This is another scene that I think works better if it were physical. The constant rocking, nudging and tossing around of Jon is really a great moment for physical comedy. The last bit, which I'll hold off describing, is really more of a physical/visual scene than a written one. Oh well. Table of Contents here.
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Normally, before I barrel headlong into one of these situations, I heck with Christine to make sure that I have everything I need. She’s my safety valve and shield; she was also sitting in a chair by the exit in case things went sour. I didn’t say she was a particularly brave or study shield. But, she was better than nothing. Except right now. Where I had nothing.
Except Sam. Well, and Kenny, but Kenny wasn’t going to be much help.
“Sacre bleu! Do you get it, because I am bleu?”
I grabbed the microphone off the podium and started half clapping as I held it up. “Thank you, thank you, you adorable little blue guy. Now, let me turn the show back over to our speaker.”
I lowered the microphone into the slot for it on the podium, and whispered to Jon: “You’re acting like an ass.”
“You’re speaking into the microphone,” Sam said. I wanted to hit him, but I didn’t. Because I’m a lady, I have dignity, and he was too far away.
“I have every right to be. Look at that thing!” Here Jon thrust a finger into the puppet’s chest, which recoiled like it had been struck. Which I guess, it had been. The poor thing’s googley eyes bugged out.
“Ne touch pas!”
“Jon, don’t you have something to say to the audience?”
Jon’s eyes shifted to me, then out to the tables. He cleared his throat and stood straight, wobbled, and then rested against the podium. He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out some notecards.
“Don’t think you’re off the hook, homewrecker,” He said, casting a sidelong glance at the puppet. “I remember your type. All slithery sweet, always popping in just to say ‘hello,’ pretending to be innocent. I’ve got one eye on you.”
The puppet settled in, and I let Jon lean on him while he tapped the notecards on the podium. Security was making their way forward, and Sam hopped down to get out of the way.
“We all know why we’re here. Let me tell you something, I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t care about this,” Jon said, casually flipping the first notecard at the puppet’s head. “Second, I don’t know why I was invited here.”
I gave Jon a little shake. He pulled his arm free, blinked, and flung another card at the puppet. The audience was awkwardly trying to decide whether this was all an act, an embarrassment or a nightmare. I heard a card go flying.
“Didn’t want to say that part after all,” Jon said. A few nervous titters of laughter. “Here’s what I wanted to say. My wife… loved that thing. Loved it more than me. Loved it more than you.”
“Jon, that’s not nice,” I said giving him another nudge in his ribs. I tried to over exaggerate the gesture, to really sell it. I don’t think I was fooling anyone, especially since the puppet buried its face in its hands.
“You know what else she loved more than me? Steve,” He hiccupped this time when I elbowed him, not gently. There was some angry murmuring in the back.
“Jon, why don’t you talk about what we’re all here to hear,” I said, trying to over pronounce the second hear. You could hear a pin drop, provided the pin was the angry murmuring of a crowd.
“Well, let me tell you something, even terrible people don’t deserve what she went through,” Jon said, throwing a card at the ground. “Because I didn’t get any closure! She left me before she even apologized for Steve! Or the puppet! Or the puppeteer!”
I covered the microphone with one hand and half spun Jon.
“You’re still being an ass.”
“You don’t understand what it is like, to be betrayed! It makes me sick,” Jon said. “She made me sick!”
The French accent was gone when the puppet spoke up again. “Hey, look man, just relax. Babes, who needs’em, right?”
Jon looked at the puppet. For a moment he was about to laugh, then the laugh turned into a cackle. I’d never heard a grown man cackle in quite that way, and I got roped into helping an ex-boyfriend practice for his role as Iago.
“Babes? No! Sluts! Who needs sluts?” With that the crowd decidedly turned against him, and by him, I mean us. There was some extremely loud yelling from a back table, but I didn’t really spend a lot of time trying to work out that particular problem. Because, while I was trying to turn off the microphone, Jon lunged at the puppet, grabbing it around the throat to throttle it.
“I’ll show you for taking my wife!”
“He’s killing me! He’s killing me!” The puppet cried. I grabbed hold of Jon’s waist and tried to pull him free. While I was trying to wrench him free, an older gentleman dressed in a powder blue suit pushed through security, along with one of the event emcees. The emcee took the microphone to tell the band to strike up a tune.
The man in the powder blue suit, who I recognized as Jon’s wife’s — Sheila’s — dad, cocked his fist back and let it fly. Jon took the blow straight in the kisser and wheeled backwards. I heard a high-pitched squeak, and the sound of a googley eye popping free, then I recognized the squeak as the sound of me being crushed under Jon.
I pushed him, “Get off of me.”
He sat up, and I pulled myself out from under him, and tucked my dress under my knees. He was looking at the blue puppet, now missing an eye, with both of Jon’s hands wrapped around its now limp neck.
“I finally killed the son of a bitch.”
“Funny,” said the man in the powder blue suit, “I was hoping to say the same thing after what you said tonight!”
Jon looked up at him, his eyes a dizzy, unfocused mess. Before the old man could lay into him, security had hooked him by his arms and was dragging him away. Jon held the puppet up, like an offering to the sky. Then, he tossed the lifeless blue husk aside, and promptly vomited all over my dress. And me.