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Airline Food; What's up with that? (Open)
Topic Started: Aug 19 2015, 08:37 PM (1,035 Views)
Laurels
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((Noah Whitley continued from Extraordinary Machine))

"And that's when my wife said to me: 'Dear, if I really hated you, I would have poisoned you years ago. Speaking of, how's the lasagna?"

Noah let out a small chuckle. He didn't have much faith in this comedian when he went onto the stage. The whole "beleaguered husband and father" schtick had been worn thin by years of sitcoms, but Noah actually thought this guy wasn't that bad. Granted, Noah could find room to criticize, but he knew not to be too critical. This wasn't The Laugh Factory. This was Cheryl's.

Cheryl's held an open mic night every few weeks, and Noah often tried to perform there if he was free that night and had a routine prepared. There wasn't anything wrong about someone his age performing; kids younger than him had made their best attempt at knock-knock jokes and Saturday morning Disney channel puns on the same stage. Granted, his comedy had to be a lot more family-friendly for this crowd, so he couldn't rely on the usual jokes about how much of a lying skank his friend Pina was or anything really salacious. This was where situational humor took precedence over the crude and crass.

Noah knew he'd be performing in a bit. For now, he was enjoying a plate of potato skins and a Pepsi at the bar while Comedy Cad made his next joke about how his kids don't listen to him or how they say the darnedest things. He was fine just taking it easy tonight until he went up.
Edited by Laurels, Aug 19 2015, 08:37 PM.
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((Irene Djezari continued from Not On Target))

Meh. The lasagna was indescribably bland. She probably should have figured that trying to order sit-down food when she barely had an appetite was an economically wasteful decision. Whatever, plenty more dollars to replace the ones she'd thrown away. She had a fifty and some burning a hole in her favorite chain wallet, and that was after blowing ten. Ten something, at any rate. Irene wasn't really tracking the specifics, as much as she had money it was usually the last thing on her mind.

First thing on her mind was that this guy was kinda funny. Like, 'ha ha oh hey I get that' kind of humor. Cute, not especially deep or intricate, but passable. Irene threw out a nervous little giggle as her response to his latest punchline. She might well have been laughing at his hairstyle in addition to his jokes. She was the sort who just always laughed. Even if someone like, say, Noah Whitley was involved. As much as she liked to decry his style. His, right?

Speaking of that style...

Pina wasn't out and about, so the gears had yet to turn into full-on grinding. It was all kinds of awkward, really. Irene hadn't really understood what Noah was all about. Still didn't, to be totally honest. Her Spanish Inquisition of a brain didn't have the nuanced trappings of diplomacy and interpersonal expectation necessary to handle a situation like Noah's with the respect it deserved. So foot had met mouth and Irene had said some unkind things. Shouted them, more often than not. She still struggled to master the impulse to get prissy with him to this day, even as her unwarranted ire for him had been tempered and cooled. Encounters were never quite as easygoing as she liked them to be, even if the fault lay almost entirely with her. Don't have anything nice to say don't say it, and all. She was a few tables away from the bar, hidden by the dimmed lights. She could easily just never make her presence known...

"Hi Noah!" And the next second she had awkwardly caroused through the crowd of chairs and taken a free seat to his right. Foot was already hovering near mouth in anticipation. Metaphorically, of course.
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Noah started to dip a potato skin in some ranch dressing and began to stir it a bit. The Dad Comedian was going on to his next bit, moving on from "wife who loves you but may want to kill you" to "kid who may accidentally kill you" as the subject for his joke. Noah started to take a bite of potato skin when someone sat next to him.

Noah held the potato skin in his mouth as he noticed Irene Djezari sit next to him. He quickly pulled the skin out and began to chew it. He wasn't quite ready to speak to her yet, so he hoped the food in his mouth would give him some time to plan what to say. Not that he disliked her, but his history with Irene told him he needed to watch what he said.

