FICTION: Cowboys and Lesbians “Kat”
Image: Richard Prince
The following story, which will be serialized once a week on this blog, is FICTION. Though set within actual cultural set points of time and place, as one would find in historical fiction, no one character is based on anyone living or dead, but imaginary.
This is satire. I hope it’s a fun ride, which is my sole intention as the author.
This work is registered with the Writers’ Guild of America and is additionally protected. Law will prosecute any use of the following work without explicit permission by the author.
Narcissistic personality disorder. That’s what the doctor had circled on his DSM chart. Kat could still see the fat red circle around the category set in bold black type. That circle could rise up to strangle her. She could even feel the rose scribbled lines crawling up her neck like a rash. The instruments seemed innocent enough. They used typewriters then and crayon pencils with soft tips that bled onto the page. She remembered wanting to steal one of them and mark up her lips like a clown, right there in therapy. Clowns threatened but at the same time Kat feared them. If she could get over clowns, she could get over anything.
“Joy to the world. The Lord has come! Let earth and nation sing!”
“You got a light, Kat?”
“Huh. Yeah.” She mumbled to her intern, the wiry kid with his Trash and Vaudeville skinny black jeans falling to his crack as he slouched to pick up one of the ceiling lights the camera crew had brought into her tidied office.
“Here, take the rest of the cigs.” She offered. Least she could do was give this kid some cigarettes since he spent the entire night before hiding all her papers and magazines that had been strewn throughout the office into bins in the back room. She had thrown another fit.
“You ready, Kat? We’re gonna shoot some promotional clips for your new talk show.” Said the guy from the cable network who was setting up and practically stomping over the intern, like he didn’t exist.
Kat herself could forget about the interns for long stretches of time. She had bestowed six such kids with internships, which they were willing to fulfill for eight dollars an hour just to work within the glamour of entertainment and nightlife.
“Joy to the world. The Lord has come! Let earth and nation sing!”
She could hear the carol in her head as she carefully applied some red lipstick – two little semicircles on the top and an upward crescent on bottom– same as she would have tainted her lips with that red pencil in the ward if she had been brave enough.
The only difference now, she was a star.
Kat kicked into a whole new generation of cool. It had nothing to do with corporate ladders or power suits. It centered more around back rooms with seekers like her. She had finally been recognized.
Kat grabbed a black leather jacket from the closet. She had picked this ruby kimono top that cinched at the waist over black leggings. But as the camera guy set up the final lighting, she felt like a cherry bomb.
“Film me from the waist up!” Kat smirked. “I need to see the footage before you edit.”
Kat remembered the staff at the ward again.
“Joy to the world. The lord has come. Let earth and nation sing!”
Kat had foregone the make up artist that Cable King, the station, had offered to send over. She didn’t trust anyone with her face. In fact, she hated when other people touched her face at all.
She bought $300 cover up foundation. That hid last night’s whiskey shadow best. The powder helped the bloat. She had downed a gallon of spring water and some vicodin. She then curled into a fetal ball and laid there for several hours… tick tock, tick tock, tick tock… despite that no old clock existed anywhere in her Chelsea loft.
She could die, mixing vicodin and booze. She had read that in a magazine so she waited four hours to pop the pill. No way around it, she needed that final push into oblivion.
If she croaked, she reasoned, that meant god had spared her from having her secret revealed on national television, that she was psychotic.
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Her resume for the television show listed her age as 35, three short of reality. She had shared coke and had fucked several famous rock musicians, then saved them in her speed dial. But on paper, she stated she had worked with them. She even listed herself as tour advisor, as she could remember the songs at the time, bed frames, slippery or raw friction between sheets, the burning of her nostrils, the sizes of hotel ashtrays, and hills of cigarette butts. But she quickly forgot the fuck.
“What’s your show about?” The cameraman asked.
He still tinkered with his equipment. He crouched down before Kat now adjusting a lens. She was standing before a white wall in the front office next to a right vertical window with the blinds open to allow just enough illuminate her face.
Kat figured the camera guy could not have reached thirty yet. She coined him for a smug film nerd.
“You know I was at Stanley Kubrick’s last birthday party.” Kat said arching her eyebrow.
“Yeah, someone flew me to LA because I produced a rock and roll event at the Château Marmont and Stanley dropped by, invited me himself to his home in the hills for dinner the next night.
I sat between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Tom gave me his dessert. Chocolate mousse cake. So damn weird because I think he kept some kind of diet. But Stanley… Stanley told me I had a real gift for seeing inside of people, so at one point he took me into his den, showed me the notes for Clockwork Orange and Space Odyssey.
He scribbled all kinds of crazy things in the margins of those scripts. RAGE in big letters, drawings of fingers pointing in different directions. Told me they were emotional cues for his actors.
The camera boy still gazed at his gear.
“Uh… okay. What’s your show about?”
He had now set the camera on a tripod and his own assistant and the skinny intern were holding up some sidelights. If the boy shooter had not been zooming in on Kat’s eyes at the moment, she would have snatched the lens right out from under him.
“Wake up asshole! I’m talking about Stanley Kubrick here!” She wanted to say that, but instead she slid a cigarette between her perfectly colored lips and motioned to the skinny boy to ignite it with his back pocket matches.
“It’s what I said.” Kat answered. “Stanley told me I have a real gift for seeing inside of people. I’ll be interviewing people I think influence the culture.”
“Yeah!” Camera guy chuckled. “It says in the sheet they gave me, ‘ the queen of no bullshit serves it straight to fashionable New York and the world.”
“It’s true about Kubrick.” Kat started, then chucked half her cigarette into the bin half a foot away.
She could have tap danced, stood on her head, babbled in tongues. Why the hell did this kid not respond to her story? Kubrick usually gets these types. They sent her a fascist with a video cam, some cable channel techno twit.
He flicked a switch on the video cam and put one hand up.
“My guy’s got your cue cards.” He said.
Kat nodded. She had written the script for this. She and the executive producer at the station went back and forth to cut it down to a minute and a half, not an easy feat for someone with as much to promote as Kat had.
‘Okay. We’re ready to roll!
Ten, nine, eight…”
Kat puckered her lips a couple times. She could hear her own private announcer in her mind: “Show time baby! Show time!”
Then camera dude chimed in again.
“Three, two, one, go!”
“Hi I’m Mamma Kat and I’m about to take you on a ride. You know how you think you know people from their Facebook pages or Tweets? Well, that’s only part of the story. I’ll show you the rest on my new show, Kat Call. Thursday evenings at 9 pm, on King Cable.”
“Cut!” The camera boy pulled his free hand down by his side.
It took them two hours and twenty takes until Kat felt she could dismiss him.
“ That jackass should have more respect for Stanley Kubrick.” She thought.
This show, her show, however, was going to be just like Christmas, the one in her dreams, not the one where she shared hand me downs from her big sister in Dayton. This would be rock n’roll Christmas with all of New York City and Hollywood knowing who she was. Finally.
“Joy to the world! The Lord has come! Let earth and nation sing!”