The crowd settled in, conversation punctuated the task of finding seats. Fans, mostly, though sprinkled with blow-ins who just wanted to see what it was all about. Dave looked from behind the curtain and turned to his co-producer, Bobby.
"Like the mix. Lotta families; they're more likely to come back that people who just come on their own or with a friend or two."
Bobby nodded, his stomach still churning the first-time blues. He'd never booked a show like this before. He waited for the first man to go out. There was a sudden blare of trumpets and a guy in combat pants and wrestling boots ran full tilt at the ring and slid under the first rope before addressing the audience.
"I have seen the future, and it is crap! The mountains shall be laid low, the seas shall boil, and your knickers will get really twisted and there will be turds in those twists because you will be really, really, scared - what the hell are you?!"
His voice boomed through the crowd.
A young girl, a waif of a kid, really, stood up on her seat, right before him, scorching red eyes boring into him. That and the flaming red of her hair made the man think twice before asking again, but he asked anyway, filled with bluster, “Like I said, little girlie, just what the hell are you?”
“I am the goddess of hellfire for bullshit-filled men, and I have come for you,” the flaming red waif said in a deep, powerful voice, pointing her finger at him. As she twisted her finger around and around, still pointing and staring, the man’s Transformers bikini undies began to burn, shooting flames through his combat pants. He screamed for water, diving for the outside of the ring, as the women in the audience howled and clapped their appreciation.
Dave turned to Bobby. “Get that kid's contact information, and get it fast.” He rubbed his hands together. “I see a packed ladies-only night in our future.”
Opening: D Jason Cooper.....Continuation: Robin S.
Bobby pulled off his headphones and turned to Dave, his mouth hanging open. "What's this?"
Dave broke into his familiar boyish grin, looking back at Bobby over the top of his wire-framed glasses. "Don't worry," he said, "this boy's one of mine. Don't worry about the bull; wait 'til you see what's he's got in his trousers..."
"Ah. for feck's sake," Bobby grumbled, his bowels tooting the Guinness reel. "Where'd you find this eejit?"
"Are you scared?" the scrawny dude in camouflage shouted, trying to bring some life into the crowd. A few babies started to cry.
A weak jingle of bells and a guy in a red cape and biretta walked with slow majesty to the ring, sliding under the rope that an altar boy held up. "I have seen the future, and it is glorious, thanks be to God," The Cardinal chanted. He waited for the response, the Amen, but only the crickets of Coalseam Holler answered.
Bobby hung his head, vowing to never again let Dave put together the card. Beelzebub vs. The Cardinal had been a top bill in Boston at the Knights of Columbus fundraisers, but that was Boston and this was rural Kentucky.
The blow-ins grumbled. The families squirmed in their seats. The trumpet blared again, and the Unrepentant Prostitute bumped and grinded her way to Beelzebub's corner. Maybe the show would bring them back for more after all.
Dave turned to Bobby and hissed, "What the fuck were you thinking?"
Bobby felt his stomach drop to somewhere around his knees. "I -it was the best I could do on such short notice! It's not my fault the dog got sick!"
For a moment, Bobby was sure Dave was going to hit him. He had to think of a save. "Listen, I'll call your mom and get her on the phone. People love her. It'll be fine."
Dave said okay and walked away. Bobby breathed a sigh of relief. He was pretty sure Dave wasn't going to fire him, and he wasn't going to give Dave another chance to do so. This would be the first and last time he would let one of the musicians - who was undoubtedly drunk - do a monologue in place of Stupid Pet Tricks.
Dave adjusted the EQ on the mixer and looked over at Bobby. "What's he talking about?"
"Jesus, Dave," Bobby said as he peered through the window. "That's the guy who sold us the hot dogs."
"So how long has this James Dobson dude been wrestling for Jesus?" Bobby asked.
"Ever since Focus on the Family realized they were losing the 12-52 male demographic." Dave peered around the curtain again.
There was another blare of trumpets and a blue-haired grandmother in a St. John suit slid between the ropes. She adjusted her little hat and sashayed primly around the ring, glaring at the man in the front row who hadn't removed his hat.
Bobby swore that he'd never book a show like this again. The guys wanted tits and ass, the ladies wanted rippling muscles, not Church Lady and The Minister. Tonight's crowd wasn't coming back for more.
Bobby didn't like the look on Dave's face.
"Are you sure that's Billy Graham?" Dave asked, letting go of the curtain.
