“And you can stick it up your arse!” Siobhan shrieked, hurling the microphone into the swell of the audience and stalking off the stage with leaden feet.
Gary rushed into her path, halfway to the packed green room.
She held up her hand. “Don’t. Just don’t. I know.”
“Did you hit anyone?” He squeaked.
“Might have done. Didn’t hear anyone go ‘ow’. Maybe they got lucky.”
“We’ll send someone out to check. You should probably leave by the emergency exit though, just to be on the safe side.”
She nodded, momentarily distracted by Ritchie brushing past her to bring the night to a swift close.
“He’ll sort them.” Gary nodded too, turning away from her and walking back to the box office. Confrontation was far from his remit.
Comforted by the spontaneous applause she prompted upon entering the green room, Siobhan gave them an exaggerated bow and allowed the other acts to thump her on the back and offer praise and commiserations.
“At least they’ll remember you.” Viv pointed out. “That girl who threw a mic at the cunts in the fourth row singing ‘Get your tits out’ in an atonal round. You can put it on your posters.”
“Better than it being the other way round; got glassed twice in my first year, look.” Brian proffered his lower back at an awkward angle and she nodded sympathetically on cue.
“We’ve all been there, Pet and we’ll all be there again, it’s the way. What doesn’t kill you gives you great material for your next set. Must shoot off now; Babysitter charges a quid for every five minutes past 12 I get back.” Viv kissed her on the cheek and rushed out of the door, followed by most of the others, the Tuesday night line up being semi-professionals with proper day jobs to turn up at come 9am. This meant the bar would be dead, save for students and the odd straggler. Hopefully the singers from earlier would be long gone. Only slightly spooked by the thought; Siobhan retrieved her bag from the top of the lockers and fished for her lippy and a dash of Dutch courage. Mid-application there was a knock at the door and trying to call out “S’open!”, she knocked the tube and streaked Man Trap red across her cheek.
“Fuck.” She muttered dejectedly as the door opened and Ritchie walked in.
“Hello Scrappy-Doo.” Then. “War paint for the bus ride home?”
“Funny. Did the close go alright?” She turned back to the mirror and tried to wipe the smudge away, but only making it look like she had a really bad case of heat rash.
“Fine. They were shocked, more than anything.”
“And did I manage to twat the cunt?”
He laughed. “Sorry, the mic’s pretty fucked though.”
“Shit. They’re not going to pay me tonight, are they?”
“Not my place to say, maybe you shouldn’t buy yourself a diamond car just yet.”
“Thanks for the heads up.” To avoid making eye contact she turned to the coat rack, hunting for her jacket.
“Going anywhere tonight?”
“Serves you right being the compère and promoter of the only club in a thirty mile radius.”
“I’m a glutton for punishment.” He agreed. “Great set tonight, by the way — until the GBH.”
“You don’t have to be kind.”
“I’m not paid to be kind, I’m paid to hire acts that bring in crowds that help us break even. It was a tight ten minutes with maybe five towards the end that need a bit of trimming. And maybe anger management classes.”
“I’ll work on it.” She promised, secretly thrilled he was taking an interest.
“Do you have to shoot off now?”
She considered this. It was reading week. Apart from a scheduled session at the library, her days were wide open.
“I can give you a lift.” He added, “Buses do get a bit mental and stabby in the early hours. You’re only out past the station, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” She replied, surprised he remembered. “Good memory.”
“Mr Memory, yours truly. Come up to the office, it’s warmer in there.”
The office was sacred territory — nestled at the back of the building with a comfy sofa and two desks where Gary and Ritchie sat opposite one another glowering and arguing over who should take top billing. Gary’s desk was almost empty; remnants of the week’s lunches in his waste paper basket. Ritchie’s was messier, but still neater than the one in Siobhan’s bedroom which was awash with essays, half-written ideas for acts and ‘inspirational’ newspaper clippings about people with funny names and current affairs.
The radio was playing softly from his ancient laptop, and the only illumination from there and one desk lamp set on the shelving unit. He was right though, it was a lot warmer.
“Drink? Got a cheeky bottle of rum around here, somewhere.”
“Snap.” She waved the miniature from her bag at him.
“Well, I’ve got glasses.”
“You win; let me have it.”
He passed the glass over and they sat on opposite sides of his desk, silent for a moment.
“You’re really good, Siobhan.” He said finally. “Really good, I can see you going far.”
“Thanks.” She said, floored.
“And Gary thinks so too.”
Gary’s opinion didn’t mean anything, though. Only Ritchie. Ritchie with his brown eyes and authority and knowledge of everything.
“We both fucking loved the line about castrating your grandmother. Beautiful.”
She blushed. “It’s stupid.”
“That’s why it works. Believable stupidity. You’ve got it, Siobhan all you need to do now is control it.”
“I’m definitely believably stupid.” She smiled, the fire in her throat making her a wee bit bolder. “So what do you want to teach me?”
It was a loaded question.
He looked at her thoughtfully.
“Do you like your last five minutes?”
“Not as much as I could. It’s rushed. I had a solid ten and when I got offered longer sets, it threw me a bit.”
“Happens to all of us. Definitely happened to me. I used to end my set with an audience Q&A. Had to tell a lot of lies about the size of my cock. Three or four times a night if we had stags and hens in. I wouldn’t recommend that strategy.”
“No. No one’s going to ask me how big my cock is, are they?”
“I don’t know, are they?”
Without thinking she pressed a hand to her crotch and pursed her lips.
“Definitely a pussy down there.” she nodded, downing the rest of the glass.
“I expect so.” He replied, his gaze lingering.
“Maybe I could get my tits out. I’ve already been asked once tonight so it’s clearly something at least some of the public want. When they say ‘get your tits out’” she continued, warming to the subject “When they say that, do they mean, like, all my tits, or just my tits in a bra or what? What’s the protocol there?”
“All your tits?”
Nipples on display and stuff. Is that what they want?”
“Dirty bastards.” Even though as she was thinking it, she felt her skin start prickling, travelling down her arm, down over her stomach and through her legs and cunt, quite matter of factly.
“So, are you going to teach me how to do an ending then?”
He finished his drink and slammed the glass down.
“Yes, yes I am. Stand up.” She did so, and he walked round to her.
“Are you warm?”
“Yes.” Siobhan took off her coat. He was wearing a long sleeved t shirt. “And horny.” She added, unexpectedly.
“Oh.” He said, stumped.
“Only a bit. And a bit tired. But definitely more horny than tired.” He was very close and very handsome and she’d wanted to fuck him ever since she’d seen him at a gig during Fresher’s week and she hadn’t become a groupie like other girls; she watched him perform and found she wanted to do it to. He had an infectious passion you could absorb from the audience; had been gigging since she was in nappies and he was skipping school to charm reps and get his foot on the ladder. She made the final heats of Student Comedy Fest 2013 and got a commendation and Ritchie offered her five minutes off the back of it.
Once she’d walked into the green room and he was dressing. She wondered if he remembered, or even knew at all.
“I think what you’ve got working for you, . Is the element of surprise. You work with it all through your set, so you can afford to do something shocking at the end, if you want to take the risk.” And he kissed her squarely on the mouth; one of his large hands in the small of her back and the other gently fitted against her chin.
Shock, mostly. Drunken shock. He broke away as soon as they’d begun.
“Sorry, sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. Crossed the line, way over the line. Past the line. I’m so sorry, Siobhan-”
“How long have you got? Unprofessional mostly.”
He still had his arms around her, she was reluctant to remind him in case he let go.
“I don’t think so, not really.”
She kissed his cheek.
“Is that unprofessional?”
“On what comes next.”
Siobhan cocked her head, and raised her finger to his lower lip, tracing their fullness in silence.
“Kiss me again, properly this time.”
“Are you sure?”
“Just do it.”
He paused, leaned towards her, was as close as close can be when she came out with
“How many comics does it take to change a lightbulb?”
She pulled him to her, parting his lips with her own for her tongue to follow, her arms around his neck and curling in the hair that brushed his collar. Closer than before she could feel him — or what she thought, hoped was him — solid and pulsing against her belt, and her own body reacting.
With his mouth relocated to her ear, she heard him muttering,
“Are you sure?”
“About what? This? Yes.”
She moved one hand to his chest, briefly feeling his heartbeat under her fingertips before the hand shifted lower to his belt buckle where with surprising dexterity she unfastened it and unhooked the first two loops.
“Sure about this, too.” she replied into his neck, falling to her knees in what felt like a surprisingly elegant fashion and finishing the job neatly. She heard his breath catching above her as she unzipped, slid her hands into the belt loops and pulled them away with her mouth pressed close to the widening gap, breathing into the fabric and making it damper, through the warmth against her lips.
“So,” she murmured, “That joke you do about your genital topiary…”
“Don’t take the piss, Siobhan.”
“Sarcy.” Down came the underwear with it’s dark spots of excitement, and there he was, just as she’d expected, only more real.
“And sarcy boys don’t get nice blow jobs.”
“Is that a fact?” he asked, placing his hand on the top of her head and very gently pulling her towards him.
“Mmf.” She replied as the tip slid easily into her mouth.
“And is your mouth writing cheques that it can’t cash, Siobhan?”
“She shook her head, concentrating on working her tongue around the sizeable erection in it, her hands rigid against his hips, and alarmed to find him swelling still as she worked.
“No, this won’t do, get up.” he said finally.
She stood up abruptly and wiped her mouth.
“I’m sorry, sometimes it’s hard to gauge what someone wants — different strokes for different folks, right?”
He shook his head, and took her hand, leading her with some difficulty to the sofa and sitting her down.
“Less pressure on the knees?”
“Stop it! You’re a good comic, Siobhan but do you always treat fucks like works in progress gigs?”
With his hands on his hips, and his erection still prominent, he shook his head.
“Stop apologising!” he added, sitting down next to her, and kissing her, slipping one hand inside the neck of her t shirt and feeling her through a stupidly bolstered bra. Immediately calmed, with her free hand she took hold of his cock and stroked it firmly as he felt her up.
“Do you want to take it off?”
She nodded, loosening her grip only to peel the t shirt from her shoulders and taking her bra with it for ease before returning to her job. Sometimes the other acts would make gags about her ‘overinflated chest’, the Barbie doll comparison came up quite a lot, as she was very blonde, only Barbies don’t have short legs or wear glasses. Siobhan noticed Ritchie was motionless, almost assessing them in his palm and for one split second she wondered if he’d ever seen a woman topless before, and if he hadn’t, did it bother her enough to stop? (It didn’t). She felt him grasp her nipple between his fingers and pinch it sharply.
“Ow!” She shrieked, a little too loudly.
“It can’t have hurt that much.” He countered.
“It did. Kiss it better.” She pouted.
Grinning, he took her hand from his privates and lowered his head, kissing the swell of her breast which made her giggle when his stubble tickled the flesh, and nudged her backwards so she was lying more comfortably. As he kissed his way back up her body, she knotted her fingers in his hair and pondered aloud.
“Do you think this will ruin our working relationship?”
“Hmm? It shouldn’t do.”
“Harder.” She called, feeling his teeth. “No, but it might. If someone finds out, or thinks I’m getting better slots or more offers or something. Or that you only told me I was good to get into my knickers.”
“No one’s turned on by self-deprecating shit, Siobhan. You’re good at what you do. Quite separately, you’re hot, and intelligent and you give as good as you get.”
“So what if they do find out?”
Now face to face, he folded his arms and rested them across her chest.
“Then they find out. We can keep it a secret, if you like.”
She considered him.
“Are we going to do it again?”
“We haven’t done it once! Shouldn’t we at least have a test run to see if we like it at all?”
“Sweet-talker. Let’s have at it then.”
Off came his t shirt, revealing the chest that had been part-bared during many gigs for a quick laugh. He stood to pull his jeans and boxes off entirely, and Siobhan did the same, shuffling out of her skinnies and annoyingly utilitarian underwear. Then in a sudden fit of nerves, clamped both hands over her pubic triangle and waited.
“You’ve made access very difficult, there, Siobhan.”
He pointed out, reaching into his desk drawer.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking for ‘protection’. Like an armed guard…” He replied absent mindedly, coming back wielding the packet.
“How many girls have you had in here?”
“Not enough to keep score, but it’s always good to be prepared.”
“Comedians don’t have groupies; we have directionless girls with low self-esteem and nowhere to go.”
