Stand-up comic Dave Feener has a great rapport with his audience, so when his body is found maliciously stabbed a short distance away from The Laff Attak where he’s just performed, there seems to be no real motive for the brutal murder. A serial killer who does not think local comics are funny has just begun his rampage.
Constables Mike Borneo and Lissa Cassway along with detective Vince Vetters are racing to find the killer before he claims another victim. Was Feener just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Left with his wedding ring and his wallet, Feener’s body isn’t even cold when the killer strikes again—this time stabbing Phil Vetters, a comic known for his redneck shtick and the brother of detective Vince Vetters. Just as Vince vows revenge, the killer makes a fateful mistake when he stabs another comic and does not ensure his victim is dead before he leaves the crime scene.
The killer is a sicko, but not an idiot. He’s right under everyone’s noses and the anticipation of a righteous kill is all just part of the fun. Only time will tell if the killer will have the last laugh.
Prologue Present Day 2008 The glass slammed down on the bar. The barkeep filled the glass and passed it to the dude. “Good show” the bartender said, nodding to the comic on stage. “He’s okay, but I've seen much better,” the stranger replied. “You know comedy?” “I was comedy, years ago. Then I started my own club, hosted the best up-and-comers. I guided Carey, and Myers, on their way up. I was the Simon Cowell of the comedy world. I discovered more new talent than Cowell can shake his finger at.” “So what happened?” “I lost it, son. I lost my faith in humor. Too many bad things happened to accept that laughter can pull you through the worst. Sometimes it can be a curse.” The stranger looked up at the comic who was finishing his routine, before turning back to the bartender. “That kid probably does have talent. He could be destined for Last Comic Standing. The problem is I am just too jaded to see it.” “So what actually made you lose your vision?” The man took a sip of scotch, and said, “My wife died of cancer—a quick death. We didn’t see it coming. You'd think that would be enough for a guy to have to deal with...But then 5 years ago, some asshole lost his sense of humor, and all hell broke loose.” Summer 2003 Chapter 1 Back in the day An up-and-coming comic was just exiting The Laff Attak. The comedian usually left through the alley after his sets, usually two per night, 30 minutes per set. Like other wannabes, he worked two clubs per week whilst working part time at an upscale Coffee Emporium. This guy didn’t want to spend the rest of his career as a part-time Barista /Comic. Oh no, this dude had plans, he was going to be the Robin Williams for the next generation. Well, skip the 'Na-noo-Na-noo' bullshit that Robin had to tout, in his early years. In the meantime, bills had to be paid and the comic had a wife to support as well. Debbie worked as an insurance adjuster for a huge HMO management company. She technically supported him and his “hobby”. At least it was a marginally paying hobby. The young man walked around the corner down another alley, a supposed short cut on his way home. He feared nothing, although he would never have let Deb do this, day or night. Her argument was why should he? Did he think he was “Iron man” or something? The young dude lit up another smoke, a filthy habit and Deb hated it. Another reason she thought he might die young. She just didn’t get the part about a good smoke, after coming off stage. Comics had to be the worst chronic smokers. He had to do it here because once he stepped into the house, no more ciggies. He might as well smoke now ‘cause Deb wouldn’t let him smoke after sex. Smoking brought him back from the adrenaline high of being ‘on’. No matter what shit hit you throughout your day, you hit the stage running with a smile, ready to show the crowd the time of their miserable lives. He stood in the shadows taking a few pulls on the Camel, dropped it and ground it into the asphalt with the other discarded cigarette butts. Debbie, as much as he loved her, had her phobias. She was convinced that some guy would jump out of the shadows and knife him to death, when, in reality, the worst killers came wrapped in cellophane and cardboard. The next step he took into the alley was his last. A hand holding a butcher knife came out of nowhere. If this weren’t the end for real, he would have found a place in his act for the scenario. He felt the knife blade plunge into his stomach, and he went down on his knees, and then fell onto his back. “Fuck man, if you want my wallet, just ask.” Dave was gasping for air. “It’s not about the money, asshole. I just didn’t know how else to tell you……” “What?” Dave croaked weakly. The stranger grabbed the hilt of the knife, and yanked it out of his victims gut. He looked straight at him and said, “YOU JUST AIN’T FUNNY!” Then the killer slit the young man's throat.
Karen Vaughan is the author of the novel Dead on Arrival. She lives in Peterborough, Ontario, with her husband, Jim, and their two cats. Her hobbies include crafting and of course, enjoying the humor of stand-up comics.