Morty had done private gigs before. They were easier than corporate, that was for certain. He shuddered to recall the last one of those he’d foolishly agreed to appear at. Yeah, it was big bucks but the crowd were always a drunken mob, on the lash and off the leash. They weren’t interested in listening to his humorous observations of modern life and his clever word play was invariably drowned out by their catcalls and communal singing. They were more interested in strip-off than stand-up.
But a private gig was something else. You could charge what you liked for a private gig. Most of the time, what was offered was much more than what you’d dare to ask for. At a private gig, the client really wanted you, really wanted to hear your act. A decent private gig was more than enough compensation for a few dud nights of a tour around the country’s lesser comedy venues, most of them rooms over pubs.
If I play my cards right, this might lead to other gigs… Morty’s nerves began to play up. Always the same before he went on, that feeling of putting himself out there to be judged.
Morty went through his pre-show routine. Lacing his trainers, swilling and rinsing mineral water, straightening his piano-keyboard tie. It was his trademark, that tie. It was so unfashionable it was kind of cool again. Or at least he liked to think so.
The dressing room was more opulent than he was used to. Hell, it was grander than his flat! There was a mirror surrounded by light bulbs, in that clichéd theatrical way. There was a generous basket of fruit. And a mirror, a full-length shimmer of glass that seemed to give Morty a glow. I’ve never looked so healthy, he admired his reflection. I might ask if I can take this mirror home with me.
Even my complexion, pasty and spotty from weeks on the road, looks marvellous.
What a magical mirror!
The image dissolved and a nightmarish vision appeared. Morty backed away, trying not to see but unable to avert his eyes.
Feet stamping on his face, body blows from angry fists. Someone pulled his tie, lifting Morty from the alley floor. Before he lost consciousness, Morty mused on the irony of being garrotted by his trademark piano key tie.
That last corporate gig had got out of hand. One humorous observation must have hit home.
There was a knock at the door. Morty’s butterflies did somersaults. Judgment time!
“Morty?” said the voice of Saint Peter. “Your audience is ready for you now.”