It’s All Part of the Show

Here’s a very short story that I wrote a very long time ago.

It’s All Part of the Show

Rick, the MC, stepped up onto the stage and took the mike from Sharon. “Keep it going for Sharon Bentley…very funny lady,” he said, and the audience obediently kept their applause going as Sharon stepped down off the stage.

By now, most of the audience members were either half-drunk, or totally drunk. They were tired, too; it was past two a.m., and the late-night show at The Comedy Corner was nearly over.

“All right everyone,” Rick said. “We’re going to keep this show moving right along. We’ve only got one more act left, and I see that the checks have come around, so everyone, please remember to tip your waitresses. One of them is going to have a baby; I just haven’t decided which one.”

The audience tittered, and Rick secretly resented them for it. It was a stupid joke and he told it every night. “I’m going to bring up our last comic now…please welcome Brandon Zipes to the stage!”

Brandon came up on stage and took the mike from Rick, who stepped down and navigated through the aisle that formed between the tables. Rick made his way to the back and found a place to stand against the wall, next to Michael, the club’s owner. Tonight Michael was wearing a lime green suit that made him look rather like a pimp. Rick had wanted to do a joke about it on stage, but finally he had thought better of it. Michael could be awfully touchy sometimes.

“So, uh…” Brandon began. That was as far as he got, because at that moment, the floor opened up just beneath his feet, and he fell through the stage and into another dimension. He didn’t even have time to scream.

There was a deafening electronic thud when the microphone hit the floor. Then for about ten seconds, the crowd was completely silent. You could hear the ice cracking and melting in people’s glasses.

Then someone giggled.

Someone else chuckled.

Someone else cackled hysterically.

Then the entire room burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. They rolled around in their chairs and shrieked with glee, until their faces turned red and they gasped for breath. Over the din, Rick said to Michael, “You know, you’ve really got to do something about that. That’s the second one this week.”

“I know, I know,” Michael said. “Just my luck. Building the stage right over a portal to another dimension.”

“Well, could you please fix it?”

“How am I supposed to fix it?”

“I don’t know! But I’m really getting scared here. I mean, it could be me next.”

“No, no, don’t worry,” Michael said. “It likes you.”

“Yeah, well…maybe it’s just saving me for later,” Rick said. “Anyway, I guess I’d better get back up there.”

Rick made his way back to the stage. He stepped up under the bright lights, and, carefully avoiding the spot where Brandon had fallen, he picked the microphone off the floor. He looked out at the audience and smiled weakly. “Heh…that’s right folks…it’s all part of the show.”

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