Out of the Frying Pan and Onto the Hot Seat

“Go on, tell a joke like you always do.” The bar was noisy, but I managed to catch what Jason had said. We were sitting at a booth, at opposite ends of the table. “Wait, what’s up all of a sudden?” I asked. You can’t just expect me to come up with a joke on the spot. It usually takes a while to think of one.

“Come on, just do it. This guy always tells jokes so bad, they’re funny,” he said to a small group of people next to him enthusiastically. I was introduced to them a few minutes ago. From left to right, Anne, George, Henrietta, I think. They were having fun chatting with Jason and then after a few seconds, they turned their attention over to me. Yeah, no, not gonna happen, I’m not telling one in front of people I just met.

“Like Jason said, my jokes are pretty bad. But, he has a few good ones he shares with us when we go out.” I said. That’s right, if you want them to hear a joke so badly, you can go ahead and tell them one. I don’t feel like looking stupid in front of people I don’t personally know.

“Really? Jason, why don’t you tell us one?” asked Anne, and one after the other, they started pressuring him into telling them one of his jokes. “Wait, wait, wait, wait a sec, I had to tell a joke last time. It’s his turn to tell one,” he said, and their eyes shifted towards me. “But they haven’t heard your jokes before, have they?” I replied in the most natural tone possible, and their focus was back on him. It became a game of dodgeball and we were throwing their attention back and forth at each other. You brought them, you entertain them!

“Okay, okay, I’ll do it,” he said, finally giving up after what seemed like maybe a minute of continuous nagging, “but only if this guy agrees to tell one as well.” Jason glanced at me and smirked. That face of yours really pisses me off sometimes! “Relax, it’s just a joke, it doesn’t matter if it’s bad,” said George. It matters to me if it’s bad since I can’t stand the awkward atmosphere after telling one! Especially if it’s in front of people I barely know!

“Give me a break, to be honest, I don’t even have a joke to tell right now,” I said. Now I was being pressured by the trio. How the hell do I get out of this!? What to do, what to do. I’m socially screwed if I don’t think of something! What to do, what to do. Think! To get out of this, what should I…



As soon as the idea hit me, my head hit the table. My body was bent forward, my left arm clung to my stomach and my right rested on the table, just above my head. “Are you okay?” asked Henrietta. “…Sorry, I’ve been holding it in for a while but I kinda need to use the restroom.” I said in a weak voice, my face still flat on the table. Here’s my one-way ticket out!

“That isn’t going to work,” said Jason. I knew you wouldn’t be convinced, but… “What if he isn’t faking it though?” questioned Anne. “No matter how you look at it he’s just acting. He was fine until just a second ago.”

“Are you okay man? If it’s the joke you don’t have to tell one so…” said George. I kinda feel bad for lying. But if I stop now it’ll be more awkward than telling a crappy joke. “No…it’s not that. It was probably something I ate earlier before coming to the bar.”

“Are you going to be okay?” asked Henrietta. “I should be fine after I use the restroom,” I replied.   “Haa,” Jason sighed, “my bad. If you’re really feeling unwell, hurry up and go. Sitting here isn’t going to make things any better.”

“Yeah, thanks, man.” I stood up, still slightly crouching over. “Don’t mind me, you guys keep having fun, I’ll be back in a few minutes,” I said and headed toward the bathroom. I pushed the restroom door open, entered the closest cubicle, and sat there, on the toilet lid. I felt a smile spread across my face. I pulled it off!

I leaned forward and let out a sigh of relief while laughing. A few seconds passed before I could start thinking again. Okay, all I need to do now is just sit here for a few minutes, maybe five? Ten might be better, before going back out. A few minutes passed, five or six maybe before I heard the toilet door open. A voice suddenly echoed throughout the restroom, “You okay? You’ve been in there for a while.” It was Jason.

“Y-Yeah, I think I’ll be fine. I’ll be out in a few minutes.” I answered. Well, this is unexpected.   “Great to hear! Once you’re done, you’re up next,” he said. I’m up next? What’s he saying… “Wait, what!?” I shot up and shouted after a short pause, but by then the only sound I could hear was the restroom door closing. I fell back onto the seat and cupped my face with my hands. Craaap.

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