A few minutes later, his phone pinged showing a text. It was Liat’s number, sent by Dwight. A second one followed.
“Little bit. Progress.”
“Good. Go watch yourself. You’re about to be executed.”
“Bugger all. Who cares?”
His phone rang. He’d barely said hello when Dwight started talking.
“I’ve never met anyone as uninterested in his own career as you are.”
“Are there really web sites devoted to my bum?”
“What? Yes. So?”
“So, there are people starving and living on the street and they’re waxing pornographic about my ass? What’s wrong with people?”
“You got me. Nothing better to do. You do have a very nice ass, Austin. But it’s not worth the attention it’s getting.”
“Precisely my point. Am I doing the talk shows and so on?”
“Yes. I’ll coordinate with Sandy and Robert so we can schedule around you. They may want Liat too. Babs is following up on that.”
“I’m sending a schedule. The next week will be rather tight, but we can manage.”
“You take such good care of me. Do I thank you properly for that?”
“All the time, my friend.”
Austin smiled. “Yes, you are my friend. And thank you for that too.”
Dwight cleared his throat. “You’re a good guy, Austin. Don’t ever lose that.”
“If I tried to be an arrogant prick, you’d kick my magnificent bum.”
Dwight laughed. “Yes, I would. Oops, there’s Babs again. Need to go. Night!”
Austin clicked on the TV and channel surfed until he saw his own face staring into the camera, eyes wide, mouth open with surprise. An alien dictator had him prisoner and he’d attempted to escape, but was caught at the last moment. Things were about to get ugly when he worked his technological magic and managed to escape with the dictator’s beautiful daughter in tow. She’d helped him escape, of course, after a night of unbridled passion with The Magician. He dumped her in the next episode, kiting off with some other winsome lass.
“Where do they go, do you suppose?” he mused. “Is there a home for The Magician’s abandoned companions? Do we every fully explain their disappearance?” He thought back to the scripts and decided they didn’t. They skipped time and took him to another location, sans companion. “What a bastard he is.”
He fixed himself some tea and warmed a few leftovers. He wasn’t terribly hungry, but he wanted something to do while he watched The Magician’s antics.
“People actually like this?”
He switched channels and watched a marathon of Bones. He liked the show. At least the characters served a useful purpose. Aside from dropping his pants and, occasionally, saving the human race from their own stupidity, The Magician did nothing noteworthy.
The news came on at eleven. He rarely watched it, since he had to go to bed early.
“The lead story tonight, director Irving Childers storms off the set of The Magician.”
“That’s their lead? There are people dying in the war and they lead off with that? What’s wrong with them?”
“Magician producer, Elaine Vogel, had this to say.”
The picture cut over to Elaine. She was outside the sound stage, smiling. “Mr. Childers is extremely difficult to work with, often changing his mind and having to reshoot frequently. He keeps the actors and crew on edge. After he verbally attacked the show’s star, Austin Templeton, I told him to leave. Austin is a lovely young man, very talented, with a stellar reputation. I couldn’t allow that to continue.” She ended the interview and went back inside.
Austin clicked it off. He couldn’t believe that story was considered that important. His phone rang. He answered, not really paying attention to it.
“Mr. Templeton? Channel Seven news. Could we get a statement about Irving Childers?”
“No. And stop calling. I’m going to bed.” He hung up.
The phone rang again. This time, it was Channel Three. He blocked the call. In the space of five minutes, he had calls from all the major local stations. Disgusted, he turned off his phone and went to bed.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes