A World Famous Celebrity
The first thing I like to do when I wake up is read about myself. Every
morning my personal assistant prepares a memo that details what articles my name
appears in – either as a lead or brief mention – and today, I see that:
My Sworn-enemy #1 is seeing my ex-lover #2.
My BFF (best-friend-forever) #2 is in a tiff because there's a new heiress
hogging the headlines.
Apartment above ex-lover #3 is available.
That's it: three mentions but not one lead. I take my eyes off the paper and
stare out of my freshly-cleaned bay window onto a clear sky above a sparkling ocean
and white sandy beach. I scream: “Fuuuuuck!” I scream it loud enough that my
Shitzu, Pinky, lets out a plaintive woof.
Foot steps grow from silent to muffled to thumping to a shuffled stopped at
my doorstep. It creaks open. “What?” My personal assistant.
“It's been like a week and nothing specifically about me!”
“Well, per your manager's instructions, you have been laying low, since you
only got out of rehab two weeks ago.”
“Then why aren't they writing about how good I'm doing?”
“A lots happening lately – What with that megastar couple adopting their
twentieth kid. Not to mention an ex-president divorcing his wife and hooking up
with a porn-star.”
“Enough excuses. Get my publicist!”
“Did that already. His people suggested stopping by the AA meeting to pick
up a thirty-day sobriety pin.”
“His people! Do me a favor and start looking for a publicist that let's me
speak directly to them.”
“Okay. Anything else?”
“Yeah, get the water ready for a shower. We can make the eleven o'clock
“Will, do.” My assistant leaves and the door creaks shut.
I crumple up the memo and throw it in the trash and storm over to my closet,
fuming at today's news. The only reason they make the papers is because of me. I
mean, like, who the fuck are they really anyway? The distant relative of some
long-dead tycoon and a wannabe DJ child of a long-forgotten crooner. They're
My attention shifts to a more pressing need – What to wear – and I scan a
closet that stretches a room deep with countless designer dresses, sexy shirts, and
hip pants. The choices and the options overwhelm me. Do I want to look sexy, but
reserved? Somber, but stunning? Eye-catching, but discrete? Tantalizing, but
mysterious? It's like really all too much. I scream: “Fuuuuuck!”
Foot steps grow from muffled to thumping to a shuffled stopped at my
doorstep. The door creaks. “What?” My assistant.
“Is the water running?”
“Okay pick me out something while I shower. All this deciding is giving me
a headache. Also let Pinky out for a bit, I think she needs to piss.”
The AA meeting takes place behind a coffee shop off a main boulevard. Known
for its famous attendees; the paparazzi lurk behind the bushes, trees, and in their
SUVs – making it the spot where those whose rehab and sobriety need to be public
Attending is a who's who of recent famous mug-shots. Across from me: an on-
probation rock star busted for coming home high on everything and torching his
house. Two seats down: a presenter of a top-ranked show recently in trouble for
berating and physically abusing a first-class flight-attendant after drinking too
much and popping too many pills; he sits next to an award winning actor-producer-
director fresh off a DUI arrest where he blamed all the world's problems on a
Why am I here? Because my last movie ran over-budget, and the producers
blamed it on me. They said the few days I called in sick after a night of partying
resulted in millions in loses. Like: Who hasn't pulled a sickie? Anyway, my
manager said my rep for professionalism had taken a major beating with the bad
press, and put me in a luxurious rehab-spa. The move paid off, and right after, he
lined me up for the lead in a love story set in a concentration camp. It has
awards written all over it. The only thing is my contract stipulates that I attend
these god-awful meetings.
Speaking of which, it kicks off with each of us standing up, stating our
names and addictions. Next, some share tales of the debaucherous drug fueled
nights that led them here; while others detail how the 12-steps help them resist
I say nothing. I'm not like them – I've never been arrested or woken up in a
gutter. Of much more concern to me is the fact that I haven't read about myself in
days, and that means no one else has either – and if no one's reading about me –
then that means people will start forgetting about me. And I can't have that.
