“Charlie the Comedian’s Going Places’ by Barnabas Deimos

Charlie the comedian is goin’ places.

That’s the punchline..but i’ll be damned if i can figure out a proper set up. What the heck kind of set up could i bring to the table for this? I mean, it’s funny, its kind of dark if you think about it, I dunno, maybe it’s too intelligent? Do you think i should take my name out of the punchline? Make it less selfish and more general so people can empathize with it better?

The cabby simply looks at me as i gatling gunned questions at him. He had asked in his broken english what I did for a living in an effort to make small talk and I think I may have exhausted his linguistic skills already. He just stared forward and didn’t respond at all.

I was about to ask another when the cab stopped and he spouted the only other words he clearly knew which consisted of dollar values for the ride.

After plopping some crumpled bills into this hands, I grabbed my one small suitcase from the other seat and stepped out into the cold late night air and loud annoying sounds of the Los Angeles airport. it had to be almost midnight and the noise this place was making  was like three goats and a herd of elephants mid coitus with some excellent reverb.

I step through the sliding doors, ticket and ID in hand. Check in with one of those amazing little technological wonders: A Self Kiosk.

After it yelled at me in several different languages other than english and warbled for 10 minutes about I may or may not be Charlie Masterson, it finally vomited out my boarding pass.

Wonders of the modern world.

Hauling my ass to the security check like a cracked out Miley Cyrus ..wait is that redundant..and not only redundant wouldn’t it be running away from the security if it was miley..whatever…I ran my ass to the TSA check in and was greeted with a long long..long..LOOOOOONG line.  Oh the joys of Airport security. Removing our shoes in order to enjoy the stank of each other’s feet. The chucking of important electronics and private toiletries into the little plastic tubs. And as I strut my way into the giant capsule like detector and tell me to lift up my arms, I decide to make a couple of devil horns and rock my head out. Hey, its the middle of the night, I bombed in LA and I’m all but broke, you gotta find the little things to keep ya smiling.

Unfortunately, the machine and the TSA agent didn’t quite agree. It beeped, he yelled, I got dragged out into the side screen, and Voila! I’m getting the ol’ touchy touchy in the crotchy crotchy by some older fat guy. Hopefully this isnt a sign of the rest of the night.

After I will myself with all powers of self control NOT to respond when he asked if i had anything to declare that I declare he had bad dandruff and I could see his sasquatch butt crack, he let me go.

The delays had given me just enough time to run again at top speeds to the gate. You see, this where that Miley joke would have been better. I barely managed to get to the door just as they were closing it. Bustling through I try to find my aisle seat. I dont know what kind of double edged sword this was but in this full flight of jerks, there were two empty seats in a row right next to the emergency exit. Hooray i get to sit unmolested with no one next to me. Damn it that i have to have the idea that If something were to happen, I have to help out with getting these jerks to safety.  I flop into the seat and let out a massive sigh.

Red Eye flight out of this place and back home to Portland. Charlie the Comedian was goin’ places.

After stowing that little suitcase under the seat, I settle in. I wiggled around like a dog with worms trying to scratch his balloon knot. You gotta un-assgroove the last person who was sitting here.

I shut my eyes and exhale a bit and reinhale the plane’s air.

God.

I hate…airplane air.  It doesn’t smell rancid or anything, it’s actually the opposite. It smells sterile. Like I’m in the air conditioning system of a hospital. But unlike a hospital, it’s not free or roaming. Its pressurized. It’s pressed up on you like a big invisible iron lung. Filling your lungs with the breath of life but still smothering you all over. I don’t know how other people deal with. But it to me, its annoying, it’s frustrating, its fucking maddening. I hate it. I fucking hate it.

I’m vaguely aware of my cabin mates. Their rustling, Their crying. Their low murmuring. Their snoring. I hear someone come out of the lavatory. Sniffling and coughing. How can they possibly handle this irritating air?

I’m rustled out of my head space by a man’s voice. “Excuse me.” he blurts out testily.

My eyes go up and see a middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.  Oh geez. He’s sitting next to me. Great there goes my one last little bit of silver lining. Jerk.

“Am I gonna get ass or crotch?” I ask with a sarcastic smirk.

“Excuse me?” he asks gruffly.

I take a look at the guy and instantly realize, I’m not going to like him. Hawaiian shirt. Jeans. Sunglasses over his forehead sitting on a military cut. He’s not exactly ugly, but it’s clear he’s had his face beat the hell out of over his years. Its clear he’s athletic but he’s got this big girth around his shirt. Its like looking at someone’s hard ass retired dad.  I. Don’t. Like. Him.

“You know. Are you going to shove your crotch or your ass in my face. I just wanna know if I have to get magnifying glass or a gas mask.” I realize my irritation and my predisposition towards him are guiding my mouth. And he’s clearly picking up on that based on how he glares down at me without answering.

