"Comedians, my God. What a way to make a living, am I right, folks?" the comic addresses his silent, inert audience. They stare back at him with stoic faces, wordless and frigid. Breaking out in a cold sweat, Nico wipes the beads trickling down across the worry lines of his forehead. His other hand crushes his bottle of vitamin water in order to help him calm his nerves. "Is this an audience or a buncha librarians?" he asks, letting out a nervous titter. The grip on his water bottle tightens, however the action does little to calm his nerves.
Think on your feet, Nico, he urges himself on as he runs a sweaty hand through his fiery mane. "So…Did you hear about the guy who had his whole left side chopped off?" he pauses, for dramatic effect of course. "Well, he's all-right, now! Ba dum TISH!" Nico chuckles uneasily, wonder why the heck he decided to add a vocalized sting at the end of his joke. He shifts his weight from one leg to the other, not receiving so much as a cough from the small crowd before him. He moves himself closer to the mic stand, "Is this thing on?" He taps the microphone, scrunching up his face in displeasure at the sound of the feedback.
"Alright, so you heard that one already, huh? Okay, here's one I'm sure you all will enjoy. What is the definition of a will?" a few members of the small audience shift around a bit – perhaps actually enticed? "It's a dead giveaway. Enh? Enh?" he holds out his hands, palms facing up, hoping to get even the slightest snicker out of at least one of them. Their reticence is enough of a suggestion for him to figure that he should proceed.
"C'mon guys, I'm dying up here!" he hollers. A few individuals, at last, let out some quiet chuckles. This does little to alleviate Nico. That wasn't meant to be a joke. His face feels numb, a sense of dread washing over him. His fright clear as he shakily pulls the mic off of the stand, he holds it close to himself as if it would somehow protect him. "So…Do you know what the death rate is around here?" he asks, gazing around the room. "One per person," he smiles anxiously, jumping soon after at the sound of cackling coming from a few more members of his audience. Good, it's working, he perceives. His water bottle slips out of his moist hand and hits the stage with a single bounce before it rolls away from him.
Nico gathers that morbid jokes may be more their style. Why does this not surprise me?, he wonders. "Why are cemeteries fenced up?" he asks the audience, gripping the microphone tighter. He sucks in a deep breath, then exhales slowly before continuing. "Because people are just dying to get in," he finishes off. More howling laughter is heard the viewers. The apathetic individual sitting up front, however, had yet to even muster up a smirk. Nico looks over at the clock hanging on the wall across the room. Although quite hard to read from where he is, he makes out that the time is just a bit after 11:55. I have to think of a great one – and fast,he urges himself on – focusing his attention at the audience member up front. His grip on the mic stiffens before he proceeds, "A man sits on an electric chair as his executioner states 'look, man, I'm sorry but I have to throw the switch.'. The man replies, 'do me a favor and throw it out the window!'" Nico shuts his eyes, as he wouldn't dare see the look upon the face of his greatest critic. Soft laughter flows into his ears in a cold gust of breath, causing him to jump – startled by the sudden presence of another next to him. The individual up front has shifted onto the stage, looming over him with It's great height.
"You laughed. That's good, right?" Nico utters, his knees feeling weaker by the second, as if gravity had started pulling harder at him, trying to suck him in through the floorboards. "D-d-d-does this mean I get a second chance?" he stutters, refusing to gaze up into the hollow sockets of the creature scrutinizing him.
"Yeeehsss, and no," It hisses breathily, closing in on the comic. Nico's eyes glaze over at the realization.
"You're going to take me anyway?" Nico whimpers, squeezing his eyes shut tight. "We had a deal, Grim."
"Has no one ever told you not to play with death, Nico?" his pursuer's raspy voice responds, as It pulls It's sickled blade out from within It's dark cloak.
"Why are you doing this?" Nico cries out, his knees buckling and his legs collapsing onto the ground. "Why can't you just let me go? I promise, no more offensive jokes!" Tears flood out of his eyes in an effort to gain some sympathy. The reaper gently runs his boney fingers through Nico's crimson locks.
"It'sss nothing persssonal, Nico. Jussst what I do for a living."