Friday, January 11, 2013

The Opposite of a Perpetual Loser

I feel like Lucy is too competent to be a good comic character in the same way that Sam is. Sam is funny because he's awkward and unsuccessful. Lucy is funny because situations conspire to make her miserable. Along with the perpetual loser, Lucy's fits another comic archetype. She isn't a loser; she has a job she likes and loves. She has friends. She's clearly attractive and could be dating if she wanted to. But, she's frustrated by her instincts to please people. She doesn't want to hurt feelings; she wants to be liked.

Most of all though, she wants to do all of these things the right way. But, she's weak. She takes the road of least resistance for any number of reasons, and that sets her up for comic falls. She's a bit of a push over; she's nice. She is the sort of person who could be your friend, but in the world of the comedy she's also the passive protagonist. Unlike Sam who acts, and funny things happen, Lucy has things happen to her and she reacts. She's not quite the straight man in the act; she's the foil.

As always, fiction below the fold. Click the links to catch up or join us from the start.

1. Start of Lucy's first chapter
2. Conclusion of the first Lucy chapter
3. Start of Sam's chapter
4. Sam's story continues with an unfortunate evening
5. Our two main characters interact as Sam gets shot down.
6. We're back with Lucy as she reflects on her new boyfriend.

* * *

Working with Jon is a miracle. Sure, he’s not prime time, or really any time, but it is great to work with talent that is nice. He really gets into his role; during one show, he wore the bathrobe we were advertising for the whole show, just to show how comfortable it was. Usually, though, he was dressed to impress. Which he could probably do in a ratty t-shirt and jeans. If Christine’s date was gorgeous, then Jon was on a completely different scale of amazing.

And I get to work with him almost every night. I was readjusting my pony tail a few feet away from the door to the actual office. I wanted a mirror, but I settled for the glass on a table. Professional and presentable. With all the important things taken care of, I knocked on the door.

He said come in, so I went in. He was sitting at the desk with a non-descript bottle, which he was placing under the table as I came in. He waved to a seat, which I accepted. You’d drink too if you had to spend hours with Tanya.

“Lucille, pleasure to see you. How can I help?”

“Lucy is fine, sir. I’m here to talk to you about the charity event; Roger said you might need some help with a speech.”

“Yeah,” He pulled out a few crumpled pieces of paper and folded them nice and neat. “Breast cancer awareness rally and charity dinner next week.”

I had been hoping it would be the puppies. I’m not pro-breast cancer; I’m just pro-puppy. I like being positive. So I said of course I could write a speech for him. Then, I had a thought. A devilish, selfish thought. “Of course, it would help me a bit to get your voice if you would sit down, maybe explain why they wanted you to speak.”

“You don’t know?”

“Well, you’re a wonderful speaker,” I said. “And very charismatic. And for a charity dinner, people will buy anything you sell, so that’s very good for them.”

“And I lost my wife to breast cancer.”

It was like a punch to the gut. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know that.”

“I don’t like to talk about her much,” He said. I nodded.

“Would it be too painful to talk about it in your speech?”

“I said I don’t like to talk about her,” He said, flashing me his heart-winning smile. “The breast cancer got to her before my divorce lawyer did. At that point, I thought it would just be cruel to file for divorce.”

“That was very kind of you.”

“I did it for the children.”

“You have kids?”

“No,” He said, laughing. “I mean the kids that used to watch her on that God damned terrible puppet show. Would break their little hearts to know she was having an affair. Affairs don’t make it on the cut of ‘very special episodes.’ You don’t need to write that down.”

I stopped my hand. “I write when I’m nervous.”

“You also furrow your brows and chew your nails. Which is a shame, since you spent so much time on them.”

“You noticed? I just felt like I should treat myself,” I said.

“Well, we can’t very well have you write a speech about how my wife slept around on me, and I’m glad she’s gone,” Jon said. “Tell you what, let’s meet for lunch tomorrow and get some good vibes going. We can meet at the little Mexican place down the street and work until show time.”

My stomach fell, and I said despondently: “I can’t. I have a day job.”

He waved his hand. “No worries. For the next week, you’ll be my personal assistant. So, come by my place at seven tomorrow, and we can get started. Whatever your day job is paying, I’ll triple it.”

I never said yes to a job offer faster. I remembered that Fiona owed me; whether she knew it or not. I’d just call in a favor. All the favors. Every favors. Favors I had not yet earned. Whatever it took to make sure that for the rest of this week, I was Jon Whatever-His-Last-Name-Is’s personal assistant. He shook my hand, then leaned in and whispered in my ear.

“The first thing you do is tell no one about the bottle,” he said. “The second thing you do is get yourself a dress you can wear as my date to this shindig. I get nervous before speeches, so I’ll need you there.”

“Of course I’ll be your date,” I said. “And by date, I mean personal assistant. I mean, that’s what we mean. I mean, I should go help Roger — I’m his assistant too, but not his date. His wife’s still alive.”

I was still flushed red when I got out of the office and found Roger fixing cameras.

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