Laughter of an Audience: A Guide to Stand-up Comedy

You put in on the stove –
some water in a cup.
With some wit or a joke,
you light the fire up.

It’s never a burst of vapour
escaping all at once.
The first few moments is
just the water heating up.

And then slowly you see
the water is moving.
The bubbles come up
to the fire that’s grooving.

You can see the bubbles.
They have already risen up
and are bursting on the surface
of your now boiling cup.

The steam rises up
with a sound of cackle.
The problem never was
that tough to tackle.

Up.
The time is over.
Do not overheat.
Or the contents of the cup
will quickly deplete.

Arguments

Before we get to the post, let me just tell you how I got here.
About a fortnight ago, at the end of my post – Let Me Be – I gave you, the readers, a poll to choose what I should write. And majority of you said that I should do a sarcastic take on life.

What? You think sarcasm is easy? – Well, it probably is. I wouldn’t know. Not like I have ever been sarcastic.

And the worst part is, nobody voted for poetry! Art is dying! People are choosing sarcasm over poetry! It’s dying!
(And you don’t think I can write good poetry? You should read about my visit to a strange Ice Cream Shop, then)

And no. Don’t even think about going back and putting your vote in now. The votes are closed. Well, technically, it’s still open since I don’t know how to close it, but I won’t be looking at it again – so yeah, closed.
I mean going and voting now would be like skipping elections and then saying, ‘I didn’t want Donald Trump to win. It just happened.’
(Don’t let it happen people!)

That’s why I don’t let people have the power. Monarchy for the win! Well, in this context, at least.

Ahem!

Coming to the post. As you can guess from the title, it’s about arguments. *dramatic music*


Arguments –
A state in which all people involved want to be heard but nobody wants to listen. Basically, it is the thing people resort to, since saying, ‘I am not listening, la la la la…‘ is not an acceptable, adult way to deal with things.

Not Listening
Not Listening

Whenever you see an argument happening, there are a few types of people you might find around.

  • The people involved in the argument – These are the people who are in the heat of the action. They have blood shot eyes and will rip out the others’ organs if it becomes acceptable to do so. The true characteristic trait of this being, though, is that they ALWAYS believe that they are right.
    Examples include – People in TV debates and Parents deciding whose turn it is to go change the baby’s diaper.
A Normal Argument
  • People who look like they are involved in the argument – There will be a person who will be going head to head with people in the heat. It may LOOK like the matter also concerns them, but more often than not, it doesn’t.
    Examples include –  People during a public protest and Your best friend when you get in an argument

    The Middle Man
  • People having the time of their life – These people look like they are concerned about the well being of the people involved in the argument but they are actually enjoying the whole thing. They might SEEM to care about the subject but they just want to watch the world burn, starting from the people that are arguing in front of them (not literally, of course).
    Examples include – Your boyfriend when you are fighting with your male best friend and Marriage counsellors.
giphy
Oh! The joy!
  • People actually trying to stop the whole thing – These are the people who actually, genuinely want to stop the whole thing from taking place. They might be concerned about the well being of the people involved in the argument. But, most of the times, they are just tired of their shit.
    Examples include – Your mother when she was trying to separate you and your sibling from killing each other and Judges in court

    Care Bears
  • People who don’t care – For all they care, you can go die in a ditch. They don’t care and they don’t give a fuck as long as you don’t involve them. And even then, they would just get up and walk away.
    Examples include – Well, me.

    Burn away – I don’t care

That’s about all there is you need to know about arguments.

I hope you are better equipped to handle life now. Or not, I don’t care.

You made me do this. You better think it’s good!

You can tell me which group you belong to in the comments below and I will try my best to reply with a sarcastic comment. There is a large possibility that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a witty comment, so I will just leave a like or the general boring comment which you read day in and day out.

Until next time, from one writer to another, WRITE ON!

Subway

Jack really didn’t need to lean forward and look into the tunnel to see the train crawl in. The lights on its head had lit up the tunnel long time ago.

The subway was a funny place to be in especially during the rush hour. Jack could see so many different types of people commute.
Some were the regulars who looked like they always took the same coach to work or school.
Most looked like they had been on the tube before but were very conscious of their surrounding, making it obvious that they didn’t use the public transport regularly.
He could even spot a few people who were probably using the station or the whole system of subway for the first time. They kept double checking everything, or asked people around to make sure they were on the right track.

