FICTION: CBLB “Zoro” Not That One and Not Whom We Expected
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.
Kat was pacing now, tapping the top of each white egg chair on the studio stage as she strode back and forth. The stark rectangular room smelled like pine floor wax. Without her chunky boots, she might have slipped.
She thought about calling some “it girls” of over a year ago, to fill in for Reggie’s absence. She wanted to spawn a Reginald Hodgekiss rejects festival.
“Did he screw you? Cause he screwed me!”
A round shiny pod like desk stared back at her. She perceived her own reflection: nothing but crimson lips and dark misshapen curls, nothing but a confusing shadow on the surface below her. The fear gripped Kat like the grim reaper. Maybe Reg had gotten hold of her records and fled. Someone had discovered that she was full of shit.
She was not beyond calling these women, Reg’s rejects. She kept files on all of them. Her business worth could be ascertained by the access she had to the popular ones and the dirt she had on the ones who had been buried. She suddenly perked up, remembering her database. She had fifty thousand Facebook friends.
Kat’s skinny male intern, a few guys on the crew, and the main cameraman — the fascist who shot her promo — stood huddled in a corner, all their shoulders curved toward her. “Shotguns in the shoulder blades… shotguns in the shoulder blades…” Kat kept hearing that in her head. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six…” She started counting backwards. Someone kept the air conditioning blasting in the studio so despite her heated nervous armpits, her makeup did not run.
Close to four pm, the director of Kat’s show,”Kat Call,” came in.
“Lucky for you, Kat, the Zoroastrian’s outside!” the director woman chirped.
The director woman always chirped. Kat hated that she entered a room like Betty Boop on speed, except that she seemed too straight for speed with her brown bangs and her Michael Kors knit ensembles.
“He’s fucking everywhere, that Zoroastrian!” That’s what Kat thought as she pushed her fingers through over her temples and through her hair, but she just stared back the director.
“Kat, did you hear what I said?”
“You want me to interview this Zoro character..” Kat started. “Whose religion none of us gets, who follows B-list actresses around to get his face and name in print, who makes some odd symbolic pin jewelry of hearts with fire symbols. Is that what you want?”
Kat thought about it. People were interested in Zoro, but in the opposite way to Reginald Hodgekiss. No one even knew if Zoro had sex. He did not drink alcohol nor did he utter a foul word.
From what Kat had heard from Zoro’s television girlies, they would always recall stories of him appearing in an hour of need, like some type of urban angel. The women who surrounded him often seemed like lost dolls who succumbed to him for some form of benign affection that would not lead to carnality. He picked daisies for them from his aunt’s farm in New Jersey. He kissed their foreheads. He pinned them with golden hearts encased in flames.
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Kat nodded. “Yeah, okay.” She was going to rip Zoro to shreds. “Can I have a few minutes with him to prepare. I mean, I have nothing, not a note for him…”
“Of course dear! I’ll send him in!” The chirpy director chirped and strode out the door past the crew and Kat’s intern, whom Kat swore was giggling like some sissy pants.
No sooner had Kat completed one google search about him on her blackberry, did he walk into the studio. Someone must have tipped him off that black did not translate well on television because he donned what appeared to be a custom tailored white shirt under full beige suit,with vest.
That suit,would make a man with pasty skin about as attractive as an overcooked turnip. But Zoro’s complexion, a warm brandy, shone like sunny terracotta. He had slicked his hair back, a Persian Don Juan, and his teeth gleamed when he smiled. He extended a right hand toward Kat as he ambled up the three steps to the center pod table and grinned widely. “This fucker always smiles.” Kat thought. She winced as she took his hand.
“Hello there!” He firmly squeezed Kat’s hand between both his palms now, like some kind of feel good evangelist.
“I’m happy to be here!” He said, beaming.
This made her giggle. Kat hadn’t giggled since childhood, when she stole her sister’s Barbie dolls, dressed them up like G.I. Joes, put them back in the case, then watched her sister cry when she opened it. But, now, she quickly regained herself.
“G.I. Joe, Barbie, TV, Kat Call, my talk show!” Kat ticked it off in her head as she started in on Zoro.
“How is it that you just showed up?” Kat asked.
“Would you believe me if I said karma?” Zoro eased into the chair opposite her.
“Uh no.” Kat said. “Why do you always tell people that kind of garbage?”
Zoro still smiled. His charm and overall attractive package offended Kat. She could not, would not, let him in. She worked so hard to impact people and this fucker just strides in…
“Look.” He said, folding his hands together on the table. “I’ve always been interested in you, Kat.”
“You have?” Kat could feel her spine tighten.
“You’re Mamma Kat!” Zoro said with jubilation. “You are a New York institution. You’ve met and survived every rock star, the Tunnel. You picked up where Andy Warhol left off and made it modern.”
“I did?” She thought, but did not utter it.
“Yeah, okay, but how did you just show up here when Reggie Hodgekiss didn’t?”
Zoro leaned back now. “Look, Reggie texted me.”
“What do you mean he texted you?” Kat pushed her hands forward, almost touching his on the table now. “You two are pals?”
“Of sorts.” Zoro’s grin seemed a bit off then.
“Let’s just say some of Reggie’s ex’s have gotten close to me. He’s not a bad guy. He just gets in his own way and sometimes he’ll call me to check on one of our friends.”
“But that still doesn’t explain today.” Kat started.
“He asked me to do him a favor, to fill in for him.”
She was not sure she believed him, but before Kat could answer, Zoro said.”You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to meet you.”
“You understand, I may need to fry you on air?” She started. ” I will poke fun at your religion, your general good humor, your bad taste in women, your token jeweled pins, your self miracle making. You understand that I might rip you to shreds.”
He was still smiling when he answered.
“Yes, I completely understand.”
That alone terrified her.