There was a hot booked open mic that happened once a month at a funky Uptown spot. All the new and newish comedians wanted to do it. When Lydia and Cody were scheduled to appear on its October line-up, Simon and Kizzy went with them to the show. The four grabbed a booth in the back of the room. Simon immediately ordered drinks. Lydia was number four on the line-up; Cody was number six. The comics flipped through their notebooks as Kizzy and Simon sipped martinis.
Their server was extremely good looking, queer, and young with a baby face that made him appear even more youthful. Teen-like almost. Simon kept insinuating Cody wanted to have sex with him. Cody had given no indication of finding the young server attractive, much less wanting to have sex with him. Still, Simon was having a grand time making jokes about how gay men love twinks and talking about what Cody would like to do with the young man. Cody became very uncomfortable. He was being called a creeper by his friend’s boyfriend who also owned a comedy club. Cody couldn’t say a word to defend himself. Fighting with a club owner is not a good career move.
Kizzy, always even-tempered and patient when pushed, was becoming visibly upset by Simon’s antics. While she did her best to accept Simon and his inappropriate personality traits, or “symptoms” as mental health care professionals would call them, Simon was really out of pocket tonight. He was using a falsetto voice and speaking to Cody in a “gay accent”. He was making sexually inappropriate, homoerotic jokes, and going on and on about the young gay server. It was gross.
“Okay, he just got lit. I’m on,” Lydia said as she slid out the booth and walked quickly towards the stage.
“Great. Now we have to sit through this shit,” Simon said to Cody and Kizzy.
Kizzy’s mouth dropped open. She made eye contact with Cody. This was too much.
“What did you say?” Kizzy asked Simon.
“Oh, I’ve heard her new jokes. They suck. I gave her better punchlines, but she thinks hers are funny so…yeah. This is going to suck.”
“Lydia’s a good joke writer,” Kizzy said with a forced smile.
“I like her jokes,” Cody chimed in.
Lydia was introduced. She began her set. It was going well. Then she moved into her new stuff. The audience gave up a lot of laughs. She even got a couple of applause breaks.
Kizzy looked at Simon. This time, the smile on her face was not at all forced. “The audience doesn’t think her new jokes suck.”
“Only because of the delivery, Kizzy. That’s why her new jokes worked. She sold them. They’re not good jokes.”
“I disagree, Simon. So does the audience.”
“Well, I own a club. I know good comedy. Audiences don’t. Neither do new comics,” and with that, Simon sneered at Cody, who declined to make eye contact with him.
“Guys, I’m going to look through my notes in better lighting,” Cody said as he left the booth with his papers.
“I’m getting another martini,” Simon said, waving over the pretty young server.
Kizzy sat there, trying to ignore Simon and enjoy the rest of Lydia’s set.
“Bring us another round of martini’s,” Simon barked at the server. “That’s three total, and bring a Jack and ginger, too.”
“I thought Lydia said she wasn’t drinking tonight,” said Kizzy.
“She’ll change her mind,” Simon sneered. He had one night off each week, and he liked to use it for drinking. That meant Lydia was going to drink, too. Even if getting her to drink meant he had to buy cocktails for her friends and order her booze when she was away from the table.
“She has a call-back tomorrow,” Kizzy reminded Simon.
“She’s Cajun,” Simon reminded Kizzy. “Her people make the Irish look like Mormons. She’ll be fine.”
“This guy is vile,” thought Kizzy.
When Lydia returned to the table, Simon was quick to tell her how well she did and let her know a cocktail was soon to arrive for her. They watched Cody kill his set, had a few more drinks, and enjoyed the show. Then the four of them left for a gay bar around the corner.
Simon’s inappropriate chatter became more aggressive as he drank. He approached a single dude at the bar, trying to get his number for Cody. He pranced up to another stranger and asked the random guy if he thought Cody was cute. He belligerently told Lydia her new stuff only worked because she sold it. That’s when Kizzy stepped up and told Simon that he wasn’t even invited to join them that night because of his tendency to transform from annoying to insufferably rude by the end of the evening.
Simon scoffed. “Oh, you think I’m rude, huh? Maybe you can’t handle direct communication, you stupid country rube.”
“You want some direct communication, Simon? You like when people tell it like it is? Okay, fine. You’re a bitter fucking closet queen.”
“What the fuck did you just say to me, Kizzy?”
“I said you’re a bitter fucking tired bitch and I’m sick of how nasty you’ve been all night.”
Lydia jumped in, “Hey, it’s late. We’re all a little drunk…”
“I’m not drunk, Lydia. And I’m not gay, either, Kizzy!”
“I don’t know any straight guys talking all night about twinks with a limp wrist and a lisp but by all means, if you want to be considered straight so be it, Closet Slice. Are you straight from one dick to another?”
“That’s it, you dumb bitch! Lydia, let’s go!”
“Good. Don’t use me and Cody as an excuse to hang at a gay bar. You want to be here? You don’t need us. You’re plenty gay enough to come in here on your own, Simon.”
“Kizzy!” Lydia screamed. “Stop, please!”
“Not a problem. I’m leaving,” Kizzy said as she put her drink on the bar and grabbed her things. Cody put his empty glass on the bar and picked up his jacket.
Simon pulled Lydia off her stool and grabbed their things. Throwing a couple of twenties on the bar he said, “Stay if you want, we’re leaving!”
He yanked Lydia towards the door, “Let’s go. Now!” Simon was right on top of Kizzy as the four of them exited into the night. “I can’t believe how awful you are, Kizzy!”
“I’m awful? Simon, you’re mean and nasty! You’re mean to Lydia. You’re mean to Cody. You’re condescending to pretty much everyone you meet! Maybe if you got a boyfriend, you’d actually like people ‘cuz you’d like yourself.”
“Thanks for the diagnosis, Dr. Green Acres Martini!” he screeched as he hailed a taxi.
Kizzy stood in the middle of the sidewalk, “You’re gay, Simon. G-A-Y. As in happy and GAY, Muthafucker! Figure it out!”
Simon tossed Lydia in the back of a cab. Before climbing in himself, he turned back around and shot both of his middle fingers into the air.
“Fuck you, Kizzy!”
“Fuck ya back, Bitch!”
The whole cab ride home, and for the rest of the night, Simon assured Lydia that Kizzy was wrong about him being a homosexual. He proved it by mixing a shaker of martini’s with special olives from Spain, cuddling in bed with his girlfriend and a pizza, and playing the soundtrack of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
“Men of culture are always mistaken as gay, Lydia. We are completely misunderstood. Even by drunken country queers who don’t have a clue as to what culture is. I know what I’m talking about. I interned doing marketing for Broadway musicals in college.”