Thursday, April 28, 2011

Writing Sample: "Celebrity"

For this edition of a writing sample, how about another prompt from the Creative Copy Challenge

When I did this one, the words somehow led me to a tongue-in-cheek riff on celebrity.  The ten words for this writing prompt were:
  1. Serendipity
  2. Indigo
  3. Motorboat
  4. Scold
  5. Entity
  6. Delicious
  7. Alabaster
  8. Hiding
  9. Fluctuate
  10. Cartoon
In this prompt, I even managed to use all the words in order, something I'd never tried before. 

This version is slightly edited, but the original off-the-cuff version is HERE if you'd like to read it.

I hope you enjoy this, and – as always, any thoughts or comments you might like to make are greatly appreciated!


Benny edged closer, bobbing on his toes as he tried to peer over the crowd in front of him.  He couldn't believe his luck; it was only through a twist of serendipity that he was even here at all.  If he hadn't decided on the spur of the moment to come to the mall to get new undershirts, he'd have missed her.  How could he have not known that Valerie Winston would be here, in this mall, in his home town, filming a scene for her new movie?  Benny would never have forgiven himself if he'd found out that she'd been here and he'd never come to see her. 
If only he could get close enough to actually be able to see.  He elbowed his way to the right to get out from behind an old lady with a towering indigo hat that teetered on her white bouffant and blocked his view.
The announcement had said that Valerie would be making her appearance soon, and Benny had to be able to see her.  She was his idol.  He could sense the growing excitement in the crowd around him, their whispered voices erupting to a staccato din that filled his ears with a roar like a motorboat racing across a lake.  Valerie might show up at any moment.
Benny couldn't stand it; he had to get closer.  He pressed forward, shoving a couple of junior-high-aged kids out of the way, and taking the front spot at the guard fence set up around the mall's courtyard.  The mom of one of the kids began to scold Benny for his rudeness, but Benny didn't pay much attention.  He mumbled an apology without bothering to look at the woman, and he didn't move to give up his prime spot, right next to the fountain and with a clear view of the mall's courtyard.
He could barely contain his excitement.  Imagine it -- Valerie Winston here; right in front of him.  A huge celebrity.  Making a film, while he was here to watch, where he could see every little move she made. 
Who knows?  She might even look in his direction, maybe even make eye contact.  Benny's heart fluttered and he gasped at the thought, squeezing the plastic bag of undershirts and pulling it close to his chest.  Just one look at him, maybe that's all it would take.  Then she might recognize that Benny wasn't just some nobody, some insignificant, unimportant non-entity; he was one of her biggest fans.  She might even come over to talk to him after the filming was over.  They could get to know each other, and the people and the press would see, and then Benny would be famous, too.  A celebrity himself.
Benny closed his eyes at the image of how delicious that would be.
Then there was the sound of a bullhorn and Benny opened his eyes to look.  The crowd noise faded as they all stopped murmuring to listen.  The director's amplified voice filled the mall, describing what the short scene would be, and calling for complete silence during the filming.  The crowd quieted, but cameras were held at the ready.  Benny even noticed a few local news stations with their cameras pointed to record the event. 
Valerie would soon make an appearance.  Benny's pulse pounded in his ears as he leaned forward in anticipation of seeing her. 
Then the action bell sounded and there was a brief pause, then Valerie appeared at the entrance of the shoe store off of the courtyard.  Benny held his breath at the sight of her.  She was gorgeous and mesmerizing.  She walked out, speaking to another man who followed along, and crossed into the courtyard towards the fountain where Benny stood.
Benny leaned forward, his focus fixated on Valerie as she moved closer.  Then he felt a sharp jerk on his pants and a harsh shove in his back.  He tumbled over the railing of the fence, his arms flailing, the package of undershirts flung wide, and he fell face-first into the fountain with a splash.  Sprays of water erupted as he flopped in the cold, chlorinated pool.
Benny floundered and sputtered, twisting to raise his head from the water.  He turned and blinked to see his legs hung up on the fencing, his pants and underwear pulled into a bunch along his ankles, and his alabaster buttocks squirming in the air as he struggled to push himself out of the fountain.
He could hear the gasps of the crowd around him turn to laughter.  The junior-high kids at the railing who'd pushed him were laughing the loudest of all. 
Benny couldn't see Valerie, but he didn't want to.

* * *

Now, two days later, Benny was still hiding in his apartment.  He wouldn't leave, he wouldn't answer the door, and he had to disconnect the phone because it wouldn't stop ringing.  He kept the drapes drawn and stayed out of view.  He didn't watch TV because he didn't want to see himself on the celebrity news-shows.  His emotions would fluctuate wildly between anger, humiliation, and shame.  He could barely even eat.
The one chance he'd ever have to see his idol and it had been horrible.  Sure, she'd remember him all right, but for all the wrong reasons -- she'd forever know him as the stupid, pathetic cartoon whose video had just exploded to number one on You Tube.
Benny was now a celebrity.
And he hated it.

* * *
© Copyright 2011, Christopher J. Fries

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