Monday, 24 March 2014

Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up by Naomi Elana Zener

Wandering alone, forlorn, without direction, searching for something with a sense of longing, struggling to recapture what she had lost, Lisa stared blankly at her reflection in the windows of the tony Robertson Boulevard stores, no longer recognizing the woman gazing back her. Even the shiny, pretty things decorating the window displays could not distract her from her mission to reclaim a scintilla of her former self. The distant land to which Lisa had been flung was obscurity, also known as Idaho, where she had lived for the past fourteen months after her family’s reality television series had been cancelled. In Idaho, Lisa’s former fame was non-existent, and her coworkers knew her only as potato quality control inspector #90210. Oh, the irony.

After her notorious family had made a household name for itself by being famous simply for being famous, like all good things, the fame came to an end after the show’s ratings took a precipitous nosedive into Hades.  The catalyst for the collapse was due to a discovery made by a sneaky paparazzo, who uncovered skeletons in their designer closet. The paparazzo exposed the fact that Lisa’s momager mother of four, Patty, who always had publicly espoused the importance of good Christian values, had mothered all of her kids not by her current husband of twenty-five years and the man whom they called ‘daddy,’ but rather by her boy toy Rinaldo, fifteen years her junior. Rinaldo was the tennis pro that broke up her first marriage, but the fire between Patty and Rinaldo continued to burn brightly, unbeknownst to her cuckolded husband. Once fans realized that the family’s life was a sham, Patty decided not to hide the truth any longer and invited Rinaldo into her boudoir, while kicking hubby #2 to the curb.  With the naked truth disclosed, Patty tried to salvage the sinking TV ship by having Lisa, the jewel in the family’s money-making crown, do a tasteful Playboy® pictorial. Sadly, Patty’s calculated efforts backfired and her family’s bible-belt fan base eroded, favoring the twerking antics of a young southern MTV star in desperate need of their support and salvation.

Lisa’s celebutante star power continued to flicker for a few months after the show went off-air, but fans vacillated between loving and hating her on a daily basis. Love turned to permanent hatred quickly, as was evidenced by her steadily declining appearance fee for club openings. Suddenly, Lisa was only being invited to appear at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for fast food franchises in Barstow, California and Plano, Texas alongside castoff contestants from Survivor Season Three. No longer rolling in the money, Lisa was unable to keep up with the lease payments on her fleet of luxury vehicles, or her mortgage on her ten million dollar home. Soon her palatial Bel Air mansion was in foreclosure and Lisa watched on as a former teen star, who had been savvy with his wealth, bought her home and turned it into a celebrity rehab center.  Barely able to afford her Botox injections and her buttock implant upkeep, Lisa made the Sophie’s Choice of saying goodbye to her beloved backside in favour of maintaining a crow’s feet free fa├žade.  With a deflated ass, the paparazzi, once glued to her like feces to flies, flocked to a new starlet and her DUI-antics. Lisa became a persona non grata at Lalaland’s finest eateries and even homeless people stopped recognizing her. Adding insult to injury, the final nail in her celebrity’s coffin was hammered when all speculation about whether she was pregnant by her ‘is he or isn’t he gay’ actor boyfriend ground to a halt.  Rock bottom was a hard hit, especially with no bountiful tush to cushion the fall.

Idaho had been a welcome refuge, but after ten minutes of working the line in the potato factory, Lisa was desperate to return to the public eye. Lisa returned to L.A. in the vain hope that VH1’s invitation for her to participate in a new reality game show called ‘Please Give Me 15 More Minutes,’ would return her to her former glory.  Drifting southwardly on Roberston, Lisa found herself standing before the flashing wattage of the paparazzi’s camera, lighting up The Ivy, like the Fourth of July.  The photographers swarmed the real celebrities coming out of the restaurant, all of whom stopped for an obligatory pose, faking exasperation at the doggedness of the camera Nazis, whilst secretly loving every minute of it. Quick thinking spawned Lisa’s swan dive into the fray to photo bomb the pictures being snapped before the paparazzi could clue into her interloping presence. Unfortunately for Lisa, one of L.A.’s keenest observers of celebrity life on the streets, a residence-challenged street dweller, caught on to Lisa’s ambush and alerted the photographers to her presence.

“Hey lady, if you want them to take your picture, you should get on another reality show and become famous again, because your fifteen minutes are up!” cried the homeless man.

The homeless man’s acknowledgment of her former celebrity was not lost on Lisa.

“You remember me! You really, really remembered me!” Lisa exclaimed.

In that moment Lisa knew that no matter what happened, she would never leave L.A., the land where anyone could be plucked off the street and shot into stardom, even if the person doing the plucking was homeless.

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

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