Red was feeling blue. His best girl had dumped him for a couple of Internet boyfriends who were actually being role-played or stage-managed or whatever by IRL grandmothers, and the once-booming economy had entered another one of those goddamn depressions. With his portfolio taking a hit, it might be 50 or 60 years before he could retire. Wasn’t that a shame? All he’d ever wanted since he hit puberty was the opportunity to leave the rat race, call it a career, go oh-so-gently into a permanent good night. Now he was going to have to keep on keeping on for as long as it took to…what, exactly?
His favorite actress had been in the news a lot this week. She’d written a tell-all book about how rotten her life had been, even though it was probably better than the lives of most of her fans. “I don’t think anyone could ever understand what it feels like to be me,” she told an interviewer, who nodded in vacuous acquiescence.
Although he was loath to question one of his idols, Red believed that he understood what it felt like to be the actress. He believed this because he often daydreamed that he was actually living her life instead of his, a glamorous existence filled with rubies and opals and amethysts and the like. The actress, who had staged an unsuccessful suicide attempt earlier that year, didn’t have to go around her mansion crushing silverfish between her thumb and forefinger or scraping flakes of dried-up cum off tiles that were no longer affixed to the floor. Nor, he assumed, did the actress receive rejection letters from companies to which she hadn’t applied, let alone threatening calls from debt collectors who were seeking repayment of all the fraudulent charges her last girlfriend had incurred on her Household Bank Visa card.
Red, of course, was a totally unrelatable character. Anyone reading about his pathetic struggles–from which he learned nothing and grew not so much as a single millimeter–would put his story aside and reach for the actress’ autobiography. Her story was a lot more fun, more “now,” more “with it”–knowhutimean?