He and Irene didn't have the best history together. Irene really took offense to his drag character and confronted him multiple times on his supposed transphobia. For his part, Noah had been relatively calm in refuting these claims and had to explain where he drew the line on his comedy and why he did his craft. Not that it didn't make subsequent interactions any less awkward, but it at least cleared some confusion.

Noah swallowed the potato and spoke.

"Oh, hey!" he said. "I didn't know you were a fan of Kingman's comedy scene."
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There was foodstuffs in his mouth, of the greasy comfort food quality that she probably should have actually invested in instead of going full ham on the lasagna. Ham lasagna, that was. She was content to let him finish that one off and take the burden of blathering on her own tiny but arbitrarily well-defined shoulders. Like Noah she was aware of having to tread caution with the topics she picked. Unlike Noah however there was very little guarantee of her actually properly using her own awareness.

"I watched your makeup video." Excellent topic to be started off on, with all due consideration. "Well, kinda, I was half busy designing a tabletop thingy. Just catching glances and peeks, really. It was really good! I learned a lot." Figured she'd missed the primary point of the video. Half the dirty jokes had probably slipped right through the cracks, suffusing into the drainage of her brain as mere odd prose. "I asked Asimah to try the look on me but she was really hesitant about it for some reason. She did say you were cute though. When she watched the video. I mean." An idle hand began picking at her eyes because of a sudden itch, smears of black stenciled themselves over the milk of her fingers while she gouged at her own lashes. She'd probably tried to apply mascara but failed to actually get the correct shaping and volume necessary to make her eyelashes look any different. At least it hadn't been colored, heaven knew what sort of Chernobyl-level fashion disaster would have resulted from that.

Irene shrugged when Noah began speaking back in earnest. "To be honest I'm not. I don't think there's much of a comedy scene in this town." Despite the potential at the subtle dig that was almost undoubtedly a genuine sentiment. Just an Irene thing, to drop bombs without even realizing it. "I dunno, I've never been good with 'funny' things and 'funny' people. All those video game guys with the huge YouTube channels, I don't really get it, you know?" She glanced around at the gathered crowd, hidden in the thick of the restaurant's smoky darkness and cheesy punchlines. "I just wanted to go out for a bit before I did... uh... something later. Maybe get up to speed on Mrs. Webber's Tolstoy project, if I didn't leave it at school like I'm beginning to suspect I did." Wait, did Noah actually share any teachers with her? She was positive she hadn't seen him in a single class this year- probably a good thing- but maybe he had a teacher she also had in a later period or something.

"Who's on your sched. this year?" She'd cut schedule short so it sounded like 'sked'. Saved microseconds at best, but it was time well saved in her honest and humble opinion.
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Noah smirked when Irene told him she watched the makeup tutorial video. It wasn't often Noah was told that people watched his videos. He knew people in school knew about it, but usually they'd only mention a single joke they thought was funny or ask him a question about it. To hear someone praise the video was something he wasn't entirely used to hearing, but was still flattering. Noah did have to prevent himself from bursting out laughing when Irene said she learned a lot and wanted to try the look.

"Yeah, Asimah might have been on to something," Noah said. "You really only should try the look if you're short on cash and need a place to spend the night. I'm glad she thinks I'm cute, at least. Tell her I said thanks for that."

Noah nodded along with Irene's comments about the comedy scene and YouTube gamers before she started asking about his class schedule.

"Uh, nothing special," Noah said. "Just a lot of senior level classes. I've already sent my college apps out, so it's mostly about surviving the last part of the year."

"And yeah, comedy is strange here. If you can't get internet famous, you got to bail out. Go where there's real humor and a community to support it."
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"She usually is," Irene waved a hand dismissively. Having lived in the long-reaching shadow of her sister for two years that weren't nearly as much of a trial as she'd hyped them up to be in her head, Irene was notably quick to redirect whenever the elder Djezari was in danger of becoming the main topic of a rant. "Although I dunno what you mean with the bit about spending the night. As long as you've got a friend on dial, right?" The resounding woosh of air was Irene's having missed the laughably easy two-pointer. "But I'll tell her, don't worry." Said with especial nonchalance, with a certain bored sneer to her lower lip, so Irene would likely forget. But the sentiment definitely would have been appreciated if not for the fickleness of the messenger.

