Monday, 10 February 2020
PUNCH LINE PARTY (a.k.a. A Bad Joke Story for UK Punday 2020)
The pirate sips a Bacardi Breezer. The Spanish footballer bites into a cube of chicken, sliding it off the kebab stick. Multicolour lights dance around them as they stand beside the party buffet.
The pirate takes the black hat from his head and wafts himself with it, causing the fake red beard to flutter. His other hand reaches for the steering wheel on his crotch but hesitates, remembering that it is there, that it can't be moved until after the party is over.
The footballer grins at this but itches the tight Astroturf skirt he is wearing. It goes right up to his crotch so at least he is in a more comfortable position than his friend. He starts to feel the heat himself, wafting his Real Madrid jersey.
"I'm going to kill Derek," the pirate says. "You just know he picked this venue to make the night even more impossible."
The footballer looks around. "Not so many people," he lisps.
"Don't do that."
The footballer shrugs. "I'm just having a little fun."
"Well, there could actually be a real Spanish person coming tonight."
"You know something I don't?"
"No." The pirate finishes his drink. "Ah."
The footballer tilts his head and squints. "Was that argh?"
"Sounds like the start of your punch line to me."
"No it wasn't."
"Admit it! You were so sick of waiting for someone to trip up that you were considering sabotaging yourself." The footballer turns round to peruse the buffet. "You know the rules."
The pirate joins. "Of course I do. Which is precisely why I wouldn't say anything like that."
"If you says so," the footballer says, winking.
The pirate sighs. "'Argh' isn't even a key part of my punch line."
"Oh really? How does it go?"
The pirate glares at him. "I don't know. How does yours go?"
The footballer laughs this off.
The pirate looks over his shoulder. He focuses on a couple at the other end of the room, a man and a woman with things on their head. A paper bag over his face and a small plastic cow wrapped in her hair.
"Who are they?"
The footballer follows his gaze. He breathes in. "Oh no. You won't get me like that."
"Are you seriously telling me their puns are their real names?"
"Yep. Ingenious, isn't it?"
"Annoying more like."
The footballer turns his attention to the door at the front of the room. "Oh shit."
"What?" the pirate asks, turning around.
They both groan as Quasimodo shuffles up to them. He has a bell glued to his left cheek.
"Hello, friends," he lisps.
"That's racist," the footballer remarks, glancing at the pirate.
He shakes his head. "In this case it's just offensive."
Quasimodo grins. "Go on then."
"Go on then what?"
The footballer and the pirate look at each other.
"No," they both answer.
Quasimodo stomps his foot. "Oh, come on! Where's the fun in that?"
"We'll lose if we say the punch line to your stupid little joke," the pirate says.
"You didn't know the rules?"
"I knew to dress up as a joke."
The footballer laughs. "That's only part of it. If someone says the punch line to any joke in here then you lose."
"I lose what?"
Quasimodo frowns. "I thought it was a party."
"It is. And this is the big party game."
Quasimodo grumbles, grabbing a pig in a blanket. The eye beneath his plastic forehead bulge lands on a woman entering the party. She is dressed as a giant fish. Its eye has been cut out.
"Now that one is obvious," he says, turning back. "I mean, who would even say that punch line? Doesn't exactly fit into normal conversation."
"No disagreement there," the pirate mutters.
"And how about her friend?" the footballer asks.
Quasimodo watches another woman stumble in on all fours, both of her eyes covered up. She has light brown fur and is definitely meant to be a mammal but he is unsure precisely which one. One horn is far larger than the other on her head.
"Could it be mythical?" the pirate muses out loud.
"Maybe." The footballer flicks Quasimodo in the arm. "What do you think?"
Alarms blare. Confetti falls. Streamers fly. Both the footballer and the pirate grin at their fellow guest as he squeezes his eyes shut in embarrassment. He palms his disfigured face. Everyone at the party cheers.
"And that's the end of the game," the footballer says with a glint in his eye.
Quasimodo groans and looks up. "What do I have to do?"
The pirate rests a hand on his shoulder. "Buy everyone a round of drinks."
Quasimodo turns to the bar.
The footballer laughs. "Unfortunately the booze won't be quite as cheap as the laughs in here."