Short Story: “Hot Air”
A Rett Bonneville Short Story
By Anne M. Freeman©
I set my guitar on its stand while the audience applauded. I liked Casey’s – the club was trying hard to transition into a real listening room, which was heaven for acoustic singer/songwriters like me. But tonight, some bozo chatted it up with his date during my entire first set.
Casey’s advertised this night as a showcase, and signs were posted everywhere that asked patrons to turn off their cells and refrain from talking during performances. But the club owner didn’t yet have the nerve to throw out patrons who didn’t comply with the “Shhhhh!” policy, so normally I just put up with it. But tonight, I was prepared.
I signaled to the audience to hold on a sec, and pulled out two pink Whoopee Cushions from my tote bag I’d set close behind me. I blew one up, placed it on the stage by my feet, and then called on the still-chatting Bozo.
“Mr. Yellow Crewneck Sweater, you’ve won a prize.”
Of course, Bozo wasn’t paying attention. I called him again.
“Mr. Yellow Crewneck Sweater, come on down!”
No response. A woman walked over, tapped him on the shoulder and said something to him. Bozo looked up at me, surprise on his inane, handsome face. He made the classic, “Me?” gesture, looked back and forth a few times at me and the woman standing beside him, and then stood up. I waved him to the stage.
“Yes, you! You’ve won a prize. Come up to the stage.”
Bozo made his way. He had an expensive haircut and wore knife-pleat khakis and tasselled loafers; perfectly rich and perfectly clueless, probably one of the prep boys from the exclusive university nearby. He climbed up on stage, walking unsurely towards me.
“Thanks for coming up. What’s your name?”
“Umm, Tristan. Did I really win something?”
“Yes, you really did win something, but you were too busy talking to hear the announcement.”
A nervous chuckle skittered across the audience. I offered Tristan the limp Whoopee Cushion. He looked out at the audience, shrugged his shoulders, and took the prize.
“You’ve just won the ‘Ejaculatory Flatulence Award’ for talking during my entire set,” I announced.
With that, I lightly tapped my right foot on the primed Whoopee Cushion. “Poot.”
Tristan looked down at it and then up at me again. “Hey, what’s going …”
“Poot, poot.” I smiled.
His eyebrows knitted. “This is bull …”
“Poot, poot, poot.” Every time he opened his mouth, I pooted.
By now, the audience was laughing out loud. Tristan threw his prize onto the stage and stormed off.
“Let’s get the … POOT, POOT!,” Tristan yelled at his now mortified date. He slammed some money on the table and they strode angrily towards the door. Tristan turned, red-faced, and opened his mouth … “POOOOOOOOT!” The audience howled.
At the door, he flipped me the bird, to which I responded with a dainty “fweet.”
I laughed, picked up my guitar and walked to the back of the stage, and wondered if I could ever, really, get away with a stunt like that.