Behind the Scenes: Thug’s Night Off


Sweetness and I spend far too much time improvising various theater scenes, characters, and plays.  One of our least effective, but very funny skits was a clown routine involving a gay yoga instructor, Tristan, and a mob capo, named Joe Gianni. It’s a very silly skit.  For example, Joe doesn’t understand why vegans exist in this world (or how to pronounce the word), Tristan using the power of retail diagrams turns their Family into the most powerful in the city, mostly because the Don has dementia and thinks Tristan is his dead wife.

Here’s a sample of the dialogue:

Tristan: I’m performing an inventory to reduce Shrinkage.

Joe: Shrinkage? What the hell is that?

Tristan: Oh… it’s a retail word. It’s basically theft.

Joe: Theft?

Tristan: Basically

Joe: Basically theft?

Tristan: Yeah.

Joe: So why didn’t you just fuckin’ say theft?

Tristan: Because it’s…

Joe: Like if someone goes up to one of my drug dealers and shoots him and steals all his product. I’m not gonna call that something different. It’s fucking theft.

Tristan: Fine an inventory reduces fucking theft.

Joe: Are you mocking me?

Tristan: No. I was being sardonic.

Joe: Sardonic? Sar-fucking-donic? Do you know what I do to sar-fucking-donic hipsters, like you? I bend them into my favorite yoga position, which is horseshoe, then I kick them across the street so that they swing around that streetlamp with my shoe dangling from their hippy ass.

Tristan: That was oddly specific.

Joe: This inventory thing is a waste of my time.

Tristan: No it’s not. Shrink also accounts for free give-aways and employee discounts-

Joe: Free give-aways?  What are you saying? My boys are smoking the coffee?

Tristan: No, but some of my girls drink the coffee… the real coffee. Or put out too much milk and it goes bad, or drop a cookie. So not theft, but a disappearance of product without it being paid for.

Joe: If any of my product disappeared without it being paid for, there would be hell to pay.

Tristan: Oh yeah? How do you know?

Joe: What?

Tristan: If you don’t keep inventory how do you know how much of your product has been sold and how much has disappeared?

Joe: *takes a breath to answer then can’t…* I… I just do.

Tristan: You should keep inventory. You’d be amazed at your shrink. Business 101.

Joe: I don’t have any shrink.

Tristan: Johnny is standing on the corner selling his weed.  A pretty girl comes up and wants to buy.  Does he give her more because she’s pretty?  Does he bring a little to his friends so they can get high? Does he short change that asshole he doesn’t like?

Joe: Vinny, who’s this Johnny fucker stealing my drugs?

You get the idea.

One of the things that most tickled my funny bone, was Tristan’s burgeoning relationship with Vinny, the  big dumb soldier, who has a dream of becoming a masseuse and is very gentle with cavity searches. One evening, the tickle found it’s logical way out of my system and I wrote down this story.


I’m not as campy as I used to be.  I had written it about 15,000 words longer and included an actual first date, the sex in the backroom that leads to the first date, the continuation of the story from this point, etc. But the tone was all over the place. Sometimes, Tristan was in legitimate danger of being killed (by Vinny at Joe’s request) and other times there were ridiculous conversations like the one above. In the end, I hammered out the little story you see on the site and put the rest of that material in the proverbial storage shed with the hopes that one day my flash and camp will mature into something usable.

It worked with Evasive Love.

Thug's Night Off cover

You can read it here.


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