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Hey, This One'll Kill You!
by Sly Squirrel
©2003 Sly Squirrel -- all rights reserved

Anything I do is wrong.

They're screaming at me -- ten thousand would-be fans are tossing rotten vegetables up onto my stage. They taunt with words that would make a sailor blush, and throw gestures better left un-gesticulated. They didn't need a reason -- no bad joke, no terrible song, no stage freight. Just a man wanting to entertain them.

"They come to be angry," my promoter kept saying. "Go out there and get heckled, and we'll keep paying you." Easy for him to say; he isn't standing on the receiving end of an angry mob.

Being a giant chicken isn't nearly as funny as it was originally planned -- oh, no! On paper I was supposed to be bringing down the house night after night. With a decent slapstick act, a few jokes, and some well placed wit I was going to be a star. "We can't lose," he said. "It's in the bag," he said. "Signing a second mortgage is like money in the bank," he said.

And he still calls this winning. What a fucking joke!

"Ugly bird," one heckler screams. "Ugly, dumb, human bird. You suck!" A rancid head of lettuce makes contact with my skull; I barely move. A vendor in the back sells wares he found in a grocer's trash bin only minutes before. All I can do is droop my head and wait for the curtain to close on another opening night.

Yet somehow, among all the rotten juices and stinging projectiles, I still manage to feel a single tear escape my closed eyes.

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