I let out an apology and retract my legs. “Sorry man. I’m just having a rough day. Guess I can’t even be a comedian in or out of a gig.”

“Your apology is accepted.” He states flatly and walks through giving me a face full of ass. At least he didn’t fart.

He plops down with a Harumph.

“Again, man I’m sorry. Let’s not have a shitty flight next to each other. Names Charlie. “ I put my hand towards him after he’s done putting on his seatbelt.

“Viktor.” He says grasping my hand and shaking it. It’s like shaking hands with a shaved bear. Good god I thought he was going to break it off just with his calluses. There’s a joke here somewhere about severe friction burn but I’m going to take the high road.

I smirk a bit as I notice the annoying sound of a cat getting strangled trying to speak vietnamese at the same time. OH wait, it’s the trashy looking stewardess telling us the safety features of this POS 74 something something..I dunno I wasn’t paying attention. HEY! Im a comedian not a…person who pays attention…? God I hate this air.

I hear her blather on about the emergency exit and if you feel you can’t perform  the function that we need to ask to be moved. Eh, this plane is full..may as well not even bother. Plus I have Viktor the jerk face sitting next to the door anyways.

“Well Viktor, looks like its up to you and me to save these people if we go down.” I remark trying to lighten my faux pas.

“Hmph. Judging by how you look and our first impression, I’m guessing I’ll be doing all the work while you mouth off. Last thing a plane in danger needs is some guy who thinks he’s a comedian.” He says

“WELL! This plane DOES have a comedian. I mean..that is what I do for a living.”

“Really? Tell me a funny joke then Chucky the Comedian.” He demands. He cuts off his response with a series of coughs.  Does he have the consumption or something?

“Umm ok, Well…how about this? If there is a bombed so badly in los angeles I’m surprised I didn’t get a full cavity search and sent to Homeland security of being a weapon of mass suckage.” I smile wryly as I do.

“Huh you’re right.” He says with only a slight wheeze.

“Told you I was a comedian.” I beam a bit

“Not about that. About the mass suckage.” He faces forward and plops his head on the window.

Dick. I think to myself as he coughs again.  As I watch him attempt to evacuate his lungs, I see a disgusting red blotch on his neck. Eww. What is that? Is that the herp? I’m going to convince myself it the herp. That way when i’m talking about this ass hat on stage, I can have even more conviction.

I shut my eyes as the plane gets ready for take off. The air is just suffocating. And sitting next to coughy herp man over here is in no way helping me out. Just a few hours and I’ll be back on terra firma sucking in Portland.

I wake to a loud sound. I realized I had dozed off. How long could I have been asleep. People are murmuring amongst themselves loudly. Jesus Christ what part of Red Eye don’t they get. The air is still as oppressive as ever. Clean but still thick and heavy. I wonder if people blathering on are chewing that air rather than breathing it. I hear the sound again and notice that the talking isn’t what woke me up. It was viktor. I look over and see he is face first in his air sick bag. Upchucking in a symphony of sloppy wet clumps and gargling noises. Loud and obnoxious as his vomit is just flying out of his mouth into the bag. He pulls away and a long food laden rope of drool just hangs from his lips. Slithering down onto his Hawaiian shirt. Perfect camouflage….

“You…you um ok there Vicktor?” I ask cautiously.

“The fuck does it look like? No I’m not ok.” He snaps back. I notice bits of snot and food also resting on his upper lip. Clearly he used every hole to get his stomach empty. “I fucking hate flying. Stupid job has me doing it though.“ His voice is wet and gurgling.

“Uhh….what do you do?” I ask.

“None of your busine..” he doesn’t even finish the retort when he’s back in the bag letting loose some serious violence. God the smell is horrendous.  Like he ate a dead squirrel. Shit it out. Then ate it again…with some Arby’s.

I shudder as the stink fills my nostrils. Mixing with the sterile smell. Mixing with that great pressure of air. Mixing with that sound of all these idiots yammering and his upheavals.

Then I see the rash on his neck. At first it was gross…now …. It was sickening…

The rash had covered just the side of his neck when I first saw it, but now I see it covered his entire neck and lower jaw. And worse it was populated with little tiny pustules. Small and white or yellow  things that undulated with each of his retchings. I swear at any moment those things could pop…

What the fuck was wrong with him? And worse…is it contagious?

“You..uh…going through puberty there buckaroo?” I ask timidly.

“FUCBLARGHHHGH” he attempts at an explicative and instead pukes.

Ok, I can’t handle this right now. Too too much. I get up and walk to the lavatory.  Somehow the lavatory of a plan always seems to be less confined than the actual cabin. Which makes no fucking sense but hey, nothing in this world does. Like Viktor’s stomach pyrotechnics and his …what is that shit on his neck?!

