Pundit: An Extract
Pundit: Chapter 11
An Extract from Freedom’s newly published first novel
Below she kindly shares with us an extract from Chapter 11 of Pundit. But first she sets the scene.
K Johnson owns the Polaris, Toronto’s largest comedy club. Every night the comics who work there put on a killer show; everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Then the house lights come up and the façade is gone. For five years K has lost his bid to host the Sweetwater Comedy Festival to repugnant has-been television icon with a penchant for young male aides, Dickie Craig, and he can’t understand why.
In Chapter 11, Dickie Craig has invited get K’s top comic, Lisse Bergen, the smart-mouthed, glass-closeted comedienne who’s been with K since the beginning, to lunch at the city’s poshest restaurant. Lisse joins Dickie out of mild curiosity; lunch at the Four Seasons is not a privilege she affords often.
“The Four Seasons? I’m impressed,” Lisse said, as Dickie Craig pulled out her chair.
“I was afraid you weren’t gonna show,” he said, returning to his seat.
“The food’s great here.”
“ A toast then,” Dickie said, raising his glass.
“What are we toasting?” Lisse asked.
“Always a good thing to toast,” Lisse smiled, sipping her martini. “Hmm. Good stuff.”
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you,” Dickie said.
“Getting right to the point, I see? Jeez, Dickie, you never heard of foreplay?”
“What? Oh, fuck. You kill me,” He laughed too loud, drawing unwanted stares from the other patrons.
“Take it down a notch,” Lisse reprimanded as she placed the cloth napkin across her lap.
“They don’t fucking care, so long as I tip big. And I do.”
“Classy,” Lisse rolled her eyes.
“So…” Dickie started again.
“At least let me order,” Lisse deflected.
“I ordered already. Got you the fish. You chicks are always watching your weight.”
“Such a gentleman.” She pulled an olive from the toothpick and popped it into her mouth.
“Now, can I talk about why I brought you here?” Dickie asked.
“I can’t think of a single reason to delay you,” Lisse smirked.
“Great.” He drank his glass of champagne, and poured another before a waiter could get to the table to assist him. “They’re always sucking up to get a better tip,” Dickie declared, loud enough for most of the wait staff to overhear.
“I’m not with him. I’m just here for the food,” she said, as their waiter served the steamed
Hong Kong-style salmon with jasmine rice that Dickie had ordered for her. The waiter gave a knowing smile. He started to gather Dickie’s order from the busser, but Dickie reached past him and grabbed the plate himself. He dismissed the waiter with a wave of his hand.
“So, I got this show going up. Next month. And I want you to headline.”
“Ah, there it is.”
“What the fuck is wrong with that. I’m gonna pay you. More than that half-breed.”
“Insulting my friends won’t endear you to me.”
“I work for K, Dickie. You know that. I don’t do outside shows.”
“That’s the point. It’d be fucking awesome to have you do the show, because you don’t do outside gigs. It’d have real value.”
“Well, thanks, but I’ll pass.”
“Wait up. You don’t even know the show. It’s right up your alley.”
“I don’t do outside shows. I’m under contract.” She picked at her salmon.
“That contract ain’t worth the toilet paper it’s written on. And you know it.”
“Okay then. I’m not interested.”
“But it’s all comics. You know, like you.”
Lisse stared at Dickie. “What do you mean, like me?”
Lisse coughed as she tried to swallow a mouthful of her martini.
“Oh come on, don’t get all politically correct here. This is me you’re talking to. And I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. Listen honey, I don’t care who you want to fuck, but if I can get a special show out of it I will. You know that. Thinking of calling it, Finger in the Dyke.” Dickie’s laughter boomed again. “Get it? D-y-k-e instead of D-i-k-e? Fucking brilliant if I do say so myself.”
Lisse stared, unable to speak.
“Didn’t know there was so many of yous around. Seems like the only funny women in the business are pussy-eaters.” Dickie shoved a forkful of pulled pork into his mouth. “Finger in the Dyke,” he muttered again, his mouth still full of food.
Pundit is available to purchase on Amazon.