt the knife blade plunge into his stomach, and he went down on his knees, and then fell onto his back.
“Fuck man, if you want my wallet, just ask.” Dave was gasping for air.
“It’s not about the money, asshole. I just didn’t know how else to tell you……”
“What?” Dave croaked weakly.
The stranger grabbed the hilt of the knife, and yanked it out of his victims gut.
He looked straight at him and said, “YOU JUST AIN’T FUNNY!”
Then the killer slit the young man's throat.
* * *
The room was packed. People were lined up at the bar three deep, and all the tables were full. Jeffrey Beals, the owner and operator of Comic F/X was looking forward to a good night. His headliner, Phil Vetters was a real crowd pleaser for sure. He was more concerned about Shelley, the new girl starting tonight. She auditioned well, and Jeff had no doubt that she had talent. However, Shelley clearly admitted that her club experience was limited and most of her experience had been in an auditorium setting, doing comedy for educational purposes. This worried Jeff. Shelley was a small girl, and guys tended to eat people like that up, especially after a few stiff drinks. Great prey for hecklers and perverts.
Jeff tried to keep society’s baser elements out of the club. However, some just seemed to slip through the cracks. They walk in seeming quite civilized but once a female comic hit the stage, all vestiges of humanity escaped through their assholes.
Comic F/X was full of yuppies out for a few laughs. The club was a brightly lit establishment. There was no smoking allowed and there was a three drink minimum rule. The basic premise was to serve up good drinks and provide quality entertainment. Jeff wanted people to come back time after time, to see the rising stars of tomorrow. He hoped Shell was one of them. Jeff had heard she came from a tough neighbourhood, a white girl surrounded by Hispanics and African-Americans. It was everyone for themselves and one had to develop a thick skin and a strong backbone.
Shell was doing her initial sound check on stage. “Hear the one about…..”
“Never mind the jokes sweetie, just show us yer titties.”
“Hey guy what’s your name?”
“Who wants to know?” Shelley shielded her eyes from the spotlight to see the person who had addressed her and spotted a large man sitting at a center table. Oh god no, why couldn’t hecklers be gorgeous? Why were they always butt friggin’ ugly as well as obnoxious? So if she had to put up with this moron, she might as well have fun with him. Maybe the toad would get the message and back off.
“Well pal, I just don’t open my shirt for just anyone. I like to be on a first name basis with my voyeurs, if ya know what I mean?”
“If I tell ya will ya take it off?”
“I don’t know, by the looks of you, you seem to have a bigger rack than I do.”
“You Little Bitch!”
The guy was steaming as the audience watched her dismantle his ego one line at time.
“Whoa boy, you better put on your big boy pants to use language like that, you wanna take your potty mouth and go to the washroom?”
Jeff was watching the impromptu exchange, and decided that Shelley could handle herself. Gord-o was a dog, but Shelley was having an easy time having him neutered. If Gord-o had gotten out of hand, Jeff would have had him thrown out on his ass.
“Very funny girlie—God gave you a sense of humor –‘cause you just can’t please the boys. Gord-o can teach you what you need to know.”
“Well Gord-o, what you can teach me won’t take more than two minutes.”
“Au Contraire, sweetie, I could have you yelling Gord-Oh by morning.” Gord-O was giving back what she gave him.
“No doubt, loser, it would take you that long to get it up!”
The audience was enjoying the impromptu exchange between Shelley and Gord. There was a lot of laughing and clapping. Gord-o was starting to look the fool. Something he hated, especially at the hands of a chick. “You freakin’ cow! No one makes me look like an ass, and gets away with it!”
“Gordie, my dear, you don’t need my help to look like an ass. You’re doing a good enough job on your own.”
The purchase link at amazon.com for either paperback or e-book is http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Comic-Standing-ebook/dp/B005PIYMNI/ref=ntt_at_ep_edition_2_1?ie=UTF8&m=AZC9TZ4UC9CFC