Fame – Fiction


by Katy Bergeron
illustration by John Tescher

I’ve been told I’m going to be famous. By friends, by acquaintances, by ex-boyfriends. Famous for what? I don’t know. I’ve wanted to be an actor, a rock star, a writer, and/or a director at varying times depending on the level of grandeur I was on. Or how much Star Search I’d been watching.

But famous isn’t quite the right word for what I want to be. Anybody can be famous. I could walk into a Dunkin’ Donuts tomorrow, rant about some crank theory no one’s going to understand (“The donuts! Can’t you see?!? They’re for the aliens, not for you!!!”), and waste the place with my hot-off-the-street machine gun. I’d make headlines and be the talk of the Internet for the alien-watchdog freaks. I’d also be put on death row and have a conscience of lead, but, hey, I’d be in/famous. Well-known and respected is a more accurate term for what I want to be. I want my neighbors to nod and say to each other, “That Katy, always knew her performance-art weirdness would make her great. Didya see her in Vanity Fair butt-naked with the word “media whore” painted across her belly? A real genius, that girl.” Or something. I want my friends to speak with pride, “Yes, I’m on a first name basis with Katy.” I want people I despise to say, “Yeah, me and Katy, we go way back,” just so they can drop by my dressing room/book-signing/premiere to show off to their friends only to be thrown out by my bodyguard Thor.

Why do I want to be famous, er, well-known and respected? Why wouldn’t I want to be? I always hear stars (ugh, what a dumb word; it sounds so “golden age of movies”) bitch about how their celebrity gets in the way of their personal lives, how they can’t sit down in a restaurant without being asked for an autograph, how “their public” demands too much from them. My advice? Get out of the business. (You’re in my spot.) Buy a ticket to Nantucket or whatever. Settle down, buy a couple of golden retrievers, pick apples, watch Martha Stewart’s Christmas Special, whatever the hell you’ve always wanted to do. I guarantee, after five, maybe six months, you’ll be bored out of your skull. And you know what else? No one will care. You’re a normal, ordinary person, now, with a normal, ordinary life that nobody’s going to read about in People magazine. Welcome to the world where no one gives a shit about your existence. Now tell me how to get out.

Above all, I want to do something that matters, that will linger after I’m dead, at least for a little while. I don’t want to be tearing my hair out on my deathbed, asking myself, Why? Why did I piddle my life away on meaningless jobs, dead-end relationships, sleeping? I have lived in vain. That’s the blackest fear I have: to have lived for nothing. Fame is the closest thing humanity has to immortality (and if the tag’s a little pricey, I’m willing to bust ass to get it.)