It was people like these that Jack really found interesting.

Sure enough, as soon as he entered the train, he could see one guy standing in the middle of the aisle looking around, constantly staring at the destination map above the gate to check where the train had reached. Jack slowly approached him.

The trick was not jump right in but to play it safe and cool. Understand the flow of the whole system. Be a part of the environment so that you are not treated as a predator. And then when people least expect anything to happen, you jump right into it.

He silently went up to his prey and grabbed the free handle bar hanging overhead. He looked around to see if he could see any seat empty, but it was a false pretense. Jack did not want sit down; he wanted to be as close to the unsuspecting passenger as he could.

As the train moved in a constant speed, Jack slowly switched hands to grab the handle bar with the other hand; bringing his, now, free hand next to the back of pocket of his victim. He measured his speed. It had to be sudden and not be felt. He waited for the train to reach the next station and as soon he felt the train come to a halt, he braced himself to time everything perfectly. When the train decelerated the most, Jack put his hand inside the man’s pocket and removed the wallet and, as casually as one would, slipped it into his own taking out his handkerchief instead.

Jack proceed to get off the station and wait again for another unsuspecting passenger.

Late Night Journal

12.30 am

It is very late and in most cases a person should be asleep at this time, unless their work involves them to stay awake at these ungodly hours or if they believe they are energetic enough to party this late. Either way, my reason is neither.

I am awake because it seems like some weird sort of insomnia has held my body as a paralytic host. It’s not like I don’t feel sleepy but every time I lay down on my bed and try to go to sleep I cannot manage the simple enough task.

At those moments, I do what most people in that situation do; twist and turn on the little piece of cotton filled fluff I call a mattress and make myself believe that probably changing the angle of curvature of my legs or arms would make my body comfortable enough to enter into a voluntarily induced, vulnerable state of temporary coma which we so casually call sleep.

I believe writing about it might make me tired enough to fall in that deep slumber. Who knows maybe it works; maybe it doesn’t.


1.25 am

I twisted and turned a little more and then decided to watch an episode of Two and Half Men. Maybe the boring jokes that the show has resorted to after kicking out Charlie Sheen would lull me to sleep.

No progress. Oh! The jokes were boring, don’t get me wrong; but I still cannot fall asleep.

Maybe if I listen to some soothing music. That could help.


1.58 am

Bad move listening to soothing music.

Why does soothing music always have water flowing through it? Now I have to get out of the comfort of my bed and go to the toilet across the hall. This sucks! No more soothing music when I come back.

On second though, maybe I don’t need to go.

Okay, I do. It’s just that I am so comfortably tucked in my bed that it all seems like a huge task. My body really wants to torment me today.


2.22 am

So, I was at the washroom when I realized that I can try out that Bloody Mary thing people keep talking about.

Apparently, if you say “Bloody Mary” in your bathroom mirror five times between midnight and 4 am, some demon is supposed to attack you or something.

Well, I am still writing this, so you can be sure that nothing like that has happened. Bunch of fools who in believe in that, I swear.

This gives me a great idea. Maybe I can read some stories in Creepy Pasta. That would probably scare me to sleep.


3.05 am

Alright, it was a bad move to read Creepypasta.

There is some utterly crazy stuff out there. Don’t look at it.

Although, there was this one piece which warned me not to read if it was night time. Who cares? I survived Bloody Mary, I could survive that.

It was a long post but here is what it said in the beggining

If you are reading this, please make sure it is day time. I am warning you. This is not one of those internet stories you read and forget. I am very serious.

If you read this at night, things of inexplicable nature will happen to you. Especially the incantation at the end of the story.

Yes, I am talking to you. The stranger reading this at 3.00 am in the night.

I will agree the 3 am thing really got to me, but they could easily have tracked the time in my region from my IP address. A clever move nonetheless. (I have left the incantation out for the weak-hearted people out there)


3.15 am

Still no sign of sleep but things are getting a little weird. My room suddenly became cold. It’s very weird. The thermostat still shows ambient temperature. Maybe the whole sleep deprived state is making me ill. I have to check it out.


3.18 am

I am fine. No need to worry but I still feel cold.

And I really feel like slitting my wrist open right now.

Whoa! Where did that come from? I guess, it must be the late night, sleep deprived state of mine. I will let it be. Would be humorous when I read it later.