The shuffle of feet as everyone stands up brings my attention back, and I
join the circle of non-anonymous addicts; taking the hand of a on-the-decline
rockstar who lost custody of the kids after a night chasing the dragon, and a
rising TV actor in the headlines for smacking a colleague and calling another one a
fag. He isn't a drunk but blames his boorish behavior on boozing anyway because
otherwise it means he's just an asshole, and no one would want to work with him.
We end with a reciting of the serenity prayer and an “Amen” Standing in
line, I wait to collect my chip from an old guy, who was once a star, but now is
the answer to trivia questions. He looks at me and beams: “I must say I'm mighty
proud of you. You haven't been in the papers for ages. You must really be
focusing on your recovery.”
Like I needed to be reminded of my recent spell of unimportance. I force a
smile and reply: “Thanks. Keeping working on the steps, right?”
For lunch my assistant and I head to a world renowned celebrity haunt, and
good place to get my pic snapped according to my new publicist. Before stepping
out, I check myself out in the rear-view mirror, apply some lipstick to my plump
limps, and toss my wavy hair for that just-right look. Then I slip on my over-
sized sunglasses with studded diamonds on each side of the Italian designer's
initials, and step out.
The minute my shiny custom-made sandal hits the pavement, the rapid clicks
and flashes and shutters of cameras. Some of the 'razzi bark things like: I'm
diseased or I'm boring in the sack or I have a eating disorder. Others make
comments about how my estranged father recently sold my childhood story for six
figures. An actress since I was eleven, I let their comments slide, beam a smile,
and flip my hair so they catch my good side, as I flash a peace-sign and mosey
through the entrance with my assistant three steps behind.
Sitting in the shade of an umbrella at one of the exclusive white patio
tables tucked along the white picket fence, I take stock of who's who. A few
tables down is one of the most powerful actors in the industry, and a proud member
of a religion that believes millions of years ago spaceships landed on the earth,
and that much of our unhappiness is a result of alien souls inhabiting our bodies.
Dining with him is a politically active superstar, honorable UN ambassador,
and contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. An avid car collector and owner of a
small fleet of planes, he's famous for jet-setting across the globe to take part in
any and all good cause related to the environment and poverty. A man known for his
convictions and principles with one such belief being: “Entertainment is two-
hookers and an eight-ball. Movies are for enlightenment and education.”
My people watching comes to an end when a waiter arrives at the table. I pay
nobodies no mind and nod over to my assistant to order.
“She'll have a salad, dressing on the side and a grilled halibut. And I'll just
take a salad.”
The waiter hasn't taken his eyes off me. My glasses slip down my nose, and I
glare. He looks away: “And to drink?”
“Water please.” My assistant says, and the waiter leaves with his head
“That's all you're going to eat?”
“Yeah, need to watch my weight. Summer's coming up.”
“No you don't. I do because my career depends on it, but yours doesn't.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“So order something else. I'll treat you to a lypo if you want. Might have
to do it myself. Hate diets and not going bulimic again.”
“Really, I'm not hungry.”
“Okay, suit yourself. So have you called and put my name on the list for
“Yeah. Also told them to put your drinks in water bottles.”
“Good thinking. So what you want to do after lunch?”
“Well, we should probably go over your lines. Filming starts next week.”
“Nah, don't want to throw myself into the role of a Holocaust victim yet.
Let's go shopping.”
Down a tree shaded street, I glance in the boutique windows to see if
anything catches my eye, when suddenly my high heel catches something. I trip.
The rapid clicks and flashes and shutters of cameras. I stumble. The rapid clicks
and flashes and shutters of cameras. Thanks to my assistant grabbing my arm, I
A little shaken, I adjust my crooked sunglasses, and toss my hair. I look
around. One last click, flash, shutter followed by squealing wheels. I scream,
“Fuuuuuck! I can see the headlines tomorrow: Star stumbles home drunk after a
night of partying.”
