By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
“So what’s wrong with her?”
“What is that?”
“I don’t even know! It’s in the tissues or something. She looks kind of like a monster — like she’s rotting away.”
“If I ever get anything like that, promise to shoot me.”
“After I fuck you. Or maybe during.”
She swatted at him as they got into the Town Car. When it pulled up to the hotel, the photographers shouted their names in a frenzy. Alf Lanier, a younger movie star in his own right and a friend of both, nudged his way over, doing jester shtick as the trio posed in a seizure of strobes.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” asked Kit, playfully sotto.
“Isn’t this the Michael J. Fox thing?” said Alf.
“You are such an asshole,” said Viv, with a scampish smile.
“You stupid cunt,” said Kit to Alf, whispering in his ear to be heard above the vulturazzi. “Didn’t you know this was the Lymphoma Costume Ball?”
“You guys better shut up!” said Viv, enjoying their banter.
Alf looked outraged and shot back to Kit: “This is the cystic fibrosis-autism thing, you insensitive prick.”
“Oh shit,” said the superstar, contritely. “I fucked up. But are you sure this isn’t the bipolar Lou Gehrig tit cancer monkeypox telethon?”
They went on like that as Viv dragged them into the ballroom.
“He’s been voted People magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ more times than anyone on the planet — and he can type too. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome . . . Kit Lightfoot!”
The supernova took the stage with his patented self-effacing panther walk. The band raucously played the well-known theme from an early megahit. There was a large contingent of fans and screamers toward the front.
They embraced. After the applause died down, Jay did his jokey debonair thing. “Those screams — if our viewers at home are wondering — are partially for me. Something in the aftershave.”
Laughter. More swoons, hoots, and hollers.
“All right,” Jay chastised. “That’s enough now!”
He turned to his handsome guest. “So how the hell are ya?”
Hair-trigger whoops came before he could answer. Kit raised an eyebrow at the audience and chuckled. A few isolated screams.
“I’m great. I’m great, Jay.”
First words greeted by more electric commotion (everyone was having fun, and fun was what it was all about) which gradually though never completely faded away.
“I saw you at a benefit last week,” said Jay.
“For scleroderma,” said Kit, nodding.
“Yes. For a lovely lady who Mavis, my wife, has actually known for years — Char Riordan. They’re doing wonderful research.”
“Making great strides. Do you go to a lot of those things? I would imagine you get asked to lend your name to causes.”
“This business is so frivolous, Jay, and so many of us have been absurdly blessed. I mean, let’s face it, I put on makeup for a living — ”
“You could always work on Santa Monica Boulevard . . .”
“Don’t quit my day job, exactly! But I think we get compensated on such a ridiculous scale, that we’re . . . compelled . . . to do what we can. Otherwise, you’re just a kid in a sandbox. I try to do my share.”
Applause kicked in, soberly encouraged by Jay. “So you went last week — ”
“I had a personal connection. Viv and Char — the woman being honored — are very, very close.”
“That’s of course Viv Wembley,” said Jay, pausing to acknowledge the audience as they whooped and applauded. “In case the folks out there didn’t know,” he added with a wink. “The very lovely, and by the way very funny star of Together. And I want to get to some other things — it’s well-known you have an interest, a long-standing interest, in Buddhism, and you’ve agreed to talk with us a little about that tonight in connection with an upcoming event — which is something you rarely do and I’m thrilled you’re going to enlighten us, so to speak. But first, I’m dying to ask you a question.”
“Someone told me you and Viv have nicknames for each other.”
The audience hooted while Kit squirmed appealingly. “Who told you that?”
“Vee haff ways. Now come on, Kit, tell us what she calls you.”
He hemmed and hawed. The crowd cajoled.
“She calls me Bumpkin.”
The audience let out a happy groan. Warm laughter. Wolf whistles.
“Now come on!” said Jay, admonishing the mob. “I think it’s very sweet.” He turned back to Kit. “She calls you Bumpkin.”
“That’s right, Jay.”
“And . . . what’s your nickname for Viv?”
“I don’t think we should go there.”
The audience protested, then began to plead.
“This is a family show,” Kit added.
Laughter. More pleading. Isolated begging whoops.
“Now, you were supposed to do a cameo on Together — ”
“Jay! I thought we were moving on!”
“We are, but this is important. I heard Viv was mad because that cameo hasn’t yet happened.”
Kit looked at the host with keen-eyed admiration. “Oh, you are good. You are really good.”