The Stars of Earth and The Glitters and Gold That Love Them: Short Story By: Eric Blair
…And now we enter the dressing room of Christopher James (C.J.) as he prepares for his weekly variety show. C.J. is a good looking American-African male who has brown, caramel skin, brown eyes like autumn leaves, dark black hair like onyx, with an innocent baby face. C.J. is sitting at his vanity table with a mirror in front of him, one to his left, and another to his right. C.J. is dressed in a blue velvet robe with his initials on the right peck. He sips water from a tall crystal glass. He gazes into the mirror in front of him with a confused look in his eyes. His right cheek begins to rise as he smirks to himself. C.J. utters to his reflection, “What are you looking at? Yeah you, what are you looking at?” C.J. takes another sip. He places the glass back onto the table in the same spot with the condensation rings. He says to himself, “What are you doing here? Is it the money? Women? Fame? The love for this craft? Honestly, what have you accomplished? A few laughs, few spotlights, a couple of millions here and there, a Bentley, and a mansion that looks and seems like a castle. Are these “things” worth your soul?
C.J. pauses, laughs to himself and says, “Am I being melodramatic? Maybe I am just tripping. Ha! I get paid for being an astute performer not an emo performer. Maybe I am tripping, right?”
C.J.’s smile slowly disappears and his smile turns to looks of melancholy. His eyes dart back and forth like a pendulum. C.J.’s body language changes from relaxation to a slight panic. He slowly looks up into the mirror with his eyes as his head is down. He utters, “This can’t be my life, fraudulent friends, concupiscent women, envious eyes, and minutes turned into dollars, counting to millions instead of hours. I don’t even want to do this shit anymore; my heart isn’t into this thing called my career. This isn’t funny anymore; people don’t know my real name only my stage name. No matter how many times I correct them, even family, I am just another movie character to them. My stage name is bigger than my life. How in the hell do I belong to fans but haven’t spoken to my mother in weeks. I’ve destroyed myself of yesterday because my next performance needs to better than my last; I will always be chasing a sublime performance. A young Asian male enters the dressing room and says,
“Six minutes until you’re on, Mr. Poof.”
C.J. doesn’t even give the intern enough respect to acknowledge his presence; he continues to stare into the mirror and waves his hand in the air. The intern exits the room. C.J. says to himself, “See, even the fucking intern doesn’t know my real name but has a nerve to put a “Mr.” before my stage name. Fucking nimrod, too many mindless nimrods; marching into the fire like hordes of sheep. Instead of seeing pass this facade, they believe and worship this puppet that I have become. Too many people think I am a king, I am just a lonely, arrogant prick; I guess these fake friends and family members are my loved ones. Ha! Punch line to the greatest joke in history, fake friends, family, and lovers for a spurious king. Ha! Lovers, a mad man, and friends of yesteryear.”
C.J. stands up from his chair in front of the mirror; he gazes into his reflection in the mirror with a somber look on his face. He says, “Ha, I guess the show needs to go on…”
Four minutes late…
C.J. is standing in front of his vanity table and the three mirrors, deeply gazing at his stage character. He’s not Christopher James anymore; he’s a man in a dusty gray suit with a rip on the right shoulder of his suit jacket, a crisp, white dress shirt, and a dusty gray tie to match. The right knee of his pants has a black patch, his pant legs are too short, stopping right at the ankle. On his feet are long, ugly, old black shoes with a hole in the toe of the left shoe, white gloves adorn his hands, and a black top hat with a red band sits on his head. In the band of the hat there is a black ace of spade playing card. Below the hat is a mask that’s black and shiny as oil with white makeup on his full lips and wide brown eyes, under the hat is a kinky black wig.
The man we were introduced to is no more for the next few hours. Truthfully, the man that stands in front of the mirror has been around for a good bit. C.J. is missing; there is only the Amazing Poof, the greatest Minstrel performer today. Poof frowns at his reflection, because the sight that’s in front of him. The infinite loop of ones self reflection looking back at its creator and its creator ashamed of what he has created. Poof reaches into his pocket and pulls out a quarter. He says, “Hmmm. Heads, I’ll quit and show everyone that Poof doesn’t control me. Tails, I’ll go out there and do a fantastic job on tonight’s show. Here’s to you, fate”.
Poof flips the coin into the air, at that split second Poof turns his back to the falling coin as it hits the ground and he begins to walk out of his dressing room. He says, “Fuck this, I control my own faith. I control you, Poof. I’m going to make this money tonight. I was tripping. Hmmm, one day, C.J., you’re going to be the death of me.”
Poof exits his dressing room as the coin spins on its side and then the coin lands on heads up. Funny, my sister, fate was actually on C.J.’s side. She’s much more compassionate than I am. Hmmm, I guess it’s true, when people make plans I am known to laugh…This is far from the end; this is only the middle…