“Don't worry about it,” my assistant says. “I'm sure more interesting
things will happen between now and tomorrow.”
“I guess you're right: What with that train-wreck of a pop tart past just
getting out of rehab.”
“Oh my god: I know! Did you see that crazed look in her eye the day before
she checked in?”
“Yeah, she like straight up went shining with an ax on the 'razzi's car.
But that's what happens when you fuck with ice.” Just then: the cutest shirt
catches my eye. On it: the image of a philosopher-radical-revolutionary done up in
different colored rhinestones on a tight white-shirt that is sure to hint at the
full glory of the new angel tattoo on the small of my back: “Let's go in here.”
The ring of the bell on the door announces our arrival, and we step into a
airy and bright store with racks of dresses and blouses, and tables piled high with
jeans and shirts. Within two seconds the shop assistant spots us, and I see it:
The expression of recognition. I've witnessed it a thousand times: the double-
take, the slack-jaw, the wide-eyes. I can even read their thoughts: Is that who I
think it is? If they got someone to turn to for a whispering reconfirmation: they
do. If they don't: they look at you dazed and confused. “Ca...caa...can I...I
hel...el...elp...help you?” Oh, and they stutter.
“How much is that shirt in the window?”
I don't have time for her to spit it out. “What else you got?”
My assistant whispers in my ear, “There's someone here with a cell.”
“Also, do me a favor: Either take that chick's phone or ask her to leave.”
I said it loud enough for the girl with the cell to hear it. She shoots me a
seething stare that changes to the wide-eyes of recognition, and she runs out with
a story to tell her friends about what a bitch I am. She doesn't get it: It's not
personal. It's just that camera phones mean going from famous to infamous in
seconds. Like my manager says: they make image control near impossible.
After lunch and shopping, I head to a world famous salon for a new do. My
natural hair color is auburn, but I've decided to dye it raven black. As my super-
metro hairdresser explains: It will help accentuate my sparkling blue eyes. As for
my nails: I go for a blood-red look.
As my hairdresser tints, combs, cuts, and snips; we chat about sworn-enemy
#1. I guess she had been in earlier and was going on about how she can't wait to
see my face when she shows up with ex-lover #2 at the party tonight. She really is
such a snitty bitch.
Back in the day (three years ago or so) we were best-friends-forever (BFF).
I was just coming off my breakout hit in a wholesome family comedy. At the same
time, she was using great-great-great-grand-daddy's money to buy a name for herself
and her fifteen minutes of fame as a talentless celebrity. She was alotta fun,
though. She liked to do the same things as me: go out to clubs, party, pick up
sexy boys, and read about it the next day.
The problems all started when her boyfriend at the time dumped her because he
said he was in-love with me, and called all the papers to spread the rumors that we
were a couple. I mean, like: oh-my-god-you-gotta-be-fucking-kidding-me! Like I'd
touch him with a ten-foot pole. Anyway, rather than talk to me, she waged war
through her press contacts: providing intimate and embarrassing details about
alcohol and drug filled nights, eating disorders, and mental crashes. Not a person
to take shit from anyone, I counterattacked and revealed that she once had sex with
a security guard in a bathroom stall, gave her dog Valium to keep in quiet on
hungover mornings, and took laxatives to stay skinny. And for the better part of a
year we've been at it. So you see...Tonight should be interesting.
To avoid my new look being revealed before my grand reappearance, I sneak out
the back of the salon and hop in my tinted metallic-black SUV. My assistant
drives: “Love what you've done with your hair.”
“Thanks. Anyone call?”
“Your new publicist wants you to go with your frenemy to the party, and his
assistant arranged for a limo to pick you up.”
“Okay. You coming?”
“No. Spending time with my man. We haven't seen each other much lately,
and he's cooking me a romantic dinner.”
“Ah, how sweet. Wouldn't you rather come to the party, though?”
“Maybe next time.”
