Thursday, June 23, 2016

Story 140: Bad Improv Group

            The troupe of four players took to the tiny stage at the back of the seedy bar.
         “Good evening, everyone, we are The Four Bores!”  The supposed leader of the group addressed the audience to scattered applause, usurping the founding troupe member’s authority yet again.  “All right, you all know how this works: shout out an occupation!”
            “Truck driver!”
            “Jesuit priest!”
            “Depressed bank teller.”
            “Did I hear ‘corporate executive?’”  The supposed leader asked, cupping a hand to his ear as he looked pointedly at a woman sitting at the table closest to the stage.  She continued drinking her beer as she mumbled something through the glass.  “Right!  ‘Corporate executive’ it is!  Now we need a location!”
            “A finishing school for naughty ladies!”
            “An office!”
            “Did someone say ‘department store?’”  The supposed leader asked.
            “I didn’t hear that.”
            “‘Department store’ it is!  Now we need a situation!... Anyone?”
            “Trying to get drunk.”
            “Dying on stage!”
            “Ha-ha-ha – no.  Anyone else?”  The supposed leader glared at the woman sitting at the table closest to the stage.
            The woman looked up from her crossword puzzle for a second to say,” Riding a bike.”
            “‘Riding a bike’ it is!  Brilliant!”
            “Rubbish,” was grumbled in the back of the bar.
            “So we have a corporate executive in a department store riding a bike.  I think we can work with that!” 
The members of the group huddled up, then separated.  The supposed leader assumed the position of riding an imaginary bicycle while the other three milled about the stage.  The founding member walked up to the “bike rider.”
“Excuse me, sir, but riding a bike is not permitted in our department store.”
“That’s all right,” the “rider” said, “I’m a corporate executive!”
After a pause, the woman at the table closest to the stage went “Heh, heh, heh,” without looking up from finishing her puzzle.
            “And, scene!”  The four players bowed.
            “That’s it?!”
            “Wait, what were the other two in that supposed to be?”
            “Mannequins,” the third member of the group answered: she and the fourth member never got any lines.
           “Now, we’re going to play a game called, ‘What In Blazes Am I Doing?’” The supposed leader said while the founding member ground what was left of his teeth.  “We’re going to pantomime very specific activities and you, the audience, have to guess what we’re doing!”
           “And – go!”  The four players began pantomiming wildly all over the stage and into each other.  The audience members who were still watching had glazed looks on their faces; the woman at the table closest to the stage was reading a romance novel.  The supposed leader stepped forward on the stage and tried to catch the eyes of the audience members, silently encouraging them to make guesses with his head bobbing madly and his eyes bugging out.  He then kicked the table of the woman sitting closest to the stage; without looking up from her book, she pointed to each player in turn.
          “Putting out a fire on his clothes while playing the oboe for the Philharmonic Orchestra; rescuing a lion out of a sequoia tree while a circus made up of ex-convicts watches; rocking a baby worm to sleep in a blanket made of human hair during an ice storm; driving a carriage drawn by eight camels while delivering decades’ old mail to a town in Siberia.”
            “Yes!  She got it, ladies and gentlemen – give her a round of applause!”  The supposed leader was the only one who clapped.  “All right, one more game, then, would you like that?”
          “Right!  Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve been The Four Bores, you’ve been a wonderful audience, good night!”
            The four players clasped hands, bowed, and left the stage in silence until the jukebox started up again.
            “I don’t know why the boss lets them keep coming here,” the bartender said to one of the servers.  “It’s literally the same show every night.”