The buzz pierced through the fog of his mind like a hatchet.
The Man lie prone on his stomach, face buried in the pillow. The arm dangling over the side felt dead. He peeled open an eye, but the light’s glare snapped it shut. He flopped onto his back, sending a jolt of pain through his brain. The buzzing continued.
He lifted his head gamely, trying to pinpoint the noise. Hotel room …. floor… pants … trousers… oh, the phone. Ignoring the banging headache and few unsuccessful attempts at snagging the trousers and rummaging through the pockets, he managed to silence the thing. He lie back again and groaned over the hangover. He’d had a few glasses of wine the previous night while – doing something or the other – something about fans. Why did dealing with fandom seem to drive him to drink?
The phone dinged. Running a tongue across parched lips, he lie waiting for the rest of his body to check in. The phone dinged again. He was popular this morning. Another ding. He fumbled, then raised it to blurry eyes. The red-haired bloke had texted, “Wow!” Wow? He peered at the next texts. “Hey, you really know how to make an entrance!” and, “I couldn’t have done that!” His eyes opened wider as he scrolled through tens of messages from friends. His PR person had left four messages. His agent left a text, “WTF!!! Did you really put that on Twitter?!”
The man frowned. What in the world were they on about? His fingers flew across the screen as he opened the program and searched for his tweet. He vaguely recollected that a few fans had been dubious about his identity, even on a verified account, when he debuted several days ago. They had demanded he tweet a picture of himself; he agreed. What was wrong? He tapped open the link.
The man sat bolt upright, hangover completely forgotten. Oh. Shit.
The man glanced down at the bowl of soggy cereal he couldn’t eat. Naturally the news had spread like wildfire through the cast and crew, but they all treated it as hilarious. Some passed his table with a few joking words; others waved, winked or flashed an enthusiastic thumbs up sign on their way out to the studio. He gulped some apple juice as his phone continued lighting up like a Christmas tree. He switched it to silent.
The man stared into space, barely listening to the 3-way conference call with his agent and PR person. The agent had stopped swearing and started listening raptly to the woman five minutes ago. When the agent began chuckling, the man blinked in confusion. What, everything was okay? The woman expounded on “changing social mores,” and “appealing to a younger generation.” At the part about “getting maximum exposure out of the situation,” the agent burst into laughter. Exposure, indeed. Imagine the rags back home. Classy, just classy, he thought. He groaned, head sinking down to his chest.
What would his mum say?
The newspaper clippings tumbled out of the large envelop onto the table. He pawed through them: Guardian, Daily Mail, Sun, Times, they were all there. The rags had tried to make a mini- scandal of it all, but his PR person had arrange a quiet chat for him with a reporter who relayed an amusing story about “smartphone mishaps” and “depth perception,” which other papers picked up. He snorted. The reporter had left out the part about “doofus” and “pissed.” For the most part, reaction had been favorable. He found himself with a half million followers on Twitter in 10 days. They didn’t care particularly what he tweeted, as long as he acknowledged them. He picked up the infamous picture and looked with a new eye. He had no clue how he’d managed to set a wide angle that he didn’t even know the phone had, but the pose looked rather lazy and sexy against the sheets, even if he had only intended to reveal a portrait angle. An inadvertent centerfold. His agent reported that interest in him had not been adversely affected. It was all a silly mistake to be put behind him. He sighed in relief.
Right. Now time to get a different smartphone.
The man sat poised at the laptop, stone cold sober. He knew his feelings could get seriously hurt, but he itched to know what his fans thought. He’d heard not a peek out them in a month. Considering the past problems, it was worrisome. The red-haired bloke had joked he felt a little jealous because his own fans were still talking about it. So, what were his fans saying? Hopefully, he’d received boffo reviews. He found himself giggling. Oh, this was ridiculous. I’m too old for this silliness, he thought. He glanced at the sheets containing line changes for tomorrow, then back at the screen. Oh, hell. He surfed to the forum, logged into the members-only section with his secret account, and read.
Oh for fuck’s sake!
He stared glumly at the announcement: “DO NOT OPEN THE JPEG. Looking at his junk is disrespectful.”
They haven’t seen the picture? What, am I supposed to tweet, please look at my junk?, he fumed. He could imagine the red-haired bloke falling down laughing at the news.
Bloody fans suck.