"I mean, that doesn't tell me a lot Noah! I also have senior level classes and all." Off the top of her head she was ahead of the curve in both science and math due to how those classes worked in Cochise. "Where did you apply? Most applications are confirmed sometime in the next two months or so, right?" What was the date, even? Irene could lose track of fairly large stretches of time if not routinely reminded via digital aid. Last thing she could remember with any temporal clarity was getting almost literal wads of cash for Christmas, the remnants of which were her current pocket warmer. Oh, that reminded her:

"How much was your potato thingy?"
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Noah tried to cover his mouth when Irene made a comment about having a friend if you need a place to spend the night. He didn't want her to see him smirking. He figured he could do it naturally if it looked like he was quickly brushing his hand over his lip and rubbed the bottom of his nose. She didn't get the joke, and part of him thought it was cute. He could let her toil in the innocence of not knowing what he was implying.

Eh, she'd probably never try the Pina Bucket look. She looks well off. She doesn't need to turn tricks to find a place to spend the night.

Irene wanted more clarity on what classes he was taking, along with what colleges he applied to and how much the potato skins cost.

"Well, for the skins, it was an appetizer, so it was only about $4.50. They're not bad, but I've had better."

"I've been looking at a few good urban universities. UNLV is my top choice at the moment. I've also applied for UCLA, USC, and USF. Really, I'm just aiming for a business school in a large city. Something where I can get a good education but also take advantage of the city's opportunities for comedy and performing."

"Until then, it's just dawdling through classes with Mrs. Brown, Mr. Dukoff, and Mrs. Webber. In short, classes that force me to stifle any sort of fun or personality out of fear of getting reprimanded. But I'll survive. I made it through 11 and a half years of public education, so this won't be so bad."

Noah's attention was brought back to the stage. Comedy Dad was done, and it looked like some plain-looking woman was next to perform.

"Oh, I think I'm on after Janeane Garofolo here."
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"Gesundheit." Irene's trigger-happy brain read Noah's impulsive hand-to-mouth as an impending cough and the rest was history. To say nothing of how horrifically she'd butchered the German. 'Ges on date' may have made more sense in a conversation discussing the romantic history of a hypothetical character named Ges but here it was left wanting for context. "Seriously though. But, maybe if I looked like that I'd get people to let me into their houses even harder than they normally would. Mmm... If Asimah won't help me do it maybe I could figure it out myself. How hard could it possibly be?" Uh-oh. The seeds of something horrible had probably been planted, germinating their corrupting tendrils into the depths of the Djezarian gray matter. Inception, only with a far less attractive lead the way things were shaping up.

Irene had a brief coughing fit, this one legit. Lasagna too dry and spicy. Hey, if the appetizers were that cheap maybe she could get the taste of over-processed mozzarella out of her mouth. As much as that didn't solve the coughing problem.

"I- cough- oh, huh." Irene actually wasn't too up to date on her collage game. Too far in the future for the oblivious little Junior girl. All she knew was the obvious culprit Ivy Leagues and that Texas A and M had apparently made a good showing in the collegiate League circuit last year. Maybe she'd have more of a solid idea when this year's tourney was over and done with. "I guess UCLA is always a good one if you can get into it? You could try to get noticed in the big shot clubs and all." As much of a sore history as she'd had with Noah she couldn't deny he was pretty damn funny. Just in a way that sometimes made her feel guilty for laughing, when she remembered she had cause to.