I relieve myself and wash up. Toss some water on my face and wipe up.

I look into the mirror at myself and try to smile. Its hard. Its hard to smile. But hey, I’m a  comedian. I gotta smile. How can I make someone else smile if I can’t? I force myself to. There we go. Charlie the Comedian…the sucky comedian who screwed up his chance in LA…

I wipe the moisture from the rest of my face and straighten up.

Then…my suspicions about Viktor get a hard kick in the balls.

There on my neck…red.  Bright red. A rash right on my neck…that was there before right? RIGHT? Razor burn…yeah..razor burn…no…No its too late for that at this time of night…I would’ve noticed it by now…No…

Viktor gave me something. Whatever is fucking him up is now getting ready to pummel me…

God no.

Ok…ok…let’s get some control Charlie the Comedian. You’re going home. You’re gonna get home, Get this thing checked out at the free clinic, and then go bomb somewhere else but at least be home…GOD DAMN IT THIS AIR! That insufferable sterile chunky air of the airplane is in the lavatory now too?!

I walk out of the lavatory. I want to sigh and take a deep breath but no…Not going to let that air back into me more than I have to.

I make my way back to my seat…my seat right next to Victor. Victor the vomit machine. Victor the man whose neck is covered in pustule rashes. Victor the dick head who probably gave me something!

I sit down and he’s no longer puking. Thank god.

He’s asleep just laying his head against the emergency exit door’s window. Just awkwardly stretched since the window is a good foot away from the seat. Awkwardly stretched out, giving a full view of his nasty looking neck. Just giving me every raised red bit of skin. Every glob of yellowish pus. Every bit of whatever infection he’s given to me….no I’m not this bad …am I gonna get this bad…? Do…Do I even have it? God I don’t know. I want to shake him awake and ask what he has. God…this air sucks.

I reach out and grab his arm and give it a shake. “Hey man, I need to know, what the fuck is on your neck?” just as I finish the last word, he snaps his face towards me.

I think he says, “Dude, fuck off.” Sleepily. But i’m not listening. No.

All I’m focused on is that one of the pustules bursts open like a water balloon on his neck. Squirting a stream of clear fluid mixed with swirls of cadaverous white pus right onto the hand I shook him with. Like some sort of defense system.

I feel the warm stream slide slowly down my hand leaving a wet trail on my skin as it aims to fall on the floor. I lose it. My hands fly to the sick back as I feel my throat engorge with the contents of my stomach. I feel bile and stomach acid mixed with food fill my mouth and nose as it hurls out of my face into the bag. Heaving repeatedly in sloppy wet clumps just like Victor….just like victor.

I pull away when I’m devoid of anything. God…I can still smell the air through my own vomit!

HOW CAN I SMELL THE AIR THROUGH MY OWN VOMIT!

I look to Victor. He’s back to sleep already… he didn’t even clean that pus wound on his neck…the hole breaths when he breaths. Opening and closing as his neck rises and falls with his breaths.

Breathing in this god damn air…HOW CAN HE BE SO CALM AND SLEEPING WHEN HE’S CLEARLY DISEASED!?

God fucking damn it…I don’t know what he’s given me…

I don’t know if I can take another second in this air…this sterile air…

What’s he given me? What’s he infecting me with just be sitting next to me…God…how much worse is it now that it’s touched me?!

We’re going to end up infecting this entire plane!

THIS STERILE AIR RIDDLED PLANE!!

I gotta get away …no place to sit…no place to go…The lavatory is filled with the air too…Cockpit filled with the air…the below decks filled with the air…its pressurized air…it’s everywhere…

Its circulating and circulating this disease of victors..it’s giving it to everyone…

I’m marinating…i’m incubating in it….Only safe place is outside..outside the plane…

OUTSIDE!

SILVERLINING!

HAH! We’re sitting right next to the damn emergency exit!

Mother fucking silverlining!

I fling my hands to the door’s emergency handle.. And yank up as hard as I can….

“SEE YOU IN THE FUNNY PAGES JERK ASSES! ENJOY YOUR DISEASE! IM GETTING THE FUCK OUT! CAUSE CHARLIE THE COMEDIAN IS GOING PLACES!!!”

I hear screams.

I hear Victor yell something that a sounds like Air Arsehole…

I hear a loud thunk  come from the door.

I feel weight on me.

I hear a gunshot.

I feel a sudden excruciating pain…

I breathe in…expecting a gasp of.. clear…air….

But I get nothing but the sterile air

Victor is looming over me…

“God damn it Chucky…not only did you have to make fun of my severe acne and my Food poisoning…but you had to try and kill us all?”

Oh ..Air Marshall…hehe .. he said Air Marshall….

I cough up blood…my nostrils fill with blood…and finally the sterile air is gone…And then…so … am I.

If anyone asks…Charlie the comedian…went some place….

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