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Never Trust a Stranger
On a crowded sidewalk in the middle of New York City, Charles Dinwell, a young, tall, slender man, walks vainly as all the ladies that walk pass stare in admiration of his handsome looks. Knowing the attention, he nods his head in approval to them, which makes them swoon. He then turns his gaze at the talent show audition flyer in his hand. I know I'm going to win this. There's no way that I can't. Everyone thinks I'm the best comedian around and I mean my looks can win all on their own. Charles thought as he vaguely looked at the piece of paper in his hand. Or maybe I won't. There's going to be a million other people and what if I'm not the best? What if I don't even get pass the first round of the contest? Just then a small explosion is heard. He follows the sound into a small, dark, gloomy alley way and sees a puff of smoke. He walks toward it cautiously. As the smoke clears, he kneels down and peers into a barred window near the ground. All of a sudden, a door next to the window cracks open. Charles stumbles back in surprise. A man dressed in a white lab coat and gray frizzy hair is barely visible from the dimly lit doorway.
"Who's there?" The man shouted out in a hastily way.
"It's just me down here sir." Charles said timidly.
"What's your name?" The man said as he glared down at Charles.
"My name is Charles Dinwell, sir." Charles said while getting up off of the ground. "And what's yours?"
"My name is Doctor Varley, but everyone just calls me Varley. What are you doing snooping around here?" Varley irritably asked Charles.
"I was just checking to see what that noise was and I heard it coming from here. I just wanted to make sure everything was alright." Charles said still timid by Varley.
"Well, don't you know any better not to be sneaking around where you shouldn't be?" Asked Varley.
"Yes sir. My sincerest apologies." Said Charles as he brushed himself off and started to walk away.
"Wait just a minute! What do you have there?!" Varley shouted as he pointed his scrawny finger out of the cracked doorway.
"It's an audition flyer to a talent contest. Why?" Charles asked confused.
"What's your talent, Charlie?" Varley asked inquisitively.
"I'm a comedian and please don't call me Charlie." Said Charles.
"Well, are you any good, Charlie?" Varley intrusively asked.
"It's Charles." Charles said agitated. "And everyone I know says I am."
"Do you want to be better?" Varley asked devilishly.
"I mean it doesn't hurt to be better." Charles said agreeing.
"Do you want to be the best?" Asked Varley with a diabolical smile.
"Well, doesn't everybody?" Charles replied.
"Of course, they do. You seem like a nice fellow Charlie and I think I can trust you with this information. How would you like to enhance your comedic self?" Varley asked intriguingly.
"How so?" Charles asked curiously after rolling his eyes at the name Charlie.
"It's simple, Charlie. Come here and I'll show you." Varley said as he opened the door wider.
Charles walks down a couple of steps into a dimly lit basement as Varley looks around outside to make sure no one else is around before hurriedly shutting the door. Inside the tiny damp space are beakers and tubing all over with bubbling liquid coming from each one. Charles walks around curious yet cautious as he peers into each beaker. He then sees a closed glass cabinet with an array of vials each with a different colored liquid.
"What's all of this?" Charles asked looking about the room.
"Different potions for different things. Anyway, you said you wanted to be the best, right?" Varley asked.
"Yes, sort of, why?" Charles asked confused.
"Because, I have something special for you, Charlie." Varley opens up his cabinet of vials and takes one out filled with an orangish brown liquid. "This here will make you better at your comedies, make audiences laugh uncontrollably, and judges will admire you for decades." Varley said as he started to hand the vial to Charles persuading him to take it.
"At what cost?" Charles said unsure as he hesitated whether or not to take the vial.
"Good question, Charlie. Since you are so nice and were kind enough to check on things." Said Varley. And I need a test subject. Varley thought. "It's free!" Varley said excitedly.
"Free? Well, then I'll take it as long as it won't kill me." Charles said with a smirk.
"I promise it won't kill you but I can't guarantee there won't be some side effects including heart burn, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, dry eyes, mood swings and some physical changes that may or may not be permanent." Varley said so fast that Charles couldn't really understand what he was saying. "But you'll be fine." Said Varley reassuringly.
"Alright. Well, here goes nothing." Charles nervously said.
Charles opens the vial slowly with his shaking hands as Varley stares in anticipation. Then, Charles puts the vial up to his lips and waits unsure of whether or not to take the unknown substance. All of sudden, he takes one giant swig of the orangish brown liquid and stands there anxiously waiting for something to happen but nothing does. Well, nothing happened. I guess I'm fine. Charles thought. Then, glancing at his watch. But look at the time! I'm going to be late. He hurriedly gave the vial back to Varley.
"Thank you, Doctor Varley." Charles said as he rushes out the door.
"You're welcome, Charlie!" Varley shouted then smiles mischievously at the vial in his hand.
As Charles runs down the crowded sidewalk, he does not notice the alarming glances looking his way. A little out of breath, he finally reaches the audition studio. Inside the large fancy building, he sees rows of people with numbers on their shirts practicing their talents. He stumbles over in awe to the sign in table and gives a lady there his name as well as the talent he will be doing. Once his number is attached to him, he tries to find a seat while he waits for his number to be called. As he is walking away to find a seat, he hears the murmured talking and laughing of the two ladies from the sign in table but is too distracted by his thoughts to think anything of it. Man, this competition is going to be tough. Charles thought as he looked around at all of the acts. Just then, his number is called. Alright, here goes nothing. He thought as he was directed to the stage.
"Charles Dinwell? Just stand right in the middle of the stage and the judges will take it from there." The stage director said.
Charles nodded his head in acknowledgement. He then stands in the middle of the stage nervously waiting for the judges to say something but they just stare at him for a few seconds with wide eyes then whisper among themselves.
"Hello, what's your name?" An older male judge with glasses on the right asks cutting into the silence.
"My name is Charles Dinwell." Charles said with his voice shaking.
"Okay Charles and what are you going to perform for us today?" A female judge around her mid-thirties in the middle asked.
"I'm a comedian." Charles said slowly beginning to loosen up.
"Alright, well go on right ahead and hit us with your best jokes." A young male judge with huge muscles on the left said.
"What do you call a donkey with one leg?" Charles asks and then waits to continue. "A wonkey donkey." The audience chuckles as smiles are seen on the judges' faces.
"What did the donkey do when he got cut-off?" Charles asks and then waits a few minutes before replying. "Hee-Hawnked."
The audience erupts in laughter as the judges finally begin to laugh. Charles then notices how accurate that hee-haw was when before he was never able to do such an impression. Then the more he thought about it the more he realized that all of his jokes were about donkeys. Why donkeys? Out of everything I could have come up with, I pick donkeys? Charles thought confused. Charles then snaps out of thought and realizes every audience member is standing applauding him.
"Okay, okay. I think we have a winner here today." The young male judge on the left said.
"Yes, I agree. I mean the jokes weren't so funny, but that costume is hilarious." The female judge in the middle said agreeing with the young male judge on the left.
"Wait, costume?" Charles asked confused.
"Yes, your costume, it's amazingly accurate." The older male judge on the right replies.
Charles then looks down at his body which is covered on brown fur and his feet are now hooves along with his hands. In a panic, he spins around in order to see a tail, which to his shock, he does. Charles then stands there in complete shock unable to move as the audience and judges laugh uncontrollably. He then sees Doctor Varley out of the corner of his eye sitting in the right section in the front row. Then, Varley holds up a hand mirror so Charles could see his own face. That crazy old coot turned me into a jackass. Charles thought as he saw a reflection of a donkey looking back at him.