Lockdown Fiction: Curtains

Written from the Clan Destine Press prompt.


Tala knows that Dev and Gaz think they’re a couple of comics. Funny enough to be YouTube famous, they think. Next stop, The Comedy Festival!

But that ship has sailed, or rather it has sunk, under the leaden weight of jokes about being drunk or high, making fun of people’s accents and ‘hey, those aliens we call women, what’s that all about, eh?’

The ‘what the hell even are women’ jokes are 60% about Tala. The obnoxious jokes about not understanding perfectly clear speaking people are 90% about her Filipino dad. The drunk and high jokes are 55% about what her two not-friends did to their friends (and behind their girlfriends’ backs) while drunk and high.

But what’s funny at a backyard barbecue with your wasted mates or at open mic night at midnight at the local pub won’t necessarily fly with a wider audience. Especially when the wider audience heard all that before, in about 1982, and react at best with ‘Oh, not again’.

Tala will let Dev and Gaz crash and burn all on their own. They’re not interested in her advice (which, you know, they asked for – she’s the only person they know involved in professional theatre; she manages a comedy venue in the city) because, they say, ‘You’re just not our audience”. They still want her to do them a favour, though. Give them their big break on the comedy stage.

Tala dated Dev in Year 11, Gaz the year after high school, and oh hell yes, she knows she’s not their audience. Those two self-obsessed, boozy pot-heads are under the impression that everyone is all good mates here, no hard feelings, she’s a sport and can take a joke, yeah?

Yeah. Nah.

Tala knows that Dev and Gaz will suffer the ignominious demise feared by all performers. They will die on stage, to the sound of metaphorical crickets, not a laugh to be had. From some quarters, the hostile glowering will make the silence furnace-hot. Dev and Gaz’s double act (misogyny-racism) will die and be buried and there won’t be enough good material in it to nourish the worms.

Tala knows this because she’s scheduled them for the 7:30 showcase slot at the High Five Bar, and loaded the room with reviewers.

She might justify it as being cruel to be kind, but she knows what it is.

It’s the last laugh.