Flash Fiction #110
“You haven’t done anything this morning, Benyo, except staring…” Muj says to his son.
“I’ve been working. I am working on my next joke.” Benyo says.
“I don’t know how to describe your life. You are 25. You live with your parents; you don’t contribute money; you don’t do house chores; you go to weird places to perform at night, for which you hardly get paid.” Muj says.
“I think your description is pretty accurate. That is a typical comedian’s life.” Benyo says.
“Well, comedy is for white people, isn’t it? We are …” Muj says
“There are black comedians, like …” Benyo says.
“OK, comedy is for white and black people, but not for Asians, who come to this world to suffer, not to laugh.” Muj says.
“There are Asian comedians, like Ronny Chieng, Russel Peters…” Benyo says.
“OK, only two make it, and the rest of 98 Asian comedians go starving. Why do you want to get into a business with 2% surviving rate?” Muj says.
“OK, Dad, I don’t want to continue this conversation. Your language–so biased and racist.” Benyo says.
“You want to shut me up with your fashionable correctness learned from your New York dungeon, don’t you?” Muj says.
“That’s not a dungeon. That’s a performance venue for fledgling artists.” Benyo says.
“You have no respect for your father. I didn’t struggle so many years just for this. I was a happy-go-lucky young man of Tanasia (a fictional island nation in Asia, a former British colony, population 7 million) thirty years ago, but I gave it all up to come to New Jersey with only $50 in my pocket. I struggled for thirty years, 363 days a year, 12 hours a day, in a dingy takeout restaurant. Finally I am happy to see that you graduate from college, but…” Muj says.
“If you only brought $50, you really didn’t have much to give up.” Benyo says.
“Look at you. This is the American way you’ve learned–always talking back and no respect for your elders. And this is not the worst. The worst is that you’ve learned this limitless American optimism…” Muj says.
“You will never understand. What’s the point of me talking with you?” Benyo says.
“I’ve had enough of your antics. Now your mom and I have made a decision for you. We think that you need to get married. That will help you settle down and learn how to be a responsible human being.” Muj says.
“Are you serious? I mean my college girlfriend left me a while ago.” Benyo says.
“I am not talking about American girls. Just look at you, living with your parents, no job, no income, no prospect. Which American girl will marry you? Listen, we are shipping you back to Tanasia. Your aunt sent a message yesterday to me that she just found a perfect girl for you in our hometown.” Muj says.
Benyo objects, but Muj insists; Benyo objects again, and Muj threatens to kick him out and cut his funding.
On second thought, Benyo agrees to his father’s plan. Benyo hasn’t had a vacation for a while and this might be the opportunity to travel, relax, see other people, and accumulate some comedic material.
So Benyo packs up his bag and flies to Tanasia. Little does he know what he’s getting himself into. He will not find love there, but he finds something that is quite beyond his wildest imagination.
(To Be Continued)