Sooner or later, this happens to the best of them: Ziggy Stardust, Carrie Bradshaw, Andrew Ridgeley. All were valid assumed identities in and of themselves, but all sadly walked the plank in the interests of creative differences and tax write-offs. People die. Especially fake ones. So I'm dead.
That's right, ladies, gentlemen and gentlemen who look like ladies, The B List is biting the big one, meeting its maker, falling off the wagon.
In the interest of bookmarking this fantastic moment in cultural history, my editor suggested that maybe, ingeniously, I should interview myself for the last edition of the B List, have a little left-brain-right-brain tête-á-tête, and look mentally unstable to any who should pass by my window. Full circle, right? I'll make an ass of myself by making an ass of myself. Work with me here.
It all sounded easy enough, until I tried to get that drunk bitch Billy Manes on the cell phone on a Monday morning comedown. All I got were incessant rings, dull pangs of insanity and more incessant rings. But once he did answer, I couldn't shut him up. And I get everybody to shut up. Except Cyndi Lauper.
"So, Mr. Manes, how are you this morning?"
"Frankly, I'm humiliated. I can't remember if I left my left ruby slipper in the limo or in the toilet. Such is the life of a celebutante, I suppose," he spits back up. "Although I bet Paris Hilton has people to find her shoes when she's in so foul a quandary."
"Ah, yes. Paris Hilton. She doesn't get mentioned enough in that goddamn column of yours. There are a series of regulars, really: your Backstreets, your Britneys, your assorted members of Duran Duran. It's all so terribly boring and predictable. Why such cheap reference points for all of your falsified raconteuring?" I grill.
"I beg your pardon?" he pulls the phone out of his ass. "I can't hear you from every hole."
"Anyway, with the B List staring at oblivion, I figured a little bit of respect was due; after all, it's won so many journalistic awards, becoming perhaps the most popular column ever written in our room. Why end it now?"
"Well, frankly, my producers down on Madison Avenue and I decided that it was time for me to pack it in. I mean, it's all been done already. We wanted to go out on a high note," he Wham!s. "And the Spiders From Mars weren't able to keep up with all the drug intake, anyway. They were starting to look tired."
"Speaking of tired," I speak, tiredly, "you're not looking so good these days. It seems that lone dangling cigarette in your column photo -- which I noticed was changed once in Season Two -- has finally caught up with you. You know, you can't be 29 forever. And howsabout a grammar class? You can't make every noun a verb."
"And you can't make every straight man gay for a night. Yadda, yadda, yadda," he yaddas. "And I think I'm looking pretty good for a 70-year-old prostitute. Stop hounding me."
"No can do, Manes. Still got another 300 or so words to drag out of you. That is, if you still have them in you -- I imagine you're not holding much these days. Anyway, let's talk about your seasoned tenure on top of the world, just so you have something of relative size to measure yourself against after your next relationship fails. High points?"
"Probably when I sold my ass and some column space for a trip to New York, like it was really mine to sell." He has no ass. "That, and having a complete emotional breakdown with Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons last year, while breaking up with the same boyfriend for the 37th time. The slime!" he cries from the couch of somebody else's house.
"Aaaaaand, low points." I tried to avoid the subject altogether. Really I did.
"I guess those would have to involve certain 'stretch' weeks when I felt it more appropriate to produce, how do I say it, 'clips episodes' to fill in space. Those awful weeks of dumb pop culture analysis when nobody, I mean nobody, would talk to me. It's hard to write a noncelebrity column without a noncelebrity somewhere in the periphery. I knew I'd hit a real low when I thought about interviewing my dealer for a score," he falls apart, going all E! on me. "The other low point will probably come to be known as this flatulent interview, this very one we're conducting right now."
"Oh, I can think of more than that. Come on. Spill it! Then kill yourself."
"I can't go on!" he overdramatizes, like he always does, swaying and swinging until he falls into the bathtub. Some people are just ridiculous.
"Do you have any scores -- of the printable kind -- to settle?" I must try to rein this flub back in. "I mean, did anybody ever get mad at you?"
"Well, there was Jared Leto in his shaved-eyebrow period. He called me pathetic." He is pathetic. "I don't think people, especially people with publicists, ever quite understood what the B List was all about. I mean, it was completely a farce. It was a joke written in an assumed voice, by me, Billy Manes." He tries to make me take responsibility for this drivel. No chance. "It was a non-column about noncelebrities making non-news. I thought they would understand the irony by the time they came to the end of the world, Orlando, to peddle this week's soy milk or that week's pain/depression relief. I was just illuminating the obvious."
"But now it's all done, and I'll just tuck my tail and fall into my grave plot behind the Dumpster," he cries for help. "I won't ever utter another ironically mean nonword again. It's taken me just to where I want to be -- the toilet. With my shoe! Oh, I found my shoe!"
"Well, it's been nice working with you, Manes, these three years." I'm getting a little sentimental. "I hope you'll save me a seat in hell."
"Half a seat," he snaps, before retreating into the ether. "I love you all. Good night."
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