The Best Punch I Ever Threw: Part 2

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Nonfiction

“Why didn’t you tell me this was a bowling alley Mike?” I said, staring at him angrily and pulling into the parking lot.

“Well… I thought maybe you wouldn’t come.”

“Goddamn right I wouldn’t,”

“See… ”

I didn’t say anything.


Still nothing.

“I didn’t want to come all the way up here all by myself.”


“It’s not that bad DJ.”

Mike shut up and we sat there for a long time.

“I’m bowling during your set Mike.”

We got out and walked towards the club (bowling alley).

On the way into the bar (Bowling Alley) there was  a sandwich board that had two words written on it in black marker: Open Comics. That was it, there wasn’t a date or time mentioned. It wasn’t even nice hand-writing; clearly a dude’s. The inside of the place was standard. A few tables pushed near the front and some NASCAR crap on the walls. There wasn’t a stage, and that always sucks, but it’s not a big deal. My favorite places in the world to tell jokes are coffee shops in New York. Those places never have stages. Still, it sucks. The place was pretty big and kind of laid out like a house, if a house had a bowling alley in it.

The place was also, not surprisingly, very drunk. The people who were there for dinner had 7 or 8 empty beer bottles on their tables. These weren’t the folks who were there there to drink. These were the dinner people. Those were their dinner beers. One dude at the bar was struggling to keep himself on his chair. It was 5:30 in the afternoon. He kept asking the bartender,

“where’m I at Eddy?”

“You’ve had twelve John.” The bartender would say while the drunk swayed defiantly. Proud of his victory over gravity. “Hey John,” the bartender said, “these are the comics.” John slid/fell off his chair and came over to start shaking our hands.

Mike and I looked around a bit. On the wall, behind some glass, there was a poster with our headshots. Mike’s was from like eight years ago, which isn’t a big deal, except Mike’s only 26. So this thing looked like Mike’s senior portrait. He was leaning over a hay-bale and wearing a letterman’s jacket or some shit. It was silly. Mine, wasn’t even my headshot. It was a picture of some skinny guy in glasses that looked vaguely Jewish and was at least 40. My name was on the bottom and underneath that was a brief bio that I had no part in writing. It said something along the lines of “… DJ Dangler wanted to do stand-up ever since he first saw Johnny Carson on the television…” I have no idea who wrote this… or where that picture came from, but for the record. I loved it.

Mike and I shook John’s hand a few more times then left to find the hotel. When we got there, the place was terrifying. I’m not somebody that’s intimidated by a lot of situations. I don’t mind shitty or ratty hotels, and I’ve stayed in some clearly dangerous neighborhoods, but this place was scary. It was a rickety little building where all of the rooms faced out in one direction towards the woods. There were only 6 or 7 rooms, and all of the numbers on the doors were different fonts and sizes. The building seemed “set apart” from the rest of the town. Everything else kind of muddled together, the way buildings in the middle of most small towns do, but this one had a perimeter of loneliness around it that was eerie and unsettling. It was built that way to afford people some privacy, but what it gave me was a sense of desolation and fear.  It looked like a place where Jason Voorhees would get raped.

When we approached the main building there was a simple note pinned to the door that read: “Comics, room 6 is open.”

Mike and I looked at each other warily. There’s no chance this wasn’t a trap. When we went to the room I was certain that if I opened the door a snare would whip me up into the air or I’d fall inot a punji pit to my death. Luckily, there was neither a snare nor a punji pit. There was just a dingy room with one bed. This wasn’t going to work. I’d have made do, but Mike knows I’m a cuddler. Before we left we looked around the room for a minute. There was a TV sitting on a desk that was hooked up to a VCR. The cords hung out in a jumble. A microwave was resting on a chair, not a shelf or counter, just a chair. A coffee machine rested on the ground. Nothing matched. The nightstands were different, like they were picked up at yard sales and there were a pair of boots in the corner. Caked in mud and recently worn. Some dude’s boots were in our room.

Some guy, I’m assuming the same guy, had left his bank book on the dresser, and it was still there. Mike grabbed it and thumbed through it. “Don’t you think this guy’s going to want this?” Mike asked. “I doubt it Mike,” I said, “there’s no chance that guy’s still alive.”

I’m going to leave off here for now. This story’s taking me forever, and it’s really just getting going. I’ve still got the show to do, the night to have, and the guy to punch in the face. I hope you’ll stick around for it. Oh yeah, and I still need a name.



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