“Have we any vegans here tonight?” I ask and hear a few vague yeses from the crowd. “Well, don’t worry,” I say, “I’m not going to make fun of you.”
“Have we any Nazis here tonight?” I roar and the room erupts with laughter. “Well, don’t worry, I’m not going to make fun of you either. I was talking to a vegan recently though, you know, one of those vegans that emphasises that he has no problem with “meat eaters” like me. Now, I think my blood sugar was a little low or somethin’ cos at the time I thought he was calling me a homosexual.”
The crowd roars with laughter and I have to pause for a second until it dies down. I hadn’t intended to say anything about homosexuals, that wasn’t even supposed to be the punch line of my joke, but I spontaneously decide to explore this avenue anyway. I’m curious where it might lead.
“A meat eater,” I say, “now if that doesn’t sound like someone who likes to eat a little dick I don’t know what does. Okay, okay, settle down now folks. Now, what I would like to know is if we have many people here tonight who like to eat the meat? You ma’am, in the front row, yes you, do you eat the meat?”
“I love the meat,” she shouts, and the audience cracks up.
“Is that….okay settle down, people. Is that your husband there beside you, he looks happy? Are you her husband, sir?”
“No, we just started dating,” he says.
“Ah, no wonder you look happy. After a few years of marriage the women don’t like to eat the meat so much, you know, a lot of them, well, I guess you could say they turn vegan. My wife, we’re married two years now and I can’t remember the last time she wanted to eat the meat.” The walls vibrate with laughter.
Tonight’s show is being recorded for a pre-Christmas DVD release, and I have a bad feeling I’m going to get in trouble with my wife for that joke, unless I can get Steve in editing to edit it out. I must remember to message him straight after the show as the DVDS are going into production tomorrow.
“Before I go any further, I’d just like to say that I, personally, have no problem with anybody who enjoys to eat the meat. Some of my best friends eat the meat. My wife gave it up right after our kid was born but these things happen when you get married.”
Amidst the laughter I have a moment to pause and realise I’m going way off script. The audiences always fill me with a sense of wickedness. I get drunk on their laughter knowing that I instigated it. A room full of people roaring laughter is a powerful thing.
“Anyway, back to the vegans. I’m sure we all know a few vegans, right? I’m sure there’s a few here tonight even. A lot of vegans I know say, ‘oh I have no problem with anybody that eats meat’, which I think is weird, you know, and I think these people lack the strength of their moral principles, kinda like, maybe, certain Nazis that worked in Auschwitz. I watched a documentary on that place recently, and man it was horrifying, and maybe I have kinda a sick mind but I imagined a Nazi working there who was averse to the whole idea of gassing Jews saying ‘Oh, I don’t mind anybody else gassing Jews, it’s just not for me’, you know, just like those vegan friends say. Well, duuuuuh! It’s not a good idea to say you don’t agree with gassing Jews when you’re surrounded by dedicated Nazis, the same way it’s not a good idea to say you have a problem with “meat eaters” when you’re surrounded by homo-sexuals.”
BOOM. Everyone has been hit with the laughter bomb. There’s not one single dry eye in the house now.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I meant to say vegans, not homo-sexuals. I tell you what wouldn’t work though, in Aushwitz, is a vegan Nazi who didn’t agree with gassing or being mean to Jews. They’d have to put that cat on hole digging duties or something. The poor sap likely wouldn’t have much strength for digging on a vegan diet though. But this is crazy, crazy. A vegan wouldn’t last five minutes in Nazi Germany. I doubt they had access to vitamin supplements and Tofu, so no, that whole idea is crazy. Sorry folks, I’m a little crazy. But you love it, riiiiiiiight?” I roar, “that’s why all you crazy fuckers are here tonight, right?”
“YYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHH, HELL YEAH,” I hear back.
The crowd is in hysterics. What a bunch of sick bastards to be laughing at this shit, I think to myself, but whatever, it pays my bills.
After a time the show is over, the house lights go down and I exit the stage. My security man, John, has a double Jack Daniels waiting for me. I never usually drink, but I need one after my shows to bring me down off of the adrenaline-fueled high I always get; it helps me sleep.
There’s only one exit out of the building and so I have to wait till the crowds disperse before I leave. About half an hour usually does it and I’m safe to depart. Without such measures I’d be hounded for selfies. It used to be people wanted autographs, but these days they want selfies. It was such a selfie-hunter that had become my wife two years previously.
I had seen her in the audience in the middle of one of my shows and when my eyes landed on her it was like everyone else in the room disappeared. In the front row, laughing herself to the point of tears was a woman whose appearance hit me like a punch in the stomach. Her hair was shoulder length, jet black, and tightly curled. Her lips were the colour of red rose petals and looked as juicy as strawberries; her skin looked like fine white silk and was matched by bright, straight, gleaming teeth, and her eyes shone with all the benevolence of an angel.
For the rest of the show that night there was no spontaneous improvisation; I stuck to the well rehearsed script and it was all I could do to deliver it well.
“Excuse me, can I get a selfie?” I heard from behind me, after the show when most of the crowds had dispersed. It was a voice so sweet that I got the feeling of being punched in the stomach again and this time I felt tingles up my back. Before I even turned around I knew it was her.
“Why of course you can, young lady,” I said, turning around, and trying to sound casual but feeling like an idiot. I thought I was immune to feeling these kinds of feelings at this stage of my life. My intuition had been right; it was her.