3.23 am

I just noticed that cold breeze seems to be coming from behind me.

Like someone is breathing down my neck. It is making goosebumps rise. It’s not funny anymore. I look at myself in the mirror right beside my work table. I can see that I am really tired. Probably if I just go—

I BLINKED! I mean, my reflection. I just saw it blink. This is not a joke. I just saw my reflection blink at me! I don’t know what is wrong. I have to check it out.


3.26 am

Alright. I am not sure what is happening anymore.

I am not dreaming this shit up! As I kept looking at my reflection, it started to move towards me. I swear it was moving when I was standing still. I thought it would—I would—step out of the mirror any moment.

I punched the mirror and it has shattered into pieces. There is blood flowing down my hand but I am compelled to write this.

Now, all I have to do is pick up a piece of glass and slit my wrist.

No! No! I didn’t mean to write that. I can’t even remove it now. I tried but I keep writing it again.

I am forcing myself to stop now and bandage my hand.


3.51 am

This is probably the last update before I go to sleep.

I have patched up my hand and am writing this on my phone since I dare not go to my work desk anymore. My keyboard is all bloody. Will have to clean it up in the morning

Before that I am going to make him take that glass and cut himself just like I did 30 years ago. This man is going to suffer and if you are reading this, you are going to suffer as well!!

I don’t know what is happening. I can feel a strange force driving me to do stuff.

Carcera Kocutt Dusphile

I hope you didn’t read that!

That was the incantation from the story.

Please, if you have read it. Hide Now! I am serious. Whatever it is, is already going to make me kill myself. Please save yourself.

I don’t want to die. Please, send help at this address as quickly as you can. This is my address.

171 North Qdfvc cbvbn mvb


4.00 am

He is dead. And you are next!

No Write, No Wrong

“It was the end of only the first day of a three day weekend and I had already binge watched the first season of BBC’s Sherlock.

A three day weekend? Yeah, well… You see a senior professor from our college had passed away. He had a stroke in the middle of the night. Given that he had served most of his life teaching students in the same college, the management decided that it would only be fair to declare the next day as a holiday to pay homage. The ‘next day’ happened to be a Friday.

Needless to say, a lot of my friends decided to make an impromptu trip to the beach. I decided to stay back. Not because I thought it was wrong to go on a celebration on the day that had been declared off for a person who had died. No, that wasn’t the reason AT ALL. The thing is, I was saving up for a bigger trip during the holidays and I knew that with my appetite, I would need a bigger budget.
Don’t judge us. You would have done the same. It’s not like we were not sad that the professor had died. We were; but he died of natural causes and he was quite old – it had to happen some day. Everyone accepted it and went on to the beach. (You’re still judging us, but it’s okay. I don’t care anymore)

Anyway, so it was the end of Friday and I was tired from the constant staring at my laptop screen. I did what any college student would do when he is tired and ready to sleep. I decided to knock on a few doors along the corridor to ask for food. Once my insatiable hunger was partially curbed, I decided to hit the sack.

I had probably only slept for a few hours, when I woke up. It was the middle of the night and for some reason I could not go back to sleep. And you know what happens when you lie on the bed trying to go to sleep and, for some reason, you can’t. That’s right – My brain entered ‘philosopher mode‘. I started to think about life and things that happen in life. Well, mostly my life, but you get the picture.

It was then that I realized that how meagre life really is but yet, there exists an enormous amount of things that we can learn. How did I reach there? I have no clue. It could have been the thought of being alone while all my friends were out to party; it could have been the death of a professor who we saw day in and day and only the other day had seemed like he would go on for ten more years; or it could have been the fact that my phone was blinking with low battery and I was too lazy to get up and plug it on the other side of the room. (With night thoughts, you never really know what leads where).

Whatever reason it might have been, it led me to an epiphany – learning is infinite in this finite life of ours.”


Why did I narrate this story?
If you answered for dark humor – you are right! But not quite there…

The thing is, when I realised that there are so many things to learn, I decided to actively learn more each day. Learn as much as I can before I die. It’s not that I did not do things before. I always tried my hand at everything.
I had always been the person who would tag along with people to play water polo when I could barely keep myself afloat (No, I was not suicidal). But after that night, I decided to actively learn more things. Even if I don’t like them.

