"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper which should have been gold, are a token of honor -- your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money." ~ Ayn Rand
Minerva, Chapter 41
'Hey, do you know if Jennifer Heyden is working tonight?' Matt asked the pretty waitress as she brought his drink.
'Sorry, don't know her,' she replied.
Matt gulped from his beer. He had done nothing but drink and snort since the others had left the night before.
'So what's up with this blockade?' the comic asked from the stage. 'I mean, I can buy a lobster dinner, but I can't afford a table to eat it off of.'
A few people chuckled. Matt could not believe the shit that passed for funny these days.
'And what's the deal with Steven Peckard?' the comic asked. 'Do you guys trust this cat? I keep waiting for him to start breeding mutant lobsters.'
'We should send you over to hurt their morale,' Matt yelled. A few people laughed.
'Uh oh, we've got a heckler,' the comic announced.
'Sure ain't got talent,' Matt informed him.
'You don't think I'm funny?' the comic asked, stalling. It was hard to see with the glare, but unfortunately the heckler appeared quite good-looking.
'I think you fucking suck,' Matt said.
'You kiss your mother with that mouth?' the comic asked.
'Yeah . . . and I sodomize yours with this dick,' Matt yelled, squeezing his crotch. The comic obviously had no idea who he was dealing with. The entire crowd now faced Matt.
'I suppose you think you can come up here and do a better job?' the comic asked.
Matt looked over the staring crowd. Even though he tried to convince himself that they would enjoy his commentary much more than the joker currently up there, he still felt petrified. Fuck it.
Just think Sinatra, Matt thought as he headed for the stage.
* * *
'So where's your Dad been?' Jim asked as he and Dan stepped onto the new ship, the Emily St. Pierre.
'He hasn't left the apartment since he got back from the States,' Dan answered. 'He's afraid he'll get lynched.'
'Yeah,' Jim said. 'Well, I guess he had to do it for you.'
'No he didn't,' Dan said. 'Linda'that's the girl'dropped the charge on her own. And I could've gotten out of the country the same way Matt did. I don't know what the hell he was thinking.'
'Oh,' Jim said. 'So what are you up to now?'
'I don't know,' Dan said. 'I wanna get the hell away from home, that's for sure.'
'I hear ya,' Jim said. 'Heh, look at that.'
Jim pulled back a loose panel from the wall.
'I bet it would be real easy for a stowaway to hide in there,' he commented.
Jim slid the panel back, and he and Dan continued their tour.
* * *
The audience roared, including the scheduled comic. Some even had tears streaming down their cheeks. I knew I could do this shit. Just give me a fuckin chance.
'Mister,' Matt suddenly said to a man in the front row. 'Could you please get your date to stop undressing me with her eyes? There's a draft up here.'
As the crowd laughed, Matt's mind raced ahead to what he would say after the next impressions. He knew that during the bit, he wouldn't be able to think.
'So that was Madden announcing a golf tournament,' Matt reminded the crowd. He didn't want to overestimate them. 'Now here's two golf announcers doing the color commentary at the Superbowl . . . .'