Chuck Wendig is hosting another of his excellent flash fiction challenges. I haven’t participated in a long time due to various other projects, but I’m trying to get focused on writing flash fiction again. So here is my effort for “Plucked from the Pages of History.” The person (well, people) I chose are more famous than historical, but I couldn’t resist the idea when I got it. At the end of the post, I’ll talk a little bit about where I got the idea, but I want the story to exist on its own first.
“I’m too tired for this,” Stefani says as she kicks off her eight-inch-high stilettos. She throws back a shot of vodka, but even the burn in her esophagus won’t stop the tears forming in her eyes. “I can’t take it anymore. First thing tomorrow, I’m hosting a press conference and coming clean.”
“No!” her manager snaps. “You can’t. It will ruin everything.”
“I’ve spent years pretending to be two different stars at the same time. Now, it’s killing me. Let’s just let the world in on the joke so I can move on with my life. Besides, it will give them something to talk about. I’m not sure I’ve been talked about enough lately.”
“But you can’t! Your other half still has–”
Stefani interrupts him by throwing her glass against the wall.
“Has what? The tour got canceled. Did you see that last pathetic attempt at a show? I was so exhausted, everyone thought I was totally strung out. It was fun for a while, but being two people at once is exhausting.”
“Well, you’re not hosting a press conference.”
“What am I supposed to do? It’s not like anyone will believe Amy just disappeared off the face of the earth.”
“If I may,” a friend says. “I believe Shakespeare had a solution for this.”
Stefani raises an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”
“Romeo and Juliet. She fakes her own death, remember?”
“I also remember that not working out so well for her.
“That’s because she didn’t have your entourage,” the manager says. “Yes, this plan is genius. The only question is, is a drug like that actually available?”
The friend laughs. “This is the 21st century. Of course it is.”
Five days later, Stefani comes to in a swanky hotel room. The first thing she does is flip on the television. It’s all over the news: Amy’s body found dead in her flat, everyone assuming overdose.
Stefani smiles and checks her schedule. New songs to write, a tour date to make, and a meeting to plan her performance at the VMAs. She goes to the bathroom to shower and prepare for the day. Looking in the mirror, she notices hints of roots starting to appear in the mirror.
Maybe I can quit bleaching now, she thinks.
This story doesn’t draw much on truly historical figures, but was inspired by me hearing that Lady Gaga started bleaching her hair because she kept getting confused with Amy Winehouse. With the power of Google Image Search, I did note some striking similarities. And then I couldn’t help but wonder: what if they weren’t actually different people?
So that’s where that one came from. I hope you enjoyed it.