She nestles in front of me and I catch the scent of her hair; it smells like strawberry shampoo. We both smile and she taps her phone a couple of times and says thanks. I want to ask her for a drink but know I shouldn’t, so I don’t.
“Thanks,” she says, smiling brightly, “I’ll tag you on Instagram tomorrow.”
“I don’t manage my Instagram,” I say, “try me on Twitter.”
“Ok,” she says, and then she turns to leave, walking off slowly with a hypnotic sway of her hips which makes me weak.
I used to make it a rule to keep my distance from women who approach me after the show, but this time I broke that rule.
“Would you like to join me for a drink afterwards?” I asked her, and she blushed, and right at that moment I felt like all my dreams were coming true. Her name was Pure.
But all this was two years ago….things have changed since then. I’m just about to ring Steve to get him to edit out the part where I allude to my wife not giving me blowjobs anymore as there is a strong possibility that that will land us in the divorce courts.
“That was a great show tonight,” says John, interrupting my thoughts as I was taking my phone in my hand. “I really like the new material. The vegan mafia will be out in force with death threats though.”
“Oh ya, I’ll probably be attacked with a carrot bomb after one of my shows. Heck, the Nazis could have saved themselves the expense of gas if they bottled the flatulence of those fuckers.”
“For sure, for sure,” agrees John. “You know, I think it will take me at least two weeks of doing security at this new show before I get sick of it.”
“I appreciate that, brother,” I laugh, “I’m tired of it already. I better get this,” I excuse myself from John as Pure is calling me.
“Alright, hon?” I ask, forcing myself to sound cheerful. “How’s little Max?”
“Don’t give me that shit!” she says, “like you give a fuck.”
“Of course I do,” I say, “you and Max are what I live for.”
“Bullshit!” she roars, “I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in well over a year. I don’t go anywhere, I don’t see anyone, and I have no life.
“Ah, babycakes,” I say, “I know it’s hard, but….” she cuts me off.
“FUCK RIGHT OFF with your ‘babycakes’. I’m covered in puke because your son has just vomited all over me.”
She used to giggle so sweetly when I used to call her babycakes, but things change, things always change.
“Oh, is he still a bit off?” I say, genuinely concerned.
“He always gets sick when you go off on tour,” she says, “why can’t you take a break for a while so that we can both be here for Max and I can have some time to myself.”
“You know I can’t do that..” again I nearly say ‘babycakes’ but bite my lip… “this business is fickle and if I take any time off I might cease to be relevant. Things can change very quickly in this game and while we’re financially stable right now things can always change in a heartbeat. Remember what happened with Jack?”
“Jack was a fucking rapist!” she says.
“He wasn’t a rapist,” I protest, “I was there that night, that girl pursued him like a predatory lion pursuing an antelope.”
“HE WAS A RAPIST!” she repeats, as if by repeating herself enough times it made what she was saying truer.
“He…..” I try.
“So, you’re telling me that you’re one of those rape apologists,” she rants, “or maybe you’re worried your past raping is going to catch up with you.”
I know she’s tired. I know she’s just venting and doesn’t really mean what she’s saying, deep down I know this, but I’m tired too and at this point my face catches fire and I completely lose my composure. Just like the first time I laid eyes on her it feels like she’s the only person in the room, even though she isn’t in the room, only her bile spewing illogical voice. And her voice is like some kind of demon that needs to be silenced forcefully. Right now.
“DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS GOING OUT EVERY NIGHT TELLING THE SAME FUCKING JOKES? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA?” I roar down the phone.
A silence ensues; a silence that is louder than any words could be. She hangs up and I hear the duh-duh-duh sound that one always hears when the caller hangs up. This sound may well punctuate the end of our relationship. “Fuck her,” I think, “let her cool off, she’ll be grand in a day or two.”
A tip on the shoulder brings me back to reality. I see the awkward apologetic face of John and, in a soft tone he says, “The car is outside, are you ready to go back to the hotel now?”
“Yes,” I say quietly as if nothing had happened. “Thanks, John.”
I want another drink, need another drink. When I get back to the hotel I am going to have at least one more double whisky, but as the taxi pulls away from the concert hall I remember; remember the times when I was convinced that the answers to all life’s problems were at the bottom of a glass, times when I sank into dark depths of depravity from which I thought there was no escape. Down, down, down I had fallen; down into the depths of despair, so far down that I had ended up sleeping in shop doorways, begging for change to make a phone call even though I and everybody else knew that I had nobody to call and the town council had long since gotten rid of the phone boxes anyway.
This sharp remembrance of the past I had climbed out of on my hands and knees banished the idea of another drink from my thoughts.
At this moment my thoughts took me to wondering how, in only two years, I had gone from feeling like heaven was on earth to feeling like I lived with the devil. I think the greatest trick the devil ever performed was convincing the world that she was a man.
“One thing is for sure, love is no joke,” I think to myself. “I make my living making people laugh and all the while my own life is crumbling,” I sigh, and laugh at the irony of the thought.
Once back in my hotel room I take a cold shower, get into bed, lie flat on my back, clear my mind and focus on my breath, only on my breath. This meditation practice is something I have been doing for years. I learned it from watching a documentary about monks on Netflix. Life is always going to be stressful but the measure of a man, I believe, is how well he can maintain calm amidst that stress. If calm is not maintained then bad decisions are made and then all can be lost in a heartbeat. It was in this way that I slipped into a relaxed slumber.
More stress would arrive in the near future, and this was because I had completely forgotten to contact Steve in editing to remove the part of the show where I talk about my wife no longer “eating the meat”.
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