The TV Star

The star was to appear in a special live program, at 9 p.m. sharp. For a week now, every evening, the announcer of the popular channel 7 informed the viewers that on Tuesday night they will see Him singing, dancing, reciting, in a word, performing; Him, the adored, beloved, admired artist, the Star. No one should forget to buy a TV, pay the cable fee and the electricity, mend the armchair, get the peanuts and the beer ready, program the VCR, adjust the antenna, the plug, the contrast and the spectacles, in order to enjoy, watch, record and worship Him at 9 p.m. sharp, in the "Performance" program on channel 7. It was 8:40 p.m. and the Star was still at the hairdresser's, waiting to have his curl done, the one that was to hang rebelliously in the middle of his forehead. At 8:50 p.m., he was speeding in a yellow cab towards the P.B.C. TV central studios. The set was ready for broadcasting, the lights were shedding a dazzling light, the dancers were in their positions, the tapes prepared, the video cameras in place, the doors locked. The cameramen, their headphones on, were watching closely the red light that was to be on any minute now. The program host was carefully redoing the contour of her lips with lipstick, trying to quell her emotions at the thought that in a few moments she will be facing Him in flesh and blood! The stage director was at the studio entrance door waiting for the Star and biting his nails anxiously … In front of the TVs, millions of spectators were arranging their cushions, the sound, the ashtrays, the hearing aids, were turning off lamps, unplugging telephones, and were restlessly watching the diet chocolate ads. The cab stopped abruptly in front of the P.B.C. Studios entrance. The meter said $9.50. The Star handed the driver a pink $50 banknote. "Sorry, man, I haven't got change," the driver said politely with a strong Haitian accent. "Well," said the Star trying to come up with a solution, but as he found none, he added: "You know something, wait for me here. I'll be back in a quarter of an hour and then you'll take me downtown." "I can't wait, man. I wanna be home by 9. My favorite actor will be on P.B.C., and I wouldn't miss him for the world!…" "Really?" said the Star moved. "If that's so, then here, man, keep the fifty and hurry! We may meet again…" "Fifty?! All right!… Then I'll wait for you as long as it takes! Fuck the clown!…"

by Petre Bokor (b. 1940)