The comedian was walking home on a cold January night. He noticed a few people sitting by a bonfire. The group must have been partying late and now they were wasted and had nowhere to go till daybreak. The couples could be identified as they shared shawls, wrapping them close like shrouds. A drunk girl who had been noticing the comedian, screamed, "I think I know you! Did you work at The Bar few years ago?"
The comedian nodded. "Now I remember," she said. "Man, your jokes are killer. Grim and witty!"
The artist smiled and bowed a little to accept the compliment.
"What's with the beard and rugged look? All of you are unhygienic, unemployed, desperate, broke engineers?" she continued to blabber. Her boyfriend nudged her quiet and apologized, "Don't mind. She's drunk!" The comedian waved it off, still smiling.
"What kind of a comedian are you? Tell us a joke!", another boy replied, lighting a cigarette from the bonfire.
"I used to do stand up comedy but I had to quit because I used to crack really dark jokes and did pranks that didn't go down well with people. They said I should rather crack those jokes to the dead. So I started working here as they had suggested. My wife, warm and caring always, didn't really like the idea initially but now she doesn't complain," he said, breaking into a sheepish grin.
"What's the joke?" the boyfriend asked. The girl was looking at the comedian with dreamy eyes now.
"If you all haven't noticed, I'm the caretaker of this crematorium. The bonfire you all are sitting around is my wife's funeral pyre. Even after she's gone, she's still warm and caring. Wouldn't you all agree?"
The group rose in unison. As the comedian started laughing, they left their belongings, threw the cigarette and scurried away to their cars. They were out of sight in no time. The artist picked up the cigarette and threw it in the bonfire.
His phone vibrated. It was a text from his wife, "WHAT KIND OF JOKE IS THIS! HOW LONG WILL YOUR PERFORMANCE GO ON? ARE YOU COMING HOME TONIGHT?"