As my car sits high above the dense traffic, I sink in the leather seat and
lean against the window. Staring out into the big city, lonliness creeps in with
the thought of an ex-lover. Not the sleazy reality celebrity ex-lover #2, but the
son of a casino and resort owner with an apartment available above him...ex-lover
When we met last year, I was running with the EDC (Eating Disorder Crowd).
Fellow famous people of various stripe and prestige who liked to eat at the finest
restaurant and then throw up or shit out the best meal money can buy as we
completed to see who could get the skinniest and gloss the most magazine covers.
I stopped being part of the EDC when I met ex-lover #3. The first time I saw
him, he commented how he liked girls with a little meat on their bones before
disappearing into the crowd. The next day I woke up, ate a hearty breakfast, and
didn't take a laxative. You see that's like the thing with me: I can stop anything
and change course – just like that – given the right motivation.
Anyway, soon we were together, and it was bliss. He was so calming, and I
felt so safe in his arms. We sat and talked and laughed. We made love and kissed
and cuddled. We went on hikes in nature and had picnics in the park and ate
romantic dinners at home. I was never so happy and in love and at peace. But he's
a homebody. And I'm, well...Social. So like concentration camp love, it was
doomed from the get-go.
I stop thinking about ex-lover #3 when we step into my five-bedroom glass
house. From the west-facing bay windows the setting sun's rays flood the living
room and bathe the dark wooden furniture and Buddha in an ever deepening orange.
On the floor in my entryway: an envelope with my name scribbled on it. Tearing it
open, dry rose peddles and a note float to the ground. I pick it up and read: I
didn't appreciate they way you treated me today. But I understand with what that
cunt sworn enemy and that asshole ex-lover have been saying about you. They are
both jealous of your talent and beauty. They will get their comeuppance. Love
truly, Your biggest fan. My stalker.
You're a nobody if you don't have a stalker. Most of the time they are
pretty harmless – keeping their obsessions to themselves and in their wet-dreams
and fantasies. But sometimes it progresses to something creepier and psychotic. I
read yesterday about a one trying to run over the spouse of his obsession with a
So far, mine has just stuck with letters and calls. They still haven't
identified who it is, and the fact that the note mentions meeting me today freaks
me out a little. So to play it safe I call my bodyguard and make sure he comes
To kill time, I flop down on my plush couch, and turn on the wall-sized flat
screen TV. A foreign news correspondent follows the megastar couple on their quest
to adopt their twentieth kid from a tiny remote jungle in South America in high-
definition clarity. A press of a button, and a report about how the ex-president
and his new porn-star girlfriend are set to sell their sex-tape for millions. A
quick succession of presses skips past the images and stories of war, death,
destruction, corruption. Bored, I turn to my assistant: “Sure you don't wanna go
“But can I, like, call you if I need anything?”
“Sure. But only if it's really important. The last time you called wanting
to know where the remote was, I was in the middle of a movie with my boyfriend. He
wasn't too pleased.”
“Men. They're so demanding.”
“Please, only call, like, if it's super important.”
“Want me to take Pinky?”
“You mind? Think she likes the company.”
“Not at all.”
“Also, stay till the limo arrives. Don't want to like be alone right now.”
“Yeah, okay. Why don't we go get you dressed to impress?”
I smile. “That's a brilliant idea.”
The honk of the limo. The rush of excitement. Party time. I scamper down
the stairs and out the door in a black-tight-fighting-dress. Together with my
raven hair and blood-red nails, it's a little dark and goth I know. But with my
name linked to the new doomed love for the next twelve weeks, I figured it was a
good look for filming. Under the dim lights lining the inside, my frenemy sits in a
shiny-silver-sparkling dress. She smiles uncomfortably: “It's been a while.”
“Yeah it has.” I slide on the couch across from her as the the door slams
“Heard you were in rehab.”
“Yep, needed some me-time.” I reach for the bar and fix a drink of top-self
vodka and fresh-squeezed juice. “You look healthier.”
“Yeah, cadaverous is so last year. Healthy-skinny is in. Looks like you've
put on a few pounds too.”
