This prompt is 500 words: a stand-up comedian is having a good night save for a heckler in the back. He angrily goes to confront the heckler, only to be shocked by what he discovers.
NOTE: Some of the material in below is in the PG-13 range. It’s a stand-up comedian, and things can get very salty at times–especially when a heckler’s in the mix. If you don’t believe me, go to Youtube and type keywords “George Carlin” and “heckler” and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, I’m a Christian and while there are lines of taste that I absolutely won’t cross, I’d rather try to be realistic when the situation demands it.
Wearing my trademark gray slacks, royal blue shirt and metallic blue tie, I was finishing another night of stand-up at a comedy club on San Antonio’s riverwalk as Ricky Z. It’s just like my day job of sales: you have to be quick on your feet or you drown. Quickly.
The crowd loved my jokes, and my last one was about Charlie Gonzalez, the local U.S. representative and how a news site had published an (alleged) overdraft notice of his. “Hey, Charlie!” I said. “I hear they have the 2010 Camaro on sale for $35,000! If only your account had $35,000 in overdraft privileges.”
Even the Hispanics, who no doubt worship Gonzalez, laughed at that one.
The laughter died and then someone yelled, “You SUCK!”
“Yeah?” I said. “So do you. You probably voted for him.”
He stood up, and I saw him. He was about six feet tall, medium build with dark balding hair and glasses. “Yeah, you’re a real funny comedian, Richard Zahn,” he said, startling me with my real name. My website doesn’t list that. “Your girlfriend left you because you weren’t getting her off.”
“And if she were with you, smartass, she’d leave you because she’d get tired of needing a microscope to see your dick,” I sneered.
“Only because it’s in your mouth,” he replied. The crowd loved that one.
I didn’t think it was funny. No time to respond, since my set was up. “Well, that’s all for tonight everybody, you’ve been a great crowd, even baldy in the back,” I said, pointing to him. His hands were on his hips, defiant.
The crowd cheered as I placed the microphone back and on the stand. I stormed toward the guy. Was I looking to take a swing at him? No, because I didn’t need a lawsuit and comedians are supposed to use their brains and not their brawn.
I came up to him, still angry and was about to ask him what his problem was (and use a four-letter word I only use when I’m very angry) when he smiled and held his hand out. Instead of a clinched fist, it was open in anticipation of a handshake. The gold watch on his left wrist glittered in the bright lights and made me wonder if it cost what I pay in rent for half the year. His sneer dissolved into a smile.
“I was testing you,” he said, handing me a white business card after we shook hands. His firm grip suggested he liked me. Once I took it, he offered his hand. “I’m George Goldman, a talent scout from The Comedy Store in L.A.”
I shook his hand. “And the L.A. crowds even more brutal than they are here?”
“Very brutal. I’ve seen talented funny guys leave the stage in tears. Many times.”
I shook his hand. “What can I do for you, Mr. Goldman?”
“Call me George,” he replied. “The next Friday or Saturday night you’re off, I’d like to fly you out to L.A. to try your routine at the store. If all goes well, it could become your big break. I think you’re a very funny guy.”
Copyright © 2009 by Richard Zowie. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or republished without permission.