That night, at a standup comedy open mic, in front of the local veterans and misguided dabblers, he stood up. He said the words he’d practiced.
He wrapped his hands around the microphone so the audience wouldn’t see them shaking, he was all smiles and white knuckles.
He couldn’t hear the laughter over his heartbeat, but he hoped it was there. His mind raced and his tongue struggled to keep up.
He only stumbled twice, but tried to recover gracefully, to pretend it didn’t happen, like it was all going as planned. Once finished, he couldn’t wait to go again.