It was a killer performance, at least to Amal— he found himself laughing at some of the jokes he tore apart during his workshops with Henry. Henry, on occasion, joked about hiring Frederick as a professional laugh track. If he did, he needn’t had bothered. Amal set down what remained of his vodka at the bar top, and scanned the crowd. Even a good comedian would have trouble following Henry, despite his occasional missteps. Amal was on next.
Amal adjusted his one cufflink. Jude the emcee walked on stage, took the mike to thank Henry, and asked the audience to buy more drinks. While Jude talked, they lay a rubber mat down on stage
Amal ordered another purple vodka with a flick of his hand. While he waited, he checked his pockets— he had the flint and stick right where he left it. Henry didn’t take that at least. Still, the comment about friendship was sweet, and Henry did take his advice about the routine… Amal decided that he would film the prank, as long as his stand-up didn’t cause an angry Fulton to burst into flames. It was worth it, if only to thank Henry for not bringing up that Goatse meme.
The hairy bartender, finishing his talk with the manager, returned with the vodka. Amal slapped a twenty on the bar. He straightened his suit coat. He loosened and jumbled his tie. He grabbed his drink. He was ready.
“Hey! Enough about me!” said the emcee. “Let’s go on to our next act— a totally normal person with normal views who told me to call him normal, and that’s not strange at all! Let’s give our welcome to… our Amal Beck!”
The audience was loud and hospitable, throwing in a few snaps with their claps. Amal carried his drink up the stairs to the front of the curtain, avoiding the backstage entrance entirely. He walked up to the microphone, and grabbed it at an angle rather than raising it.
“Good evening,” said Amal, ending his last syllable with a sharp sound. “I did plan to give a stand-up set on this night, but the recent events on the news made me reconsider. I will use my time to talk about Puff. Anything I say that’s funny will be accidental.”
There were a few scattered cheers in the audience, from customers Amal had seen before. A good chunk of the crowd fidgeted in their seats.
“Puff is a synthetic brand of weed, a.k.a. marijuana, or pot. It combines the drug with amphetamines— means that it stimulates and depresses, all at the same time. Most guys think those two facts cancel out, i...