I light a cigarette and blow a cloud of smoke. My frenemy coughs.
“That's right you don't smoke.” I press on the button and the sun roof
opens. “Sorry. So what else is new?”
“Doing a record/movie release. I haven't been in the public eye for a few
months, so my publicist figured a night out with you should change that. Although,
I haven't read anything about you in ages.”
“Like I said, laying low. Start filming a sure-fire-award-winner next week.
I think you were up for the same role, right?”
My frenemy pours herself a glass of wine. “Yeah, had too many
“I see. That's the way it goes sometimes.”
“So why this reconciliation? Thought you were mad at me after I hooked up
with one of your countless exes.”
“I'm like so over that. Besides: Didn't he like cheat on you with that
“Yeah. So what's like the deal? Why did your publicist want this?”
“He thinks it's a good idea if I'm seen with someone not part of the wild-
“Yeah, I can see that.” My frenemy reaches in her small purse and pulls
out a little plastic bag. “Want some candy?”
“You've always been good about keeping it on the down-low.”
“Gotta. Just can't let it be public, you know? I'm still selling to the
teenage crowd, and it'd kill sales.”
“Yeah, gotta be careful myself. One more bust and no more insurance. So
mum's the word?”
“Of course. I'm so glad we're not enemies anymore.”
Arrival. The boiling anticipation of a grand entrance has my heart pounding
and my adrenalin racing. The driver opens the door and we step out to the blinding
blast of a thousand flashes and a roar. Straining not to blink, we grab each
other's hand and a scene of people in their trendiest outfits clamoring, begging,
and bribing the skinny doorman to let them in comes into focus. Two hulking guards
flank us, and people part with double-takes, slack jaws, wide eyes. Another
bouncer unclicks the rope, and we ascend the stairs. Above it all I look down on
the desperate masses and imagine being on of them. It is a fleeting thought
followed by a shudder.
In the VIP lounge, the crowd glances and recognizes but there are no double-
takes. They know me and I know them. We are the names you read about the every
day. “Okay, see you around tonight?” my frenemy says.
“Yeah,” I reply and we hug and part.
Alone, I scan the room for my crew. Like I said, I used to run with fellow
famous people. But they're sources to columnists. And, with the line between
friend and foe in this town blurry, that's like having your own hit-man. So,
instead my crew now consists of those not looking to read about themselves or
report about me the next day.
Probably my closest friend is my assistant, but with her new boyfriend she
hasn't been interested in going out much. I understand. I was just like her when
I first met ex-lover #3. It'll end and she'll be back. Another good friend is my
stylist who is sitting on a couch across from the DJ booth. Next to her is my
bodyguard. On the other side of him is my manager's daughter, or my minder.
Strutting over to them, I flash a smile at the DJ, and she smirks back. The
press not too long ago had us involved in a torrid love affair. Which is like so
far from the truth. I mean, like, one night when we were all fucked up and spun, I
wanted to experience what it was like being with a girl. After all, isn't that
what being an artist is all about – experiencing? I wouldn't call it a torrid love
affair, though. I much prefer the real thing to a plastic one.
My stylist and bodyguard separate and I sit down between them and take a
vodka tonic in a water bottle to sip on. Looking out onto the crowd, I see my
frenemy sheepishly grinning with her group as she disappears into the bathroom.
Next my sights set on two twins who parlayed their dual role as the adorable baby
in a sitcom into a kiddy empire of straight to video releases about the
misadventures of mischievous, but ultimately do the right thing, sisters. Judging
by their protruding collar-bones and gaunt faces, they are obviously still running
with the EDC.
On the dance-floor, a bald-sixty-year-old action star wildly flails away with
the twenty year-old train-wreck of a pop tart past and fellow rehab grad. Add
fashion disaster to her title too in ripped fishnets under butt-riding daisy dukes
and a a shear-nipple-showing-bra for a shirt with a cowboy hat on top of a blue
whig? Oh. My. God. You. Gotta. Be. Fucking. Kidding. Me!
