Hollywood Hack Job

By: Nathan Allen

Her manager Nigel sauntered across and sat down next to her. “Great set, babe,” he said. “You really had the crowd moving.”

“Whatevs,” Krystal said. “This place is dead tonight, anyway.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re totally right.” Nigel was reading a message that had just appeared on his phone and wasn’t paying attention to a word Krystal had said. “By the way, I spoke with the owner of this place. I let him have it over those posters. He apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again.”

“What posters?”

“You know, the posters they had up promoting your appearance here tonight. The ones that promised ‘A special DJ performance by Krystal Blayze’, with inverted commas around the word ‘DJ’. I told him that was completely disrespectful.”

Krystal nodded along, even though she wasn’t entirely sure what the inverted commas implied.

“Also, the projections have just come through from the publisher,” he said, reading the message on his phone. “#YOLO, Bitch! is on track to shift a hundred k in the first week.”

“Oh,” she said. “That’s ... great?”

Nigel made a face. “You’re not happy with one hundred thousand?”

“It’s just that I have, like, twenty million followers. I thought it’d be a bit more than that.”

“Trust me honey, one hundred thousand is a lot for a book. Nobody reads actual books anymore. And it’s almost double what Slut Puppy did in its first week of release.”

Slut Puppy was Krystal’s previous book about dating and relationship advice. It sold over one million copies worldwide.

“In that case, I guess I’m allowed to chillax a little,” she said.

A server passed by holding a tray of multicolored shots. Krystal reached for one, and Nigel gave her hand a gentle smack.

“Uh, I don’t think so sweetheart.”

“What, you’re telling me what I can and can’t drink now?”

“No, I’m reminding you that we have a meeting with the head of Parlux in eleven hours’ time to discuss bottle designs for your new fragrance. It’d be nice if you turned up to a meeting sober for once.”

Krystal let out an adolescent whine. “Do I really have to go to that?”

“If you want your name emblazoned across a bottle of perfume then yes, you really do have to go to that.”

“But I’m not even sure I want my own fragrance.”

“What part of having your own fragrance do you object to? Is it the part where you take a three dollar bottle of scented liquid and sell it for $110?”

“No, Nigel–”

“Trust me princess, this is one meeting you don’t want to blow off. Having your own fragrance is like owning a money-printing factory. If you’re not willing to take advantage of this opportunity there are plenty of other scene queens who are.”

Nigel’s phone chimed with an incoming call. He leaped up off the couch. “And put something new on Instagram,” he ordered. “It’s been seven hours since your last post. Leave it any longer and the press will start drafting your obituary.”

Nigel left to take the call in a quieter corner of the club. He plucked a shot glass filled with bright blue liquid from the bar along the way and poured it down his throat.

Krystal sulked for a few minutes – she hated it when Nigel ordered her around like she couldn’t make any decisions on her own – before eventually conceding he might be right. She needed some new content for her Instagram account.

She took out her phone and scanned the room for career advancement opportunities; namely, famous or semi-famous guys. A celebrity selfie was the surest way of enhancing your brand and keeping your name at the forefront of the public’s mind. She knew that better than anybody. A year and a half ago, a twenty second encounter with Justin Bieber saw her profile skyrocket. Rumors quickly spread that the two were romantically involved – rumors she did nothing to dispel – and Krystal’s rise from anonymous to ubiquitous kicked into warp speed. The picture received two hundred thousand likes, and she gained half a million new followers in a single week. Her entire career – the TV show, the modeling gigs, the books, the fitness DVDs, the endorsements – could all be traced back to that one cluster of pixels. But she wouldn’t be able to rely on it forever. She had to stay relevant or risk the ignominy of fading back to obscurity.

Even though, as a feminist, she knew it was wrong that a woman could become famous purely due to her association with a successful man, she didn’t let it bother her too much. As far as she was concerned, feminism meant that a woman should be able to do whatever she wants and not be criticized for it. Anyway, nothing said Girl Power more than exploiting a man for your own personal gain.

Sadly, the VIP section of Aubaine Manor was severely lacking in A-list guys tonight. What it did have was an oversupply of second-tier professional athletes, third-tier reality-famous douches, and no-name sub-Juggalo frat-rappers. In other words, nobody Krystal could benefit from having her name associated with. In fact, being seen with any of these dickwits could only damage her brand. The name Krystal Blayze was synonymous with exclusivity, and she’d prefer to keep it that way.