Three audacious and darkly satirical short stories about fame, media obsession, and men behaving badly. :: Viral :: A YouTube star reflects bitterly on his fifteen minutes of fame. :: No. 1 :: A honeymooning couple accidentally film the suicide of a famous pop star. :: Gagapocalypse :: A music critic imagines that Lady Gaga is brainwashing listeners into Manchurian Candidate sleeper assassins.
He nodded his head as if following a beat while his speakers blared out a slow, meandering synth line with no discernible melody and only the most fleeting flirtation with rhythm. It was just random bleeps and buzzes, like a Casio keyboard that had developed a case of arrhythmia, its only conceivable virtue being a passing resemblance to a handful of video game sound effects half-remembered from their childhoods.
“Awesome song,” she lied earnestly. “I love this album.”
“Yeah,” Baz mumbled in a way that suggested he had neither solicited nor appreciated her validation. As if her opinion were just a mild irritant. “It’s not as good as their first one, though.”
“No, it’s definitely different,” Fiona quickly agreed. “But I still like it.”
She didn’t really agree. She didn’t think she’d even heard their first album. She wasn’t actually sure which band this was. She was just used to finding the right thing to say from contextual clues, even when she had no fucking clue what he was talking about.
No one ever truly creates something from nothing. There are no more original ideas. Even Shakespeare and Disney just retold other people’s stories. We’re just the first generation to acknowledge and embrace it. We are the remix generation. The sample generation. The ubiquitous pop culture reference generation. The generation that treats karaoke, air guitar, and cover bands as serious artistic pursuits.
The shot rings out loudly, even over the camera’s weak microphone, and a burst of red explodes from the back of her head. For a split second she keeps looking at the camera, but then she collapses out of view, dropping to the ground.
The video goes chaotic, shaking violently as I jog towards her.
“I’m sorry,” I said. I wasn’t sure if I really meant it, but it seemed like the thing I was supposed to say, like lines in a script.
She flashed me a smile like the Mona Lisa’s, full of reproach and indulgence. It was the kind of smile a mother would have for her disingenuously-penitent child, the kind that said, Who are you trying to fool?
“You don’t have to be,” Sarah said. “In a funny way, it’s comforting to know that no matter what else happens in the rest of your life, at least I’ll always be your first. Your number one.”
She jams the earbuds in and cranks up her iPod. She feels the sharp pain in her ear, a pain that’s lately become too frequent and pronounced to ignore. She knows that she’s doing irreparable damage, that one day she may lose her hearing…
(she thinks about Marguerite’s voice)
…but at times like this, there’s no other kind of therapy that compares.
“Everything in the universe tends toward decay.”