The Entertainers

by Adam Acidophilus

A convention of entertainers gathered in a faded seaside resort — one wet and miserable bank holiday weekend.

“Where is everybody?” remarked an aged juggler — finding the hotel rather empty.

“Train strike,” said the organiser.

“But I came on the train,” said the juggler.

“Erm … in the north,” said the organiser. “It’s much worse in the north. I let a few people know and so they’ve cancelled.

“Who’s cancelled?” asked the juggler.

“The musicians, obviously,” said the organiser. “The dancers, the contortionists, the acrobats and tumblers. The paper tearers, fire eaters, strongmen and women. The animal acts, of course. The puppeteers, conjurors, illusionists. Oh, and that bloke who does the shadows, with his hands, every year, is dead. Pity.”

A few other delegates drifted in that afternoon, as the wind and the rain grew stronger. “Bloody long walk from the station,” they complained.

“Well, I got a taxi,” the juggler quipped.

“Illegal,” said the organiser. “Local bylaw. They’re not allowed to pick up from the station. You were lucky you didn’t get caught.”

The weekend continued in much the same vein. The bar was closed due to a staff shortage. There were only sandwiches — the kitchen was closed due to a health notice. The rooms were unheated, there was no hot water, due to the unavailability of plumbers; and there were no chambermaids as the rest of the staff were on holiday.

The symposiums were under-attended as the printers had made so many errors in the programme; the lectures were inaudible due to the noise from an adjacent football ground. The big entertainment on the Saturday night was truncated due to a shortage of entertainers: just a little juggling, and a deaf old lady who played the piano.

On the Sunday morning it was decided, due to a power cut, to abandon the annual general meeting, the re-election of the chairman, the grand dinner and the awards ceremony. Instead the delegates paid their dues, had a whip round for the organiser — didn’t sing the entertainers’ anthem — and left.

And they caught their taxis (which were allowed to pick up anywhere) and their trains (which had never been on strike) and resolved never to bother again with such a conference.

And the organiser turned the power back on, re-lit the boiler, untied all the staff and ordered a slap up dinner. Then he had a long bath, a bottle of champagne, enjoyed his slap up dinner — and crowned himself Hypnotist of the Year.

Moral: Snap out of it.

© Adam Acidophilus 2017