A new comedy club has opened in the middle of town. On the outside, it looks like a spaceship. A silver staircase leads up to the hexagon shaped glass door. I’ve never seen architecture quite like it before, but I am intrigued. We’ve heard nothing about it since it opened which is bizarre when I think of how hyped everyone was.
Barry comes speeding around the corner on his electric bike.
“Barbie! Are you ready to laugh?”
“Laughing is what you should expect from a comedy club.” I reply.
Barry hops off his bike and attaches it to the railings outside.
“That’ll get stolen.”
“Don’t worry Barb.”
As I help Barry with his bike, music begins blaring from the comedy club.
“Welcome to Zizzy’s Quirks & Jerks Comedy Bonanza! What are you waiting for? Step inside and laugh some more!”
Barry and I exchange an amused look. We make our way up the staircase into the club. Instantly we are greeted by a mermaid covered in glow in the dark paint. She is holding a tray of shots.
“Welcome! Take one! This is our comedy juice!”
“Will we need it? Isn’t this night supposed to be funny on its own?”
Mermaid girl throws her tray down and starts furiously winding up a Jack-In-The-Box. She holds it up to my face as the lid pops off.
“Don’t question Zizzy!”
I look around the room to see large balloons strewn across the floor. Some are block coloured, but others have a suspicious white substance on them. I turn back to see mermaid girl has disappeared.
“Barry, I’m not liking this.”
Barry grabs my hand.
“Me neither. Something is off about this place. We’ll wait for the others to arrive, and then we’ll think about making a run for it.”
A man emerges from the darkness with a stack of plates balanced on his head. He’s bug eyed and has an intimidating grimace on his face. He stops in front of Barry and me.
“Good evening, I am Zizzy. This is my comedy extravaganza! What are your names?”
“I’m Barbie, and this is Barry.”
He bows very slowly, still with the plates stacked on his head.
“Wonderful,” he croons.
Without another word, he waddles back into the darkness.
“Barry, I think we should leave right now.”
“I’m with you. I’ll text the others. This is some freaky shit.”
We move towards the hexagonal entrance, but mermaid girl stands in our way.
“Where do you think you’re going? The comedy hasn’t started yet.”
“My friend here isn’t feeling all that well, so I’m going to take him home.”
I try to push past her, but she wraps her tail around us. We are so close to escaping into the muggy heat outside. A packet of cigarettes falls out of Barry’s pocket. As we fight for our survival, Zizzy starts throwing plates at us like Chinese stars. Barry moves to the left, and I move to the right. Someone has triggered the sprinklers because we are getting soaked. Except, it doesn’t feel like water.
“I hope you aren’t allergic to dairy! You’re about to drown in ice cream!” Zizzy screams.
We manage to break free of mermaid girl’s grasp, and we make a run for it. We descend the spiral staircase only to find that we have been returned to the club. There is no sign of Zizzy or mermaid girl. The place looks completely different, and our friends are here now.
“Where have you two been? We’ve been waiting for you half an hour!” Johnny complains.
Barry looks at me.
“We’ve been waiting for you! We got attacked by this man with plates stacked on his head, and there was this mermaid girl. I tried to text you!” Barry explains.
Before anyone can say anything else, the stage goes dark. We decide to sit near the front to get the best view. I am positive that we didn’t imagine the attack. We were stone cold sober! When I turn to look at the hexagonal door, I see a normal rectangular doorway which wasn’t there before. I nudge Barry.
“Look! The hexagon is gone.”
Just as Barry is about to open his mouth, shadows emerge on stage.
“Barbie, it’s Zizzy and mermaid girl!” Barry gasps.
I notice something glimmering on my skin. A hexagon. I look around the room to see everyone staring at the same mark on themselves. We’ve all been marked.
“You’ll notice that you’ve all got a hexagon on your skin. This is your permanent ticket to Quirks & Jerks Comedy Bonanza. It will never come off, but don’t worry. It will only appear when we are nearby,” says mermaid girl.
“What is this? A travelling circus?” I ask.
Zizzy looks directly at me with his veiny bug eyes. Taking a plate from his head, he throws it into my mouth. The force of the hit knocks my front row of teeth out. They scatter across the floor like marbles.
“Silence! It is rude to interrupt!”
The words coming out of Zizzy’s mouth sound like static. All I can hear is a cacophony of buzzing. Barry is clearly shouting at me, but it’s just white noise. The club has chewed us up and spat us out, as we find ourselves sitting on the pavement. I reach up to feel the gaps where my teeth used to be, but they seem to have regrown.
“What the hell just happened to us?”
“I don’t have the faintest idea, but I know I’ll be having nightmares for the rest of my life.” Johnny says.
I look across the road to see a beekeeper suited up. I soon realise that he is stood in the spot where the comedy club had been only moments ago. Deciding to go over, I tap the man on the shoulder.
“Are you a beekeeper?”
Asking him the obvious is my way of starting a conversation. I don’t want to freak the guy out by asking him about a travelling comedy club that just disappeared into thin air.
“I am indeed. I got a call to say that these two bees you see here could be a mutation that scientists have been studying.”
I look down to see these two large bees seemingly holding hands. They’re unusually colourful, tinged with shades of violet. The beekeeper takes out a packet of honeycomb from his pocket.
“Hexagons,” I mutter.
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool!”
“I always give my bees a name, so I’ve decided to call these Zizzy and Mermie.”
I look up at the beekeeper in shock.
“What? Are those bad names?”
“No, not at all. They just sound a little familiar, that’s all.”
“How many Zizzy’s and Mermie’s do you know?” He laughs.
I look back at my friends who are all sat on the kerb across the road, their faces drenched in sweat.