I woke up on a couch, a pizza box on my stomach, some blue eye-shadow smeared in my dark green hair, in nothing but my underwear and a black t-shirt. With an alarm clock blaring annoyingly in my ear, and my brother standing over me.
“Aviva!” he shouted, his voice echoing off of the concrete ceiling of his apartment and nearly bursting my eardrums. Just like that clock that was still beeping in his hands. “You’ve done it again, don’t you have your own apartment? Oh, I’m sorry, I mean, your own mansion?”
I slowly pulled myself up from the couch cushions, blinking. I felt like my limbs didn’t really belong to me and every time I moved a limb, my joints twitched in pain. It wasn’t enough hurt to complain about - I knew that if I did that, I would bring on more anger from my older, more ‘mature’ brother, Garrison.
I rolled my eyes, throwing my legs over the side of the couch. Time to explain myself for the third time this week. By now, he should get the deal. I decided to go with the usual excuse, “Look, I was drunk. I needed a place to crash that was near the bar. That bartender - the one you used to date, Everlee? - she kicked me out. I couldn’t call my limo, because I was pick-pocketed a ways back. No phone.”
“And yet you had enough money to drink away half of the bar? Ev’s already had a hard time, having to deal with her father leaving them. She just had to bail her sister out of jail-”
“Do I look like I care, Garrison?”
“You should care!” He yelled as I stumbled over to his kitchen, still in my underwear, my shoulder-length hair stuck in my bra-strap.
Garrison’s apartment was four roomed, extremely neat, and if you asked me, beyond unstylish. I could tell, in every room, from the kitchen to the guest bedroom where a drunk me usually stayed, that this apartment had not had the pleasure of a woman’s touch. The living room was painted a dark shade of brown, the couch I was lying on being about the same shade as shi- oh, excuse me. Horse shit.
The mantle of the fireplace was white - it’s a miracle that he hadn’t chosen black - and decorated with assorted picture frames; photos of me as a child, of Garrison’s fiancee, Madeline, and of - surprise, surprise - my brother’s cherished bulldog, Sphinx.
Garrison could do much better than this. He was a lawyer, and made thousands, maybe even millions of dollars per pay-check. And yet he refused to spend that money on a home improvement stylist and a real house. Instead, he used it to buy expensive presents for Madeline, a jeweled collar for Sphinx, classical music concerts - and the last part really wounded me.
Garrison never came to my concerts.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, due to my brother’s screaming, my name is Aviva Marie Thatcher, and I am a popstar. Or, rather, I was a popstar. Things have changed since 2006. When you’re a cute, blonde Disney starlet with the Walt Disney company trying to keep up your good-girl reputation, you learn a few things. Sneaking around; occasionally doing insane things that drive the reporters nuts.
But as soon as your last season on that dreadful sit-com that you’ve been trying to get out of airs, you have a chance to go wild.
That’s what I did.
My agent says that maybe I went a little too wild. But another thing that you learn in this career is that if you throw a hissy fit from time to time, break up with you internet-famous boyfriend, or bite a bat’s head off at a concert or two, you can keep fans rolling in.
And all of that money goes to either dying my hair another crazy color, or, as Garrison said, buying out half of a bar.
I’ve got life figured out, to say the least.
Garrison doesn’t think so.
“Aviva, girls look up to you! Some have been with you since the beginning, and stuck with you even when you turned into-” Garrison looked me up and down, making expansive hand gestures to my bright pink underwear and green hair. “-this.”
I snorted, opening the fridge. “That girl on the sit-com? With the sunshine and rainbows and freakin’ UNICORNS? That wasn’t me. It was a script. And you remember what happened in the end of that last season, don’t you? We all cried when we watched it.” I slammed the fridge’s door shut, holding a beer bottle.
“Little Anita Crammer is threatened with hardships throughout the whole season. Her beloved dog dies.” I motioned to Sphinx’s picture, which had been made into a magnet and placed on the fridge. “Her girlfriend breaks up with her, her parents are divorced, and by the time the last season ends-” I took the magnet off of the fridge and threw it on the floor, making a puppy-dog face at Garrison. “-Anita is a wreck. A bad girl. That was the only season that had the true me in it.”
I unscrewed the cap of the beer - it was already opened - and chugged a quarter of it down in a great big gulp. Wrinkling my nose as the cold alcohol swirled past my front teeth, I coughed. “The only difference between me and that Anita is the fact that I would not be sad if Sphinx died.”
Just as I said that, the old dog came ambling in, tongue hanging out and jeweled collar jingling against his tags. “Ain’t that right, Sphinxy Winksy?”
Sphinx took one look at me, growled, and then licked my foot. “Thank you for expressing your undying hate,” I muttered, bending down and ruffling his pointy ears. He gave a great big doggy smile, spittle dripping from his chops.
Garrison crossed his arms, glaring at me. “Sometimes I wish you hadn’t revealed the real you, Aviva.”
“You know what? Me too,” I said, throwing my arms out. “I’ll go back to my mansion now, I suppose. Charlotte is supposed to be there to dye my hair again. I do hope you like black.”
“Hold it right there, Av.” Garrison tapped his watch. “Your agent called today, around one o’clock p.m.” I looked at the clock above the kitchen sink, running my fingers through my green hair. Had I seriously been out for that long? That must explain why my underwear stank of day-old pizza stains. You’d think my own brother would have the courage to change my clothes, since he cared so much about how I look these days.
I sighed. “Yeah, and what did the donkey have to say?”
“Thank you for refraining from cursing,” Garrison snapped. “He said that he needed to meet you at the studio. Something about collaborating with a band.”
“Oh, goody goody,” I squealed sarcastically, clapping my hands. “I get to socialize with people. And knowing that jack wa- oh, I’m sorry, jerk, it’s probably a boyband.”
Garrison knelt down and picked up Sphinx, kissing the dog between his ears. I gagged, rolling my eyes. The love he had for that damn dog…. “He said you’d better be there by six o’clock. He mentioned going out to dinner with them, so that you could get an idea on what songs you may or may not be writing.”
I narrowed my eyes at the clock again. Hmph. Five forty five. I could make it in that time. All I needed was my…. “OK. Where are my pants?”