The Heckler

You’re a stand-up comedian having a good night on stage except for one loudmouth in the back of the crowd who keeps heckling you. As your set ends, you storm off stage to confront this person, only to discover it’s (fill in the blank). Write this scene.

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  1. kathleenmagner

    Gail’s cheeks burned from the smile etched on her lips. Waving, she clomped off stage, and once obscured by the wings, dropped her hand and shoved the doused microphone at Patty. She managed to keep the growl in her voice to a whisper.

    “Where is she?”

    Serenely claiming the handheld mic, Patty waggled it at the riggers across stage. The crimson curtain began to part, revealing the pianist and his ventriloquist partner between the velvet folds. She made a note on her clipboard before looking up.

    “Who are you talking about?”

    “The woman by the bar,” said Gail.

    Frowning, Patty peered beyond the proscenium. “Which one?”

    “Didn’t you hear her? Cackling like a hyena between her personal commentary.”

    “Oh,” said Patty, “her.” She returned to her clipboard. “Get Mr. Tymes ready,” she said to Linus who stood twitching at her elbow.

    The young assistant darted off toward the greenroom, dodging the light trees and the other performers and crew clustered to watch the pianist and the fuzzy blue puppet.

    Gail folded her arms and stared into the laughing audience seated at the round bistro tables and in padded booths while mirth and piano music filled the theater. The stools by the bar were occupied by suited men and women in stylish dresses and skirts, most with their attentions on the stage. A few leaned toward one another, conversing or flirting quietly. None seemed to disturb anyone else, let alone be making a nuisance of themselves. She found the seat where the cackling had bellowed but the leather cushion had emptied. The sound chipped at her memory nonetheless and set her teeth on edge.

    Patty came to her side, clipboard clutched to her black button-down shirt. “She headed out when you started introducing Key and Pedal.”

    “To the lobby?”

    “I don’t know, you could ask Vince. He was going to escort her out if she kept at it.”

    Gail grunted. “Too late.”

    With a hum Patty seemed to note the vacated seat. “Sorry, but it looked like you were handling it.”

    “I’d rather handle thrown tomatoes or silence.”

    “Maybe next time.”

    She snorted. “How long is their set?”

    Patty checked the stopwatch pinned to her board. “Another six minutes.”

    “I need a quick smoke.”

    “I’ll send Linus to get you in five.”

    Nodding, Gail turned and weaved through the onlookers and down the corridor past the greenroom. She exited through the side door and inhaled the brisk, midnight air. Shoving the rubber stop across the threshold, she left the door ajar and dug into her jacket’s inner pocket for her pack and lighter. With a smoke at her lips, she flicked on the Bic, the flame dancing and warming her cheeks.

    “I thought you’d be out here.”

    Gail jumped at the voice, the cigarette falling from her lips unlit.

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