Hollywood Hack Job

By: Nathan Allen

The room plunged into darkness.

Eric pulled himself to his feet and tried to navigate his way to safety. He took two steps and tripped over an inert body. He didn’t know who it was, or if they were alive or dead. He didn’t stick around to find out either. He got up and took a few more steps, but was knocked back down when he collided with another panicked guest.

He climbed to his feet once more, languid and disoriented. He had lost his bearings completely. He had no idea which way he was facing or where the exits were. He fumbled for his phone, trying to use the light to navigate his way out, but this was of little help.

A brilliant golden ball of shimmering illumination then lit up his immediate area. A split second later, he felt the heat. He turned around in time to see the gigantic fireball coming straight for him.

The cliché about your life flashing before your eyes during your final moments proved accurate. There was nothing Eric could do but stand there and watch on helplessly, knowing that he would be completely engulfed in less than a second.

He knew this was the time when he was supposed to experience some sort of deep epiphany. He should be remembering all the great things he had seen and done during his time on earth. Everything he had achieved in thirty short years; the milestone moments from his childhood and adolescence, the great friendships he had formed over the years, and the joy his work had brought to millions in the past twelve months.

But he wasn’t thinking about any of that. There were no cherished memories or profound realizations. His only thoughts centered on his imminent death here at the Met Gala, one of many to be brutally slaughtered at the world’s most exclusive social event, and how it would be overshadowed by those deemed more important. All these undeserving stars who were more famous than he could ever hope to be, the vapid models and overpaid actors and fashion industry phonies currently being exterminated in this mass celebrity genocide. They would be mourned, while he would be forgotten.

Eric may have been a preternatural talent whose words had touched the lives of an entire generation of cinemagoers, but this was a narrative in which he was destined to end up as little more than an anonymous extra.

Time resumed its normal speed, and the wall of flame swallowed him whole. The searing heat passed straight through him. His skin melted away, and his hair singed off like dandelion spores. His twenty thousand dollar tailored Armani suit may as well have been made from newspaper given how quickly it turned to ash.

He collapsed to the floor, the brief stab of pain giving way to the numbness of shock.

With his final thoughts he could only lament that fact that while he had everything he could ever ask for – worldwide fame, millions of dollars, the respect of his peers and a slew of awards – it was all without meaning. Eric had sold his soul, and now he was going to die alone.

Alone in a roomful of A-listers.