So what do I do when I don’t write? I travel. I explore. I observe. I listen. And through all that I learn.
I still binge watch shows. I still travel with friends. I still eat food (I do this a lot, actually). But now, all of that, along with enjoyment, is a learning process as well.

By no means is this a way to inspire anyone to do better. I could care less about that (Grammar tip: This means I do care a little and am trying actively to care less. When you don’t care at all, you say – I couldn’t care less).

I mean, if I had to give a TED talk seminar, even that crowd of sophisticated adults would boo me off stage since instead of inspiring people, I would narcissistically keep talking about myself.

I am just responding to a prompt from Blogging University’s Writing 101, which asked what I do when I don’t write, and I think I have gone on too long with that as well. So, I will stop.

Normally, I end my non fiction posts by my catchphrase asking you to WRITE ON.
But, for today, from one writer to another, take a step back and RELAX.

A Date with a Tasseographer

Have a great time,’ Danny said as he dropped me
on a blind date he set me up on, even after my plea
that I want to remain lonely and single all my life.
What harm would it do, if I died without a wife?

But he wanted to prove that he was a real friend
and did want to see me walk to a bitter end
of having experienced my whole life without love.
So he set me on the date I just mentioned above.

I walked into the coffee house where I was to wait
for a girl who Danny thought could be my soul mate.
I ordered some coffee, so that it wouldn’t be weird
if it was actually a practical joke by my friend, like I feared.

But it wasn’t a prank, and now I wish it was.
Just keep reading, you will know the cause.
With a hat made of feathers from some bird, possibly crow,
my date looked like a psychic from some old-school folk lore.

Black were her nails and black was her dress.
Black was her hair that was in a complete mess.
She walked straight to me without having to wait.
How did she know who I was? – It was a blind date.

She looked at me and smiled, but didn’t say a word.
For quite a while, only my coffee sips were heard.
I soon finished my coffee and slowly put the cup down.
She quickly took the utensil and looked inside with a frown.

You don’t have to worry,’ I said. ‘I can order some more,’
But it wasn’t the lack of coffee that was making her sore.
She tilted the cup a little, then twirled it around.
And then all of sudden made an exasperated sound.

It won’t work between us,’ she said. ‘I can already see.
It’s written all clear, in your now finished coffee.
And just as suddenly, she got up and left.
Leaving me in a shock and awkwardly bereft.

Red faced and embarrassed, I left as people stared
with looks of pity, for which I was completely unprepared.
It is safe to assume, that I drink coffee no more,
and Danny that night, was black-eyed and sore.

Break-Up Letter (To Writer’s Block)

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me. The thing is, we cannot be together any longer. I mean, I just don’t think we can continue to see each other anymore. Your presence is making me feel restricted; like something is holding me back from doing something I really like.

Again, I would like to stress on the fact that you are not at fault here. You from your side have just been doing exactly what you are supposed to do; but the thing is, with you around I feel miserable. Sure, I enjoy the extra rest that I get with your presence and the fact that when you are here I don’t have to strain my mind thinking up of fantasies and fiction in bed; or on the table; or in the canteen;  in fact, every possible place that I can think of.
But is that what life is all about? Isn’t being together meant to be more than these things?

You tried really hard by making me see the small things in life, like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but the truth is, as addicting as they are, I never really enjoyed them. I did it because of your presence, and I would like to come out clean and say that if it weren’t for you, I probably would not have been doing those things, EVER. I know this might have shocked you but this is what the truth is. The things I enjoyed due to your presence are not the things I really like.

There are times when people look back at something that went wrong and tell themselves that they are ready to move on, to let go; but then they are somehow afraid to actually do so. Maybe because they are unsure of what the future holds for them. But by being scared of the future, they are holding on to the past, which is not doing them any good at all. I think I have realized that with you, I am just trying to hold on to the past. I think it is about time that we both move on and look at new things life has to offer.

I am sure that there will be another who you will find – you seem to have a knack for that. Someone who is probably more suited to be with you than I am. I really think that you deserve someone better; probably someone who likes your presence and would treat you the way you are supposed to be treated.

In the end I would like to say one last thing. I know this is a small world and people do bump into each other, but with all the time I have spent with you, it would be better if we never see each other again. I say this because I do not want to recreate the feelings that I had when you were around.

I hope you understand that this is the best road for both of us to take.

Farewell.