"Oh okay, so you do have Webber too." She didn't have the other two mentioned, or at least the names rung none of Irene's poorly constructed bells. "Is she making Senior classes do the same thing as Juniors? T-B-H-" and here she actually spit out the letters of the slang for 'to be honest', "she really overdoes the discussion circles sometimes, doesn't she? I swear half of any given class doesn't actually have much to say for a selected passage. Like, reading too much into it or whatever." But she'd had this argument before, often vehemently and not too rarely with the teacher herself, and she knew where it led. That fact had just, for the moment, conveniently slipped her mind.

"Oh, you're next? 'Kay, get ready to break legs." This was going to be interesting. She'd never actually seen Noah live before. She had to imagine it would be different from playing his YouTube videos in the background while making a mess out of her room or whatever.
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"Yeah, UCLA is cool, but I personally would hope I get into Vegas. It just seems a little more eclectic and up my alley. Plus, it's near my dad and my half-sister, so it'll be good to see them more often."

"As for Webber, I dunno, I kind of like discussion circles," Noah said. "Personally, it's when I get to be a little more open and critical. Granted, I'm prone to making fun of whatever's really dumb, but I think discussions are good for pointing out what works and what doesn't. It's kind of like comedy, since we're making light of serious issues. I mean, I once argued that the moral of Hamlet was 'Stay in school' since he chose not to go back to college and eight people died as a result. Likewise, I thought 1984's world was merely how one disgruntled office worker viewed the world and wasn't actually a dystopia."

Noah chuckled. Maybe Mrs. Webber didn't like it, but he was fond of hilarious interpretations and derailing of literary subjects. He thought it added to the text and allowed for a deeper understanding of the material.

Irene asked him if he was next. Noah had barely been paying attention to the comic on stage.

"Yeah. I prepared a short routine for the crowd at Cheryl's. I can't be as crazy as my YouTube channel, but I think I have something good planned."
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"Huh, I see." She didn't, really. She had a typically teen outlook on the family and parentals, quantified as 'eh'. In a happy household the priority of it's coddled baby was to escape, to taste freedom even when she struggled with doing her own laundry. 'Which setting does what?' and all that jazz. An petty case of analysis paralysis, which was perhaps curable with liberal application of a cold wash cycle to the face. "Well Vegas also has the clubs and all so that's cool I guess? I mean it does have the clubs, I know, I've been there. I haven't actually seen UNLV though, isn't it off the strip? I mean it's kinda funny to imagine a school where you can immediately find yourself in the XS VIP after you're done with Psych 101. Not like any typical college student could afford that, but still. You know."

At that point she called the bartender. He looked half ready to card her for her decidedly not-21 appearance, but she clarified with no small amount of gratuitous English that all she wanted was a basket of potato skins.

"Huh, really?" She had to giggle, that was actually a pretty good way of looking at it, in a sense. Maybe she should also give Tolstoy a piece of her rambunctious mind... but ugh, she'd probably get marked down for that. No way she was letting her perfect GPA slip now. "What do you do for the essays then? Do you also write like that for them or do you take it more seriously for the grade? I mean I could see it for 1984 but Mrs. Webber would probably kill anyone who tried that sort of thing on Hamlet. Just skin them alive right in front of the class with her red pen of doom." A monotonous laugh from the crowd punctuated her response. Didn't seem like the person currently on was being well received. Irene couldn't even be assed to glance over and give the anonymous voice a pronoun.

"Huh, so it's not gonna be as kinda awkward and offensive for a change, sounds good." That was the slip everyone's breath had been held for.
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"Yeah, it's not too far from the strip," Noah said. "If anything, I'll at least never get bored while I'm there."

Noah chuckled at Irene's notion of Mrs. Webber skinning people in class for poor writing. Whenever Noah's fantasies turned towards the macabre, he usually imagined it in a weird, loosely animated fashion.

"Nah, I'm usually serious about essays. Sure, I can argue a strange point, but I try to keep it grounded. After all, it's for maintaining a GPA. If I wanted to really spin off a weird-ass interpretation of classic literature, I can take it to the internet. Now, that doesn't mean I won't sneak in some humorous criticism, but I try to stay sane for most of it."

