Wake Me Up When I’m Famous
“Who the hell are all these people and what are they doing in our house?”
“All these people? It’s only five friends in my house. They wanted to meet you. They’ve read all your books and wanted to meet the famous Santiago. I met them at the bookstore when I was going over the information for your reading Saturday with the manager. You were suppose to have been there.”
“Wait! What reading? When? Where? First, why is this mob of strangers here?”
“They saw me with one of your posters and asked if I knew you. I said not only do I know you but we live together,” he continued. “They asked if I could introduce them to you. I told them yes to follow me here.”
“You invite a bunch of strangers here? You don’t know who these people are. They could be escapees from some psychopath support group. Maybe they’re Republicans or Christians out to kill me for my writing for all you know. Like the Sandman Muskey incident with the Iranian Muslims.”
“You mean Salman Rushdie?”
“Ya, him too.”
“That imagination of yours, running wild. You’re so dramatic. Why do you hide from the world? Fame isn’t like a tattoo, it doesn’t stick around for long.”
“So now you want me to get a famous tattoo?”
“What? No! You know what I mean. Don’t start with that shit. Come in the living room and meet them. Three of them work at the bookstore. It could be good for book sales. Now put on some clothes. They brought a bottle of Johnny Black and they have some Cocaine. Hurry up!”
Damn it! My life has taken a turn down the wrong street. There was a time when people did all they could to ignore me. Now I’m some writer slob doing public readings to sell a few books.
I don’t enjoy reading my own work, especially in public out loud. It scares the shit out of me. There’s times when I read something I don’t remember writing. It isn’t familiar to me at all. It’s a creepy feeling as though someone is channeling their thoughts through me.
And then I have to autograph the books as well.
“Can you sign it to my good friend Cecil? Always a pleasure to see you.”
“Sign it Desdemona you’ve ruined me for any other womman.”
“Desdemona. Othello’s wife was named Desdemona,” I tell her.
“Who? Wait, you spelled my name wrong.”
So I write what they ask me to write for a couple of bucks and an afternoon at the bar with Chloe when we are done. She loves the attention and answers most of the questions people ask. I just sit there, smile and shake my head yes. People buy me drinks and tell me how much they enjoy my writing. Chloe doesn’t say a word about me getting drunk, she’s too busy being my agent. I think I pay her but I’m not sure how much.
I walk in the living room to meet my admirers.
A horn from a semi shakes me awake from my dream. Good, it was just a nightmare. Back to sleep. Wake me up when I’m famous.
“You have very little to do with fame. You’re not the one who makes you famous, it’s the people who like what you do.”