“Sounds like a groupie to me.”
He sighed. “I’m thirty six, Siobhan. Did you expect me to be a virgin?”
“I’m single, you’re single. Those are really the only facts that matter. Unless you’ve been lying about your age. You really are twenty two, aren’t you?”
She took a deep breath and removed her cupped hands.
“This and the tits are usually a dead giveaway.”
“Very vintage, 1970′s chic. I like it.”
“Pubes are a feminist issue, Ritchie. A bold statement. They were probably all the rage when you were young and virile.”
“Ooh, how deep she cuts me. Maybe you should ease up on the age gags unless you want me to bring in a fluffer.”
“I’m very sorry. You are lovely and only old in a distinguished, sexy way like Bruce Willis’s only with more hair.”
He knelt down in front of her, and suddenly it all felt very very real. She could feel the blood pounding in her ears, was sure she could hear her heart beating louder than the radio and the noise as he slipped the condom on was almost deafening.
“Are you sure? Sure sure sure?”
She thought about it. It would make a good basis for a set, if nothing else.
“Get on with it, then.”
When he leant down to kiss her again, she felt him brushing against her; then there he was, inside her. Simple as that. All that fuss over nothing.
“This has got to be the weirdest shag I have ever had.” she said after a moment, filled beautifully but static.
“You try getting purchase on a threadbare sofa from British Heart Foundation! It’s tricky.”
“Wuss.” She put her hands on his waist and pulled him closer, crossing her ankles behind his legs and bucking, taking the initiative for once which made him match her, push for push, their breathing thick and noisy, the radio all but drowned out by bodies and furniture and friction making independent rackets feeding into a glorious wall of sound. It felt perfect even when it wasn’t, he was big but not the biggest and the way he worked his way in and out with each stroke felt wonderful. Better than at least her last two boyfriends and that one night stand in Cardiff.
They were so caught up in the thrashing and pounding that by the time they were falling off the sofa it was too late; first Siobhan felt her shoulders slipping and the next thing she knew they were collapsed on the floor. Luckily the sofa was low and the piles of discarded clothing beneath them broke their fall; the jolt sending him into her so abruptly that it shocked Siobhan into climaxing. Her tender skin throbbing and aching with pleasure. He felt her clenching and pulsing; watched her eyes close and her chest redden and the final confirmation of her voice rising above it all, howling his name with her head flung back into the leg of his jeans and it would have been hilarious if anyone could have seen them.
Ritchie kissed her tilted neck and drove himself into her with the renewed force gained from the confidence of knowing she was satisfied, and when he came some moments later, held her tightly so that she could feel it too, though it was not her name he called. To Siobhan’s untrained ear, it sounded suspiciously like that Welsh station with the world’s longest name, though later he was assure her it was nothing of the sort.
Silence reigned in the aftermath as he sat up on his knees, extracting himself from her and rising to get rid of the debris. Siobhan rolled over onto her stomach, watching.
“Should we be giving critique?”
“Not so soon after – have the night to think it over at least. Drink?”
“Please – two fingers.”
He looked up with raised eyebrows “After all that?”
“Ha. I’m insatiable.”
“That’s not something a man wants to hear.” He grouched, handing her a glass. he sat down on the clothes pile next to her. “Cheers.”
She sipped, and felt the alcohol warm her belly. There was a neat scar on his abdomen and she stroked it lightly with a fingertip.
“Appendix, nothing so exciting.” Then “It’s gone two. I should be getting you back.”
“Did you have something else in mind?”
Siobhan carefully turned over onto her back; displaying herself with the abandonment of the truly contented. her breasts replete with pillow creases from the shirts beneath her which only seemed to accentuate their fullness, and much deeper, redder than the skin on her stomach below.
He stared at her for a long time, admiring these things and more as she stood and retrieved her knickers from the tangle; then her shoes from beneath the desk.
“Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps not tonight.” She slipped them back on, then bra-less buttoned her shirt over her chest. “You should get dressed though, imagine being stopped by the police in the nuddy. That would never do.”
“How about Thursday night? I’m free all day Friday for you to completely get to grips with my finer points.”
“You’re a remarkable woman, Siobhan.”
“I know. Now put your pants on.”