Noah took a quick sip of his drink. Irene looked to be ordering potato skins too. She also said that his stand-up at Cheryl's wouldn't be awkward or offensive for a change. Noah smirked and raised his eyebrows at that. What was that about? For someone who thought looking like a $3 whore was a cute makeup look, did Irene suddenly think he was awkward and offensive?

Nah, she's probably just being dumb and using the wrong adjectives. Still, I can work with this.

"When am I ever not awkward and offensive?" he asked, a slight sarcastic tone to his voice; the kind of tone that blended self-deprecation and slight annoyance. "I mean, if it worked for Woody Allen, why couldn't it work for me?"

God, I hope that's not too patrician a joke.
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Irene listened, while speedy fingers began to pick at her potatoes when they arrived. Ugh. Pretty good, just the right amount of finger slicking grease for flavor, but the state of Irene's dry throat continued to deteriorate, and she liberally coughed between swallows of starch. The lightness of her wheezing failed to communicate the extent of her tracheal agony, she felt like she'd swallowed a mass of jagged metal shards. Only sunk cost fallacy kept her going at the food.

Hm. Why was he smiling at her like that? Irene felt like she'd missed something, but as usual she brushed aside the errant thought of her own mortality.

"Most of the time you're cool, I'm not going to lie. And, I mean, I wouldn't say you're not funny. Just. You know." Irene made a vague motion above her head, some rogue hybrid between an Italian-esque stereotype and a salute to the Third Reich. As if that in anyway clarified what she hadn't said. She figured Noah knew as well as she did, that she was still on some level on his case for his perceived lack of tact concerning the LGBTQQIABCDwhatever. "And I dunno who Woody Allen is so that ref was lost on me, sorrys." Irene's brain briefly churned for any sort of last second recognition of the name before giving up with requisite pathetic farting nose. While she watched a lot of media she usually didn't memorize the names of the actors and talents behind the things she enjoyed, it didn't have the same sort of impact on her.

Another cough, this one nearly including a free sampling of Irene's prior meals, so violent it was. "J-jeez. I'm somehow killing myself here." She gagged back another hacking with a body-wide tremble, a queasy look of disgust etched into her half-open mouth. "Yo! Water!" She flagged down the bartender again, and kept the words coming while she continued to wrestle with the scourges of inflammation for control of her airways. "You- you're next then? What are you gonna be giving the audience today?"
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Oh great. She's a pleb.

Noah continued to smirk as Irene stumbled over her answer. Not only did she not know who Woody Allen was, but she lost the ability to form sentences and explain her point. Noah knew he'd have to be careful around Irene. This girl had, in the past, given him lip for the characters he played and the implications that came from them. Of course, he wasn't stupid enough to intentionally offend anyone (without at least trying to be funny in the process), and even he knew to take a step back and assess whether or not the jokes he made could be taken the wrong way.

Even with that, he still didn't want a drink thrown in his face or for Irene to heckle him, so he wanted to at least slip in some shade without casting too much of a shadow.

Luckily, Irene was making it easy for him to have time to process what to say to her. The potato skin didn't seem to go down easily, and now she was calling for water. Noah stayed quiet, waiting for Irene to give him a proper response that wouldn't result in bacon bits being spat in his face.

"Oh, something a little more easily consumable than Woody Allen and those potato skins. Don't worry, I've assessed the audience, and I think I've got something they would like."

Before Noah could explain more, a roar of applause had come over the audience. The person on stage walked off and the host of the event stepped up. He called out for Noah to come onto the stage and perform. Noah let out a small cheer.

"Well, at least now I'll find out if they like it," he said to Irene. "Don't touch my skins."

