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“A Murder of a Man Named Fish”

"The Depths of Deception Unraveled"?

By Kamran AlamPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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The Heckle & Jeckle Comedy Club, once a hub for laughter, now rhythmically pulsates with blue and red police lights. Officer Martinez grunts, "Looks like murder," as he lit the cigarette between his teeth. Beatrice Bevs recounts the night's events, recalling the atmosphere at the club, which was rich with the rhythmic clinking of glasses and laughter. Fiona Flickerwick, the club's resident stand-up comedic firecracker, ended her set with a unique takedown of her pet ferret that had everyone in the room cracking up.

Beyond the crowd, Harmony Hughes, a retired minor comedic celebrity turned grumpy comedy club owner, sipped on his usual drink, a Hellfire, no ice, and smoked his cigar. His chuckles were low and growly showing his approval of Fiona's material.

Suddenly, the spotlight shifted to a nervous looking figure approaching the stage, Barty Butterfeather. Even though new to the comedy scene, Barty was a man whose material on stage had already become stale and whose jokes inspired more pity than laughter. He shuffled onto the stage and adjusted the mic, lighting his puce face.

He muttered, "G—good evening, everyone." He asked why the fish refused to go to the dentist because it was afraid of being scaled." Crickets could be heard from the outside, three miles away. The silence in the crowd was so thick that one could write your name into it. Both Fiona and the bartender stood frozen mid-drink and poured, both with twitching eyes. Beatrice attempted to break the awkward tension by giving a low, pitiful chuckle to no avail.

Harmony Hughes, utterly appalled, rubbed his temples in frustration from the awful comic. He suddenly rose, saying "Is that the best you've got, Butterfeather? Pathetic! You're about as funny as a tax audit!"

The second joke was terrible, and the club returned to its silent state. Barty barely being to make the people laugh resulted in a nervous wreck of stuttering comic on stage, most audience members cringing at the sight.

As the flashing lights seemed mockingly festive, Officer Miller began to question Barty Butterfeather, who was detained in handcuffs. Beatrice gasped, "Yep." A female officer placed Barty in the back of a police cruiser, sniffling back tears. Officer Martinez approached the cruiser with one hand on his belt and the other holding a gun.

Barty, a man with a peanut allergy, confesses to placing a bowl of peanuts near Mr. Hughes, knowing he was allergic. Martinez, stern, asks Barty how it felt to be humiliated and threatened with being kicked out of the club if he didn't come up with better material.

Barty's fear of being kicked out was echoed by Beatrice, who remarked that Hughes wouldn't keep a bowl of peanuts around like mints. Barty explains that he thought a slight allergic reaction would scare him and make him reconsider kicking him out. Martinez sighed with sadness, realizing that this wasn't the hardened criminal he had expected, but a man clinging to his dream, which had turned into a nightmare.

Barty's voice cracked. "Humiliated! Like a floundering fish on stage. That's what Mr. Hughes called me last week. Said if I didn't come up with better material, he'd kick me out of the club. I couldn't let that happen, officer. This is my dream!"

A pained silence filled the car. Beatrice's words echoed in Martinez's mind: Knowing Hughes's allergy to peanuts, you'd think he wouldn't keep a bowl of them around like a bowl of mints. But why the peanuts, Barty? Martinez finally asked. Barty sniffled, "I just. I thought maybe a little allergic reaction would scare him straight, make him reconsider kicking me out. I never thought. His voice trailed off, choked with a sob.

Martinez sighed, a wave of sadness washing over him. This wasn't the hardened criminal he'd expected. Just a man clinging to his dream, a dream he'd accidentally turned into a nightmare.

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About the Creator

Kamran Alam

"Kamran Alam: Karachi-based Digital Marketing & Content Writer. Crafting captivating narratives and driving online success. Let's elevate your brand's online presence together!"

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  • Alex H Mittelman about a month ago

    Great story! I love the descriptions like the cigarette between the teeth! ♥️💜☮️

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