"Of course." Bobby fished some papers out of his pocket. "Billy Bob to his friends."
Bobby frowned. This wasn't how they said he was going to open his act.
"Oh my God, guys, you don't even know." A toss of long hair over the camo jacket, and the speaker was getting worked up. "There's going to be fire, ya'll. Fire, and that shit is hot. It's so hot it's gonna make you go...you know, 'damn, that's hot.' And I've seen death. Death isn't some joke. If you die before I die, you're screwed, babies. And screwed in the bad way, not in the Mary Magdalene way."
"Damn it." Dave dropped his head and sighed, backing away from the curtain. "Jesus has been hitting the bottle again."
"READY!" screamed the cheerleaders, shaking their bouncing pompoms.
Commando twitched his muscles, making his pecs bounce in time with the girls.
"Where is that coward!" he shouted, pecs jiggling. Kids began yelling and kicking their chairs.
"I said WHERE IS HE?"
With a flourish of purple and green capes, a second man approached the ring. He was tiny, probably no more than three feet tall. Bobby felt sick.
"You ready to die, midget man?"
The little wrestler smiled. With one hand he tossed the hood of his cape back. The crowd screamed for blood. "I'm ready!" he squeaked.
"AHHHHH!!!" Roaring in fury, Commando charged towards the diminutive wrestler.
A shot echoed around the hall.
Commando dropped to the floor.
"Good shot," said Dave. "Didn't even hit a customer."
Bobby looked around, nervous. Sure, Dave had told him that this was "Waste A Wrestler", but he never expected anything so final.
Bobby's gorge rose as he witnessed the audience's sudden headlong rush to the arena's restrooms.
Dave, however, smiled smugly, gratified that his stratagem of stocking the concession stands with Fruit-of-the-Looms was paying off.
Herb shifted in his seat, trying to juggle a bucket of popcorn, a chili dog and a big gulp diet soda.
"He looks smaller than on TV," Marge said as she took the popcorn.
"Mm-huh." Herb rubbed chili sauce across his T-shirt.
"I'll tell you what you are..." Combat Guy paced around the ring, glaring at his audience. "You're weak. You're fucking weak."
"Did he just say the 'F' word? Herb! He's talking about turds and he just said the 'F' word."
"Mm-huh." Herb winced as a gulp of ice cold soda touched a tooth nerve.
Herb winced again as Marge stood up.
"Hey! G.I. Joe! Let me tell you what we are." The crowd silenced. "We're your customers. Me and Herb, we paid forty bucks a pop to get in here, and another twenty for snacks and soda so we can sit on these cold, plastic seats that are not even big enough for half a normal arse and listen to you cussing and dirty talking like we're your best buddies just done drinking Miller Light and hauling catfish out of the creek. Now, you better clean your mouth out and get telling us something nice and inspirational or I'm gonna come down their and twist your knickers so tight the turds'll come out when you sneeze. Reverend."
Herb reached for the popcorn and smiled. Billy Graham was up next.
p1: Change to "punctuating" or change comma to semicolon.
p2. "that" = "than"
p3. You might replace He waited for the first man to go out. with a line of dialogue, perhaps, "How long till we get started?" he asked Dave.
p4. Delete all the "really"s. Add "shitless" after scared. I'm not sure what "what the hell are you?" means. How would one answer that?
This reads well enough, but I think I'd have been more drawn in if I knew right off what sort of event it was. I spent my time up to "I have seen the future, and it is crap!" wondering what was going on. And, when you say "He'd never booked a show like this before," it was actually a bit irritating because I'm going So tell me already.
I'm thinking tent revival or something religious, but it's not a comfortable guess because the evidence came out of left field.
I think just changing/adding a word or two would alleviate the confusion.
That beginning might appeal to your target demographic but it pretty well repelled me, yeah. The continuation was brilliant and funny.
As to the beginning...huh? First, I thought it was some sort of theater, then I switched to wrestling match, but...I'm still not sure where this is and what exactly is going on.
I don't get the "What the hell are you?" bit at all, unless we're talking aliens or zombies or something. Is this the start to a fantasy or an SF novel?
Can you tell I found it too confusing to consider reading on? Sorry.
I'd read a bit more to see what's going on.
You might want to consider ditching the first two sentences or working them in differently. The wording in the second sentence really slowed me down.
I hope what comes right after this part gives meaning to the last line.
I couldn't really get into this but the continuations really did make me laugh. What is that? ;)
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