Noah hopped out of his seat and made his way to the stage. He had all his jokes planned and memorized, so as long as he didn't blank, he'd be fine. But still, part of him was thinking of throwing in a bit of improv now that he had some words with Irene. He'd figure that out once he got to the stage.
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Noah's grin prodded, teased. Irene was in pain, and thus highly predisposed to making an ass of herself. More than usual, that was. The struggle to maintain homeostasis was top priority though, and she couldn't really lay into Noah like she wanted to. The mental barrage was unrelenting though, and she managed an evil eye even as her eyes slightly watered. Sort of a half grimace, slightly bloodshot glare that frequently blinked out of existence to shove back runny tears. 'Fuckin' dork, 1 v 1 me mate'. Her thoughts weren't especially coherent, but they went something along those lines.

"Oh, something a little more easily consumable than Woody Allen and those potato skins."

Irene recognized that was kinda funny and laughed despite herself. Hey, could you blame a girl for being naturally giggly? The giggling made it hard to choke her water down, and Irene lost herself for a few moments. In the music the moment she owned it, and she would never let it go. As much as she was struggling to keep a hold on the glass. She was choking how. And everyone was joking now.

But bad mojo did as it was wont when Irene was suffering, and all returned to her usual vibe. She'd managed to hydrate her throat, and already her pain was forgotten and she was shoving down more potatoes as if they hadn't been her personal hell moments prior. Her aggravation with Noah was already forgotten, and she was now eager to see what he had. Almost as eager as she was to get this junk in her belly, man she was blitzing the starches into oblivion. She spared a moment to clap as the rest of the crowd did as Noah made his way on stage, ignoring how sticky her fingers now felt as mini grease traps.
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Noah placed himself in front of the mic stand on the tiny stage the Cheryl's team had erected for shows and concerts. It wasn't like the Seinfeld club, but Noah did kind of feel like a star. Everyone from the toddlers with faces covered in marinara to the old ladies eating corn soup was looking at him. His eyes briefly darted towards Irene before going back to the vague central area the stage directed him towards. He removed the microphone from the stand. He was going to move around a bit, so he wanted to be able to carry the mic with him.

"Hiiiiii!" he began, giving a large smile and waving at the audience.

"My name is Noah Whitley, I just turned 18-oh!"

A bunch of people in the audience began to cheer at that comment. Noah was surprised, but at least glad they believed his age. He didn't need his fake ID to perform here, so it was okay that he was still slightly baby-faced.

"Wow. I didn't know being 18 was so impressive to you guys," he commented.

"But yeah, it is surprising being so young and trying to perform at a restaurant for an audience of at least ten stay-at-home moms and at least three waiters who know exactly who in the crowd will under tip them tonight. You must be wondering how I'm staying so calm and collected during this. Well it's easy: comedy isn't scary, being a teenager in 2015 is."

Noah's smile disappeared and was replaced by an exaggerated face of worry. He returned it to normal to continue the bit.

"I'm not joking. Compared to traversing the asbestos-ridden halls of my high school, doing stand-up comedy is like being able to compete in the Tour de France with training wheels on. Being a high schooler these days is like doing the Tour de France in the world of Mad Max. Seriously, it's post-apocalyptic. Everyone looks at you as a threat, basic resources are scarce or unsafe for consumption, and at least half the people in your class have considered running someone over with their car. In my case, I haven't gotten on the nerves of too many people, but I've got fresh tire marks on my back telling me I should have lent my classmate a spare mechanical pencil during yesterday's math test."

Noah let out a small chuckle, using the chance to catch his breath and swallow. It also allowed for a chance to the audience to laugh if they found anything funny.

"School for my generation is much more difficult to get through than for my parents or my grandparents. I think the main reason is that, thanks to the Internet and social media, we're able to see more people going through the same issues and struggles as we are. We find more people to sympathize with, to relate to, and who can share with our cynicism in our lives. Before, you could just go to the DMV to see people who were miserable 24/7, but now you don't even have to leave your house."

Noah left a pause after that joke so the audience could laugh or react. He had a lot more jokes to tell, so he hoped he could keep the momentum going.
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