“Dani! Dani! Turn on the TV, you will never guess what’s on!”
Half asleep, Dani scrubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand as she tried to make sense of what Becky was telling her. “Television? What? What time is it?”
“I don’t know, why does that matter? Hurry! Channel eleven!”
Groping on the nightstand, nearly oversetting her glass of water, she finally found the remote and flicked on the television.
“I’m supposed to be watching a Pizza Hut commercial?” Dani was having a hard time making sense of what was going on. A glance at the bedside clock told her it was five forty-five in the morning. What on earth was going on?
“Just wait.” Becky’s voice was brimming with excitement, and something else…amusement? “Just wait a sec.”
The commercial ended in a flourish of animated pizza slices capering across the screen, and in the next moment she was watching the local morning news.
“Just before we went on break, we were telling you about a local man who has broken a world record.” Dani watched the pretty blond anchorwoman with sleep gummed eyes. The picture changed to show the field reporter, garbed in a yellow rain slicker, talking rapidly into the microphone as rain dripped from his hood and down the bridge of his nose.
“Yes, thank you Patty, we’re here in North Tacoma with local resident Jim Bobean.” The camera swung over to showcase a young man, baseball cap pulled low over his ears, blue eyes snapping and grin stretching from ear to ear. He was fairly handsome, if you liked broken noses. He was also very, very familiar. Dani’s heart just about stopped in her chest. In her ear, Becky was going into paroxysms of malicious glee. “Can you beleive it, Dani? Can you beleive it?”
“What on earth is going on?” Dani was still trying to catch her breath. So far, it wasn’t working very well. The camera panned back from Jim’s grinning face to show that he was holding a framed certificate. The reporter was going on about something, but Dani couldn’t hear through the ringing that seemed to have taken up residence in her ears. Becky was practically shouting. “Dani! Can you beleive it? Jeez, he looks good. How long has it been, anyway?”
“I…I…what on EARTH? This is the last thing I expected to wake up to this morning. What the hell is going on? Why is Jim on TV?” Dani was almost spluttering. The TV camera backed up even further to display a huge silver blob there behind Jim. Now that Jim wasn’t big as life splashed across her monitor, she was able to pick up the thread of the reporter’s conversation with Jim.
“So how does it feel to break a world record, Jim?”
“Well, ya know. It was hard, real hard, ya know? I mean, this here’s been a life-long project, ya know? I mean, I done gave up a buncha things in life just so’s I could keep working towards it. I’m just really proud that everything I done sacrificed been worth it, ya know? Real proud.”
Dani experienced a sick feeling, right in her stomach. She remembered their fights, like they’d happened yesterday.
“You love that thing more than you love me, Jim! I could walk out of here right now, and as long as you had that…that…THING, you wouldn’t even notice!”
“Now, now, baby, that ain’t true! I love you! I just, ya know, I just gotta so this, ya know? I gotta break the record! I gotta leave my mark!”
And now, here it was, all over again.
The television picture panned around the neighborhood. The streets were lined with people, nudging each other and pointing at the huge silver blob on Jim’s lawn. Dani almost choked on her laughter, remembering how Jim had always wanted to be famous, and how certain he was that his project was going to get it for him.
The reporter was wrapping up his interview with Jim. They had moved over close to the blob, and Jim was nodding and bobbing his head to what the reporter was saying. They shook hands, and then the camera panned over to the blob and focused, capturing an image of a smiling Jim giving the thumbs up to the camera, right next to his world-record-breaking, relationship-ruining, lifetime-consuming…tin foil ball. The damn thing was bigger than he was.
He’d always been after notoriety with that thing, Dani thought. She flopped back on her bed, just remembering that Becky was on the phone. “Holy shit.”
“I know, huh!” Becky was practically peeing her pants. “I can’t beleive that! Can you beleive it? I mean, seriously! You guys coulda got married! You coulda been someone famous! You coulda been, like, a celebrity! I don’t understand why….” Her voice cut off as Dani hung up and tossed the phone in the corner.
True, she and Jim could have been married. It would have been something, all right. Mrs. World’s Biggest Tinfoil Ball. She snorted with laughter, climbed back under the covers, and snuggled back into her pillow. The World’s Biggest Tinfoil Ball, for the World’s Biggest Jackass. Fitting, indeed.
Just. Do. It.
Topic: Your ex becomes a celebrity