The story of a man held hostage in a small town by the worst possible mistake a comedian could ever make..
Benny woke up that morning with the smell of the one last cigarette on his breath. He’d vowed to stop on numerous occasions but this time he was sure this was it, not only because of his heart palpitations but because he was in a non-smoking room and was too lazy to take the extra 2 minute walk past the lobby in order to give in to the urge. As he lay still he recounted the night before.
He regretted the money he spent on booze and not having seen the cripple lady on the 4th row before he launched into his bit about fucking a handicapped chick. The joke murdered on stage at Laughers but he remembered the nasty look from the man who casually wheeled her out of the door and the cripple who shot him the finger.
He pulled himself out of bed to try and get downstairs before 10am as not to miss the continental breakfast. He was low on cash and the free oatmeal, toast and a decaf would tide him over until he could eat at the club later that evening – the nachos were his favorite.
He slipped on the pants from the night before, brushed his teeth and smelled a few t-shirts before deciding on the one that smelled the least like smoke. With it half way slipped over his head he took the long stroll down the hallway to the hotel lobby. As he sifted the oatmeal from the watered down trough of water and grain he saw the comedian from the night before with his wife. Benny had been married a few times with no kids and he was silently envious of comics who could make a marriage work. “Sup Benny”, “Yo Carl” was the extent of their conversation. At least Carl knew that wasting time on pleasantries was just that – a waste of time.
They didn’t really like each other – and for no apparent reason, but that’s just the way it is with traveling comics. Benny liked guys who were like him. He hung with older smokers who drank and were still original and funny but not quite good enough to be famous. Carl was young and hacky, but Benny the more attractive hipster. He worked out a few times a week and hid his receding hair well with his graying curly hair. The cigarettes kept his weight down and he normally wore everyone’s favorite cologne – Too Much.
Benny is a sarcastic genius on stage but because of bad personal decisions and his poor work ethic his talent has gone unnoticed by the industry. At the table as Benny reached for his phone his cigarette box accidentally falls to the floor. The lone cigarette that remained ignited a mixture of conflicting emotions. He knew that if he smoked the one he would want another but had promised himself that last night’s pack would be his final one; however, this cig was technically still in play because it was part of that last pack.
He sat contemplating. As he stared at the small buffet full of fruit and cereal he overheard a young woman’s voice at the front desk. “I’m here for the interview”. Benny briefly scanned her from head to toe and remembered when he would pull such quality ass on a nightly basis, but now he was regulated to the occasional fat chick, a downtrodden comedy club waitress or internet porn – the squirters were his favorite.
Billy D. Washington is a former Harris County Deputy Constable in Harris County, Texas (Houston) turned international touring headliner. He’s been seen on “Last Comic Standing” and “The Late Show With Craig Ferguson” and the movie “Arlington Road”. He is also an accomplished musician and playwright.