Short Story: The Edge of Hollywood

There lives a man on the edge of Hollywood, in both the figurative and literally sense. His home street does not intersect Vine at any point. If he squints through some binoculars, he may be able to make out the “OLLYWOOD” sign. Maybe, just maybe, he gets invited to some big premiere event. He is a celebrity interviewer. He bounced around the various infotainment programs: he’s had Access, been an Insider, and had fun Tonight. He’s chatted with the Next Big Thing, The Cute Little Number, and The Aging Action Star.

You wouldn’t recognize him if he walked right next to you. But that didn’t worry him. H didn’t enter the field for fame or fortune. He didn’t even enter the field to rub elbows with those who have fame or fortune. He entered the field because people always used to say he was a good listener. This got him his prom date when she cried on his shoulder about how her boyfriend didn’t respect her. It got him his first interview job, as the state university’s TV correspondent, after he listened to a friend in the theater department complain about the lack of skilled applicants. Though the current job he got through conventional means, he is able to survive just because he listens.

To the interviewer, it does not matter that his subjects often get his name wrong. Or that they show up thirty minutes late. Sitting in a chair, nodding along with the sometimes canned answers, are the simple pleasures he gets. And when it comes time, he likes to ask the big question. He never knows what the big question is before the interview. But as soon as the celebrity opens his or her mouth, he gets enlightened. He asks questions that lead up to that big question, which is often what garners respect from the industry. But when he drops the bomb of the big question that is what often gets him fired or talked to.

The question has no malice behind it. He isn’t trying to hurt the celebrity. But he is told by producers, handlers, and the cameraman that the question isn’t something the public wants to hear. Who cares how the celebrity dealt with childhood obesity? What it felt like to graduate college? Those are mundane topics for a mundane day. Not for the celebrity promoting the latest movie, show, or magazine cover (where inside, they talk about this sorta stuff, but only because their publicist said it would be good PR). So, he backs down from those sorts of questions and resumes inquiring about the celebrity’s costar. Everything in its proper place, he thinks.

In the end, the interviewer does his job and does it well. He goes home, on his street that does not intersect Vine, back to his life, which only touches upon Hollywood. He hangs out with his friends, who don’t mind when he puts his listening skills to use on them, and he laughs. And when the stars come out at night, he knows they are the true luminaries in this town.

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