That's when I see them: My sworn-enemy #1 and ex-lover #2 at a booth,
canoodling, and surrounded by kids with famous last-names. She looks at me and
snickers and leans in to kiss his neck. He grins, and they like totally start
making out. I hold up my water bottle as a toast and turn to my stylist. “Give me
the candy. I'm going to the toilet.”
A girl dressed in the same shirt that I'd bought earlier stands by the steel
sink and her jaw drops when I enter. “Do I know you?” I snap.
“Come on. I don't have time for this. Who are you?”
The shrill that is my sworn enemy #1's voice: “Well, well. So much for
clean and sober living.”
“See you're still up to the same ol' same ol'.”
“See you're still all about my leftovers. Can he last more than a minute
“Cunt. Oh, haven't you read – I'm strictly fucking A-listers now? No more
C-listers for me.”
“Oh, that English actor? I saw him last night looking mighty tight with a
I glare. I think of something to say. That's when it happens.
Unfolding in slow motion, the girl in my shirt reaches in her purse and pulls
out a small pair of steel scissors, raising her arm. “What the cat got you
tongue?” my sworn-enemy #1 says as the glistening metal blades strike down and
sink into her neck, repeatedly.
The girl stops and smiles. I say nothing and simply stare at the red
splattered rhinestones tracing the philosopher-radical-revolutionary's face. It
takes me a sec but I finally recognize her: the chick with the cell. “Why?” I
“I told you she would get her comeuppance.”
“Do you realize what you've done!”
“What do you mean?”
“This was supposed to me my great reappearance! Now it's going to be all
about her,” I explain pointing at sworn enemy #1, curled on the floor and gurgling
in a growing pool of blood.
“Jesus, I can see it now: A twenty-four hour vigil outside her hospital.
This is just fucking great.”
Her face sinks. “I'm sorry.”
“Sorry doesn't cut it. I can't be seen here with you. You have no idea the
damage this can do to my career. Look, just make sure my name stays out of the
paper as much as possible.” I shake her and look into her quivering face: “Can
you promise me to do that?”
“Okay, I gotta get out of here,” I snap, pushing my weeping stalker to the
side and running out the bathroom door with my head racing on how to spin this.
The second I get to my crew by the DJ booth a scream rings. Panic sweeps the
crowd and people scramble in a frenzy as more cries fill the air. My manager's
daughter ushers me down the stairs and out the back of the club surrounded by my
bodyguard and stylist to block out any images from the exploding cameras. Jumping
into my waiting SUV, the thought of tomorrow's headline leads to a hyperventilating
fit and I call my assistant.
I heave and wheeze.
“Okay. Breathe and take a pill. They're in the glove box. I'll be there
in the morning. Deep breath, and not too many.”
Inhaling, I exhale with an: “Okay.”
“Yeah,” I say, fumbling through the mounds of empty cigarette packs and
papers that fall out of the stuffed glove box. On the floor I spot a metallic
strip of blue pills. Just the thought of popping them starts to steady me, and I
take three as flashing and blaring police cars race by on their way to the crime
Finally home, the pill's effects soothe my nerves and a cool nightly breeze
blows through ruffling the curtain. Sitting down on the edge of bed, I listen to
the crashing surf and calm comes to a racing mind. Before sleeping, I like to look
at myself in a mirror. Admiring my naked body, I think of what my manager always
says: the more mysterious the better. He doesn't get it. Not in today's world.
Besides, I like my life and want people to know about me. After all, who wouldn't
want to be me? To be the person who inspires a kid from a dysfunctional family to
believe they too can get the fuck-out – just like past stars did me. To be
recognized from L.A. to Barcelona to Moscow to Tokyo to Melbourne. To live the
fairytale life with aids waiting on you hand and foot. To be the called sexy and
sleep with beautiful people. To read about yourself the next day. I mean, like,
who doesn't want to be a celebrity?