He felt the night had run aground. He’d been around long enough to know when he’d lost them, weren’t happy, they weren’t enjoying the show, and they sure weren’t laughing. He knew he was dying. He could smell the air grow sour like a waft of bad flatulence, and he felt the minutes bleed into long stretches of incarceration. Dougie knew they’d taken his detractor’s side, and now it was his turn to suffer.
The prolonged silence was worse than he imagined, that terrible noise was hunting him down and when his next joke fell flat he caught himself yearning for those few clapping hands – it wasn’t better to hear nothing at all, he made the grim decision. And for a third time, Sandy Field looked toward the adjacent bar and considered leaving the show.
You don’t care what I have to say, do ya?
(Dougie pauses for a response, and receives none.)
No? – I didn’t think so – why’d ya even come to the show?
(Dougie pauses once more for another mute response.)
There were two options for the old comedian from here. The first was simple – he could finish it there, sparing his dignity and walked off the stage. Or, he could choose his second choice, he could continue, to try and resuscitate, revive, and resurrect the shipwrecked performance. But that would take a lot of work, a lot of grovelling and placation, a lot of sucking up and seceding his dignity, his legacy, and his soul. Once upon a time, a situation like that presented an opportunity. He’d happily press on in an armour of rude bravado, he’d happily stretch it further, see how far he could go, and maybe he’d win the crowd back and go home proud, but once upon a time was never like that night. Those times had passed, and that night was too far beyond salvage, too ruined to save, and he was too old to try. But he not ready to leave and Dougie Style chose a third choice – he chose, as many foolish captains had done before, he chose to sink with his ship, he chose to defy his inevitable fate.
No answer, hey? Yeah, that’s it, just shrug ya shoulders. Who gives a shit, right? Do you know who I am? I’m Dougie-fucken-Style. I’ve been doing this longer than you lot’s been doing anything. I’ve been in movies, on television, in magazines, on the fucken radio – I married a bloody super model, forfucksake – I’m bloody famous, don’t ya know that? And who the fuck are you? Hey? Fucken nobody – that’s who. Do you know who I am? Raise both ya hands if you even know who I am.
He pointed and made a point to point with both his arms and direct both his fingers at his opponent. That was too much for the man at the front. The bitter old comic had unleashed a wave of unexpected wrath