The Purple Part of the Sky
You wake up.
It takes you ten seconds to realize that movement will cause you indescribable pain and suffering.
You can't sleep anymore, but you can't wake up.
You were right.
The pain hits you like a wave and you are lost in it.
Your entire body feels like burnt toast.
Your tongue feels like sandpaper.
You are in bed with your two best friends:
a bottle of whisky...
and your cat.
You can't remember how you got home.
You look at your bedroom...
You wonder why you came home.
You lift the shade on your bedroom window.
The illumination from the street light fooled you into thinking it was morning.
It's early evening.
The sun just clocked out.
The ass of the sky is still purple.
Apparently, you weren't the only one to get your butt kicked today.
You move to the bathroom.
Your clock is flashing.
You could discover the time by turning on the light,
but the flashing of the clock is all your head
You search for a bottle of aspirin in the dark.
Every time you move you imagine a soda can getting crushed.
You find the bottle and tilt it back into your mouth.
It is empty.
You should really learn to throw things away when you are done with them.
You walk into the living room and see the kitchen.
The thought of the food inside makes you run to the bathroom.
You look down at a substance that looks like tuna salad.
You flush and wonder what to do next.
You sit in the shower for what seems like forever.
You wash your body and feel like you have accomplished something.
You get dressed in the dark.
"Stand-up comics aren't supposed to look good," you say to yourself.
Your car is in the lot.
You are surprised.
Drinking and driving is one of your hobbies.
You convince yourself that you are more dangerous behind the wheel with a hangover.
You can't be late for amateur nite.
You shotgun a stale beer in your cup holder.
You begin to feel better.
At least something survived the night. You would not be surprised if you found the world devoid of alcohol after last night.
You wish you could remember it.
As you drive, everything is blurry and far away.
Every block is a journey without concentration.
You have finally arrived.
Your hands are already shaking.
You would throw up again, but that is impossible. Your tank is empty.
"Seven bucks," the bouncer says.
"I'm here to do stand-up," you say. "I talked to Jerry last Thursday."
You give him your name and he yells at someone you can't see.
"You should have shaved," the bouncer says smiling.
"So should your mother," you think but say nothing.
You are not afraid of his fists.
You are afraid of his power to keep you outside.
"I'm supposed to tell ya that drinks ain't free," the bouncer continued.
You nod and then thank him.
You go inside.
Everyone's eyes are on the stage. The first act has already started.
Your thoughts betray you. "What the fuck am I doing here?"
Your brain catalogs every time you've told a joke that no one thought was funny.
Your hands shake and your eyes water.
If you could still throw up... you would have already.
You refuse to listen to the stand-up comic on stage.
He is having a hard time.
The boos and yells do nothing to calm your nerves.
He runs backstage tears in his eyes.
Jerry suddenly appears.
"You," he points at a waitress taking her break back stage, "get this guy a drink on the house. Whatever he wants.
"You," he says pointing at the woman sitting in the chair next to you,
"You," he says looking at you, "five minutes."
Your throat is dry.
Your hands are lakes; soggy and reptilian.
All of a sudden your bladder feels like a watermelon in a kangaroo pouch.
The next five minutes pass like hours...
yet you are not ready when they are over.
You don't hear the introduction...
it doesn't matter.
You step out on to the stage.
It is the longest journey you will ever make.
You pick up the microphone.
You hear the sound that all new performers dread...
the sound of feedback.
It feels as though someone has just hit you from behind with a board.
Your statement is interrupted by more feedback.
You reach into your pocket and something amazing happens.
You get out a cigarette and light it.
"Fuck it, they can arrest me after the show."
Several in the audience applaud and follow suit.
"At least I won't be alone in jail!"
The audience laughs and applauds.
"How's everybody doin' tonight."
The audience applauds again.
"Man, I just got back from Pittsburg."
Several audience members applaud.
"No, not really, I just wanted to know you could do that."
"I don't do anything really."
"That's what stand-up comedians do...
"What really pisses me off are stand-up comics that try to teach their audiences something."
"You know, comics with a message."
"If you're interested in learning...
go to college...
if you want to listen to a lazy, stupid, sexually frustrated, ass-hat who can't get a real job...
go listen to a stand-up comedian."
"And now pull out your Physics books and turn to page who gives a shit."
"The commencement speaker for tonight will be Dr. Mencia who has subsequent degrees in racist crap and jokes that make people feel like dirt for being who they are."
"Do you think I would be here if I could do rocket science, be a doctor, or lay around all day while people take pictures of me in my underwear."
"Fuck no, I'm here because I'm stupid, unattractive, and not good at anything else."
"Nobody ever got out of bed and said, 'Why today I think I'll go and entertain a bunch of drunks who get their jollies off by throwing shit and yelling at the only person less pathetic then them.'"
You take a drag from your cigarette.
"Won't that be a lot of fuckin' fun?"
"Fuck it, if you go to a stand-up comic to learn you're probably all too familiar with the phrase 'Get 'er done."
"Say that forty times and then blow your stupid brains out."
"It will be a great look to go with your mullet."
"Every time I hear that bullshit, I want to jam a fork in my eye to kill the pain."
"Stand up comedy...
it's not just for rednecks anymore."
For the first time...
you realize that you haven't told any of your jokes.
You become aware of the audience for the first time.
It's probably not a good tactic to insult them right off the bat.
You pick a person out of the audience.
He tells you his name and profession.
You make a joke about it.
The audience laughs.
It takes you a second to realize that there is a hand on your shoulder.
It's the announcer.
"Let's give 'em a hand folks," he says.
"I guess that's my time," you say and bow.
The audience claps.
"Thank you for having low expectations," you say.
You walk off stage.
It is the second longest journey you will ever take.
You fall into the nearest chair.
Your strength is gone.
You feel like you've just had your ass kicked.
It's the greatest feeling you've ever experienced.