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I think its time for me to interview Bingham. He knows so much about me but I don't know anything about him that I can't see in a teen magazine. We probably have about half an hour left before he is swept away into the arms of thousands of new fans. Millions if I'm being honest. Which I'm not. I know how this goes. The world gets some new hotness and chews them up.
But not me. Eight years running, bitch.
“So, Tony” I say. “How is it that I haven't heard of you until now?” He bites his bottom lip at the corner and squints his eyes. I need to practice that look.
“Low profile, I guess” he mumbles. I hear his heart skip a beat. I can see the molecules in his body overheating which will cause him to sweat in less than 27 seconds. His pupils dilate which means...nothing. I'm making this up. I can't hear his heartbeat. I don't have that power. But I can spot when someone is dodging an answer. I'm the master of it.
“Low profile, huh?” I say. This guy is being weird. “So where were you and your lady heading when you had an accident?”
“Excuse me?” he asks.
“When you two got into the accident that killed her” I say. I know it sounds like I'm being rough but its for his own good. Tough love they call it. I did it for Zazz years ago when I told him the importance of ball shaving. “Where where you headed?”
“That's a rather personal question.”
“Its nothing compared to what you're gonna be asked by those vultures outside” I tell him. “Look. I mean listen. Those people are gonna eat you alive. You're the sexiest man alive...this year.” Had to add that last part. “They are going to want to know what you eat for breakfast. If you recycle. Who you're fucking. How often. For how long. If you've ever been arrested. Why? How often you call your mother? If your father ever molested you.”
“No one wants to know that” Bingham says. He stands and runs his fingers through his hair. “No one could possibly want to know that much about me.”
“What's my favorite drink?” I ask him.
“Whichever is sponsoring you at the moment.”
“My favorite color?”
“My shoe size?”
“11...but honestly those look like 10's.”
“How did I meet my lady?”
“She ran your fan club and after...wait. Where is this headed?”
“You and I just met and you know that much about me” I tell him. “Where was I born?”
“Two older brothers. Your mother raised all of you. You found out about your father and other brother Dick Danger a few years back. Damn it.”
“My real name?”
“Now, Tony” I say. “Where were you and your lady headed when she died?”
“To her...Christ. To her mum's. Her mum's place” he says. “She...uh, she wanted to be with family. Her family” he says. He sits back down. “She needed some time. Some space.”
“I...I don't want to get into it, Johnny” he says.
“You have to” I say. “If you can't tell the only superhero in the world, who can you tell?”
“Does you brother Dick count as number two?” he asks. Smart ass.
“Nope” I say. “His powers only work on me” I remind him. “You don't have to answer my question but you should. One of the most appealing things about you is your story and your story is tragic as fuck from what I know.”
“I don't want to share my life” he says. “Not all of it.”
“You're don't have to” I tell him. “But if you're gonna be in the public eye for the next year you're seriously gonna have to work on hiding your gay.”
“What?! That's absurd!”
“You and your lady were splitting up, right?” I ask. He doesn't say anything. “You told her or she found out that you swung the other way and she wanted to leave you. On the way to her moms place you got into an accident.”
“She grabbed the wheel.”
“She...she grabbed the wheel. She was...she was afraid of what people, her friends and family, would say about her. She shouted at me. She said that I lied to her and that she hated me. She said she hated me, Johnny.” Oh, no. His eyes are watering. “I didn't want to lie to her anymore. You understand, right? I never slept around on her. With men. Or women.”
“I've slept around on my lady a couple of times” I admit. “She got me back though. Fucking Tobie McGuire. But, like, not since we had Milly.”
“Such a beautiful daughter her” he says. “What does her name mean?”
“Mary Lucille” I tell him. “You knew that though.”
“Look, whether or not you like to fuck guys is no one's business until you make it” I say. “The world is changing and eventually you and whatever lucky guy you choose will be able to walk around doing all kinds of gay things together.”
“Gay things?” he asks. “What are gay things?”
“If I gotta tell you you've been doing it wrong” I say. “But don't believe anything James Franco tells you. He's a liar!”
“So you won't say anything?”
“Hell no” I say. “Be gay. More poontang for me, I say. Its gonna break a lot of hearts though. Don't make that face. Its part of having the crown. 'Sexiest Man Alive.' Has it sunk in yet?”
“Not quite” he says. “It seems surreal, right? How is a human supposed to react to that? How have you done it for so many years? I know you're a superhero...”
“The only one.”
“...but even you must feel the pressure of it.”
“I got spoiled” I say. “The first time I won it I was excited. The second time shocked. The third...meh. Spoiled. But I have to say when I found out that I lost it to you I got upset.”
“Oh, yeah” I say. “Ruined a coach. But that's in the past. You're the future. For the next year.” Tony laughs. I made him laugh! “When you have interviews for the next few weeks just keep the story going. Your lady died in a wreck. If it makes you cry, just cry. If you get angry use it. And when you feel like bursting out of the closet I got someone I could hook you up with.”
“Zazz isn't gay” Tony says.
“That's what he wants us to think” I say. “He's gay as the day is long. I'll prove it one day. Hide a male model in his bathroom or something. Next thing you know...butt sex.”
“I don't think that's how this works” he says.
“You're a cool guy, Bingham” I say. “I was expecting to hate your guts and want to throw you into the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Finished with the atmosphere I see”
“It got old” I say. “But here we are sitting here all alone in a beautiful establishment with a melted spoon and your homosexuality.” He laughs again. “You ever need any help with these animals you give me a call, okay?” I take his phone and enter in my personal phone number. “But don't call on Wednesdays between 9 and 10. That is Wild Wednesday. Private time between me and Ronica. We get nasty.”
“Really nasty. Its almost like I can hear the ghosts of my ancestors crying in the wind they're so ashamed of the things I am doing with my lady.”
“I get it.”
“I understand, Johnny.”
“Just making sure” I say. “Now let's go out there and dazzle the shit out of them.” I give Bingham a hug and smack him on the ass. “Make sure you take some pictures with my lady and friends. Maybe I'll get some points and have some Dirty Thursdays.”
“Deal” Bingham says.
We head outside to the cameras and cheers. I let Bingham have the spotlight. I've had it long enough. And truth be told, I'll have it back soon enough. Marilyn Monroe once said “Fame doesn't fulfill you. It warms you a bit, but that warmth is temporary.” Then she died on pills craving love from politicians, actors, and athletes. Well, Johnny Panic says “Be happy. Fuck when you can. Fight when you have to. And children are the future.”
“What did you learn?” Ronica asks me as she, Milly, Aimee, and Zazz get into The Beast.
“I'll tell you when we get home” I say. What? You think I wouldn't tell my lady about this?
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