Thursday, June 22, 2017

Story 191: You’ll Only Really Be Famous After You’re Dead

            “What am I doing wrong?”  Friend 1 asked Friend 2.
            Friend 2 was in the middle of constructing a very convoluted and unstable medieval society and could not afford to be distracted.  “You’re gonna have to be specific: wrong about what, your life path?  Your decision to move to a suburb instead of an urb?  Having a crush on your co-worker?  Your career choice?  Your haircut?  Your – ”
            “Knock it off, you know what I mean!”
            It seemed that the world-building would have to wait until a more opportune time, sigh.  “I really don’t, there’re just too many choices.”
            “You’re hilarious.  I’m talking about my artwork!”
            “Oh, that again.”
            “Why aren’t I famous and making a billion dollars by now?!  I’ve been at it my whole life!  Practically.  Why does no one recognize my talent?!”
            “Maybe because you don’t have any.  Sorry, that was just a reflex, I didn’t mean it.”
            Anyway, I’ve done all I can possibly do to push my works of genius onto the unsuspecting public, I’ve advertised myself like crazy, I’ve built such an online platform that I could take a nose dive off it – short of busking in the street and throwing my paintings at people, what else can I do to make any kind of money off my only life skill?!”
            Friend 2 gave this a few moments of actual serious consideration.  “Well, you know most artists are only truly famous after they’re dead, so maybe you should just die.”
            “You’re really sick sometimes, I feel obligated to point out.”
            “Oh, I forgot the air quotes; I meant ‘die.’”  She did the air quotes this time.  “As in, not really dead, but your online audience thinks you are.  A social media death, if you will.”
            “I’m not sure where you’re going with this.”
         “You have all your stuff for sale on your Web site and you’re always on all those other networks, right?  So, once it’s announced all over there that you’re dead, what’s online is as real as reality and your work will be worth a fortune because now it’s tragic.”
            “I’m pretty certain that’s considered fraud.”
            “Not if someone else is the one saying it and you’re not involved.  Then you come back later, say it was all a mistake that that someone else made, and your work will sell even more since they’ll be post-resurrection.”
            “I don’t know, it all seems so… underhanded.”
            “It is, but do you want results or not?  You also probably want to hire a stranger to do this for you – I’d do it for free, but the authorities’d probably trace it back to you.”
            “If I pay someone they’ll trace it back to me, too!”
            “Good point.  Maybe find someone who’ll do it pro bono – ooh, I know a guy I’m going to blackmail, this’ll be perfect!”
            Friend 2 arrived at Friend 1’s apartment.  “So – how’s life in the great beyond?”
          “Terrible.  That guy you made me give all my passwords to so he could hack my accounts?  He’s absolutely awful.  What exactly do you have on him?”
        “Everything.  He did great work, though – you’re officially dead as far as cyberspace is concerned.”
            “I know, and I feel miserable.  All my friends and relatives are freaking out!”
            “Oh, you actually have real friends online?”
            “Yes!  Why, don’t you?”
           “Heck no – I don’t want any of them knowing my business.  Total strangers, though, they’re cool.”
            “I should’ve known this’d happen before I went along with your stupid idea!”
            “I resent that; you have results, don’t you?  Isn’t the money rolling on in as we speak?”
           “No!  It isn’t rolling on anywhere!  My bank account is frozen while my family is trying to habeas my corpus!”
            “Ohhhhh…. But you’re stuff’s selling like hotcakes, right?”
            One painting sold.”
            “See!  That was one more than you’d sold last week!  You’re making progress!”
          “I’m ending this: I’m coming back to life, I'm confessing all, I’m going to jail, and this nightmare will all be over.”
            “Let’s not be hasty now – you wouldn’t want the authorities tracing this back to me, would you?  I thought we discussed this.”
            “I would want it traced back to you!  You and your… consultant!  I can’t believe I let you convince me this was any sort of good!”
            “Well, you weren’t famous before, and now you’ll be so famous that you’ll probably have a court television show based on you.  I honestly don’t understand why people always complain when they get exactly what they want.”