by Cat Weaver
Trish, who’d been faking an Aussie accent all night while we flirted with some guys at the bar, is now on stage with her normal flat Rochester accent. She’s only open mic’d a few times and so she doesn’t have even a solid 5. She’ll be winging a lot. I’m sure she doesn’t care. Half her schtick is waxing on about her meds.
“You know, you guys really make me sick.” [Nervous laughter]
“No. No. I- I have social anxiety Disorder and— you guys, just —” [Awkward titters]
“You know you’re just making it worse!” [Scattered chuckles]
“You know depression makes you really self-conscious, right?” [Awkward silence]
” So, I’ve got these meds that I worry about. Like, if I get too happy, will I forget what I look like?” [Laughter]
“Is that why all you normals look so…” [Laughter]
Trish has always milked the outsider act in order to get inside. My own jokes run from flat sarcasm to the scatological. There is an 11-year old in most of us just waiting on a good bum joke and I’m there for her.
The guys we were flirting with are pissed. They don’t like it that Trish had been toying with them.
“What? Does she think it’s funny?” Says the— obviously— brighter one.
“Yes,” I say, helpfully. “Trish thinks she’s a real comedian.” Motioning toward the stage.
“You think you’re funny too, don’t you?”
“You guys are not here for the open mic, I take it.”
“What. So she goes around making fun of people? Putting on a sexy accent and lying? That’s funny?”
“It’s starting to be.”
Trish is winding up. Something about being a worm inside an apple complaining that it’s rotten. It’s a new one and I find it uncharacteristically insightful. She’s one of those roommates who drags trouble around with her. Our tiny Park Slope apartment can barely contain her misadventures.
“See, Bart? I told you the place would just be full of phonies.”
Trish comes back to join us. “So, how’d you like my white trash accent?” She asks this in the faux Aussie.
“I think fuck you,” says Bart.
“See, I tell Trish: now that’s how you handle hecklers.”
They guys signal the bartender and stand in silence waiting to pay up.
“Am I getting the last word, or am I being ignored?”
The guys leave. They spend some time at the door though, gesturing toward us and I worry we could be blacklisted if it seems we’re chasing off business.
In the Uber home, Trish talks to the driver in an imitation of his southern drawl and makes up a story about her very large catholic family and a schizophrenic cat. I’m feeling really tired and her act, along with the driver’s naïve enthusiasm, is making me nervous. I feel like she’s the eye of a storm. A headache is swelling between my eyebrows.
As I lean my head against the car’s frosted window, I see two guys on motorcycles. Traffic is slow on the BQE. We move past them, then they past us, then….
I realize it’s Bart and Smartyboots. Are they really following us home?
I’d been thinking about a new joke. It’ goes like this:
I have a cat and a dog. Both named Taint. Cuz one taint a dog and the other. You guessed it — smells like scrotum.