4 months ago

Caught On Tape

Todd I just became the

Todd I just became the lead story on CNN. Fox News has a therapist analyzing what happened, and TMZ is running the same clip of me over and over, ad nauseum. It’s all lies, of course. But it doesn’t matter because most people don’t have an appetite for the truth, anyway; in a sense, it’s like an unwelcome guest at a dinner party. What people want is gossip, rumor, and innuendo. And the media is more than happy to oblige. Anything to goose their fucking ratings. Jordan Ray, my public relations agent, a man I pay an obscene amount of money―which is most of the money he earns―is sitting across from me. He seems to think I’m in need of some damage control. We’ve been working together since the day my career took off, six years ago. And the truth is that he has gotten me out of a lot of situations I didn’t think even a fairy godmother could extricate me from. But this time, I don’t agree with how he wants to handle it. This…this…shit I’m seeing on Access Hollywood―the only thing I can do is scream at the ninety-two-inch screen mounted over the marble fireplace in my office. And I still don’t feel any better afterwards. Jordan patiently waits, tapping his fingers on the shiny mahogany. It’s obvious from the expression on his face that he has something to say. But I’m not interested in that right at the moment; I’m still pissed off and need to get the anger out of my system. “Go fuck yourself!” I scream at the screen, loud enough to practically blow it off the wall. Jordan clears his throat, and I finally stop pacing and join him at the table. I nod, as if to say, go ahead, take your best shot. And he does. “I tried to stop you. You couldn’t keep your fucking hands to yourself?” Jordan yells as he stands and begins pacing the length of the room. I’m so not in the mood to listen to this. I want to walk around the table, pick him up by the lapels of his thousand-dollar suit and toss him out the window. Yeah, I know, he’s my best friend and the best PR man in town. I also know I’m lucky to have him. But what he’s telling me to do…it just doesn’t work for me. “Jordan,” I say in my most commanding voice before giving a slight look at the chair.

It’s all I need to do. With that one gesture, I communicate that he needs to shut up, sit down, and listen to me―I’m an actor, so I know how to command any situation. I’m good at what I do, and he stops and sits. “So, how bad is it?” I ask. “Bad” is Jordan’s terse reply. “I’m gonna need more specifics,” I say. “On a scale of one to ten, where are we at?” Jordan places his hands on the desk and looks into his palms as if the answer will magically write itself in the air in front of me. “I’d say you need to lay low, leave town, go visit a sick relative, go on vacation, take some downtime. That bad.” “Fuck,” I shake my head, “It wasn’t my fault.” “Yeah, well, it doesn’t look that way— “ “Make this go away,” I interrupt him before he can say anything else. “Are you keeping up with me here? I need you to have this entire saga dry up and disappear.” “It will be much easier if you aren’t around, where the paparazzi can follow your every move,” Jordan responds. I just stare at him in disbelief. “You’re a distraction, Todd. We just need you out of the picture for a while if we’re going to do our job.” This doesn’t sit well with me. Jordan knows what really happened, and he needs to figure out a way to get the truth out, not the version of the ‘truth’ that’s playing all over TV and YouTube. I’m fed up. Enough. “Just make it go away!” I yell and storm out of the room. Walking down the long corridor of my penthouse apartment, I glance at the dozens of photos of me hanging on the walls. Six years ago, I was a struggling actor. Now, I’m on top―and when you’re on top, there’s always someone who wants to take you down. But I’m not going quietly. Not me. I yank out my phone and give a good hard swipe to the right. Pulling up my Twitter feed, I can see it’s not good. “Damn, word spreads fast.” I can’t believe it. It’s a hashtag fiesta: #ToddSucks, #LoserTodd, and what instantly becomes my personal favorite, #CLIT, which apparently stands for, Chump, Loser, Idiot, Todd.

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