Pretty & Famous

“The Spotlight” by Tylea Banks

The Devil comes in different disguises, he could be medium height so you’re staring down at him and he makes it appear Control is in your hands. He has brown skin and wears a black Brooklyn brim hat that hides his eyes and casts shadows to make him look more mysterious. He stares at you to get your attention to let you know he is watching every move you make: the way you walk, the way your thighs rub against one another and the repetition of the way your ass lifts with each step and rests back in place. You give him an attitude and ask him what he is looking at. He’s got you now. He glides over and gives you his proposition:

“I wasn’t really looking at you. I was looking at your body, so I wasn’t really looking at you. But since you said something, I’m going to school you on some things. I don’t have a college degree, but I have a GED, a good enough diploma. I am self-employed. I’m a rapper. I understand you are studying communications and want to be a TV personality. Would you like to be in a music video? You don’t have to dance, you can just stand there. Oh, did I mention I have money? So are you going to cooperate and give me your number? Well you can take mines down. I can make you a star, just cooperate with me…”

And he waits. It only takes a second for you to agree and follow along. He smiles that sinister grin and tells you to bring just you, your body, and a pair of heels; your wardrobe will be waiting for you in the dressing room.

You show up to the video shoot and the only props there are a bright light and a twin mattress covered in piss stains. He throws a bra and thong set looked to be made out of some cheap material, maybe pleather of polyester, and tells you to put it on. “Hurry up, the set goes on in ten minutes. Drink this. It will ease your nerves.” He hands you a red solo cup with a purple fizzy mixture and you take a few sips and let the thick fluid flow down your throat along with your inhibitions. The dressing room turns out to be a grungy bathroom with horrible plumbing and dull lighting. There is no mirror so you can’t see what you are about to become. When you come back to the set, the pissy mattress is covered with a white sheet and his boys begin to surround you like a pack of hyenas waiting to sink their teeth into a young gazelle roaming aimlessly in an open plain. A video camera stands on a tripod in front of the room; there’s no director behind the lens. Your body is too numb to feel any fear and your body slowly shuts down from that purple lean. There is no music except for the melodic tune of the Devil and his demons chanting, “Dance for us baby girl; this is your moment of fame”, as they throw Franklins and Jefferson’s at you.

The codeine got you faded, faded, faded, and you succumb to the hungry hyenas and let them take a bite and tear your flesh apart. You wake up a few hours later, head heavy as you try to lift it off the red spotted sheets. Your body aches with pain and regret. It is all quiet on the set and the only thing that remains is the bright light focused on you. Franklins and Jefferson’s are scattered on the floor and you realize the money is only enough to buy you lunch and dinner for the rest of the week.