When was I famous?
The videotape had been played so many times now that it was in danger of becoming worn out, even though I knew that the odds were that this was the only copy of the tape left in existence. I didn’t even like the film, though I never admitted it I only kept it because I was in the film, hardly the proudest moment of my whole life. I still had my agent’s phone number on speed dial, even though I had no idea why he kept representing me when he hadn’t got me work for nearly three years, and the less said about my Celebrity Big Brother appearance the better.
“More bills darling,” my wife said, sifting through my letters. I had never figured out what it was she was expecting in the post. I worried myself with the realisation that I had no recollection of the last fan letter I had received, bitter at the fact I was the only cast member of The Lost Souls who had vanished into obscurity when it finished. “Jack phoned earlier, said he has a new idea to pitch to you, he wants you to visit him as soon as possible.”
The piece of toast in my mouth was only just rescued from falling on the floor as my mouth fell open in surprise. My agent had a job for me? If anyone else had delivered this piece of information to me I would have taken it with a pinch of salt, but I trusted Kirsten with my life, this was not something she would lie about. My biggest problem was trying to rediscover the location of Jack’s office, written on a piece of paper I wasn’t entirely sure even existed any longer or where it could be if I still had it in my possession. It was only then it crossed my mind to ask my spouse whether she had the address somewhere.
“Sure,” she said absentmindedly as she washed the plates from breakfast. “I wrote them on the piece of paper on the desk in the hallway. Oh, and Alex,” she said as I was about to leave the kitchen. “If he offers you another reality show tell him where he can stick it, okay?”
I laughed, nodding in agreement; I’d rather spend a whole day with Jeremy Kyle than find myself on another reality show. Having said farewell to the rest of the family I headed out, map on my knees if I needed to check where I was going at any point. I was partly nervous and partly excited; unable to shake the feeling this could be my big return to showbiz that I had been waiting for since....well, since I could remember.
I finally found his offices, a tall tower block in the centre of Birmingham that he shared with more businesses than there seemed space in the tower. Everything from a lawyer’s office to a modelling agency via the office of an architect was there, and those were just the ones I had noticed on my numerous visits. I thankfully discovered that his offices had not moved since I was last there, glad to avoid the receptionist and her incessant need to discuss whichever pointless celebrity was on the front of the Daily Mail that morning. I had missed discussing job offers with Jack, but I certainly hadn’t missed bumping into that member of staff. I stepped into the lift, pressing the button for the 10th floor, desperately trying to block out the worst rendition of “You Raise Me Up” I’d ever had the misfortune to hear, but which at that moment was blasting out of the speaker in the lift. I disliked the song at the best of times, but if I could go back and kill the idiot who had thought lift music was a good idea then I would jump at the chance.
I somehow suppressed a sigh of relief as the door opened and I was able to escape into the corridor outside. I zigzagged through the numerous workers walking between rooms until I found the door I was looking for, on which was placed the sign: “Jack Wilkins, Agent to the Stars, so good Tom Cruise only rejected me three times.” I stifled a laugh at this statement, what that failed to point out was he’d been threatened with legal action if he ever spoke to Mr Cruise again. I knew this because the guy had asked me to be his character witness. If I said it wasn’t his smartest moment I’d be being polite.
“Come in, I’ll just be a moment, I’m making an important phone call,” a voice called out after I had knocked on his door. I opened it, revealing a short thin man with the oddest spectacles you could ever see sat looking at a diary open on his desk, while talking excitedly into the phone. “Seriously, you’re offering us HOW much money to star....No, of course I didn’t mean to imply I would get any of the money...We’ve been through this before, Karolina is very happy with my agency. If you want her on your film you’ll have to have me as well.”
A sigh escaped my mouth, Karolina Anoushka was as close to a big star as the agency got since I stopped being famous. Her main problem was that she and Jack had more confidence in her talent than everyone else did, and seem to ignore the fact that most directors signed her up because she was a young, attractive Russian girl. I shook myself, realising as Jack put the phone down that I was getting distracted, was I that bored with my wife that I was dreaming about a girl young enough to be my own daughter?
“You told my wife you had an exciting new offer to make me,” I said, attempting to sound more enthusiastic than I actually felt. The only reason I hadn’t found another agency was that no agency wanted some has-been actor only three people recognised anymore.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I remember now,” Jack said, getting up and walking over to the filing cabinet. “It’s a great deal, they want to reunite...”
“Jack,” I said, interrupting his sentence. “When you and I made our new agreement I said no reality shows, no reunions, no chat shows, no adverts for kids under five or OAPs and no terrible ITV1 sitcoms. Please tell me none of the offers fit into any of those categories.”
“Uh....well....” he paused, hardly restoring my confidence in his ability. “Can I be honest? No-one wants you anymore Alex, unless it’s to appear on their brand new celebrity reality show. You should take them up on the offer.”
“Jack, my youngest brother got on one of those, you know what his claim to fame is? He dated Cheryl Cole back in high school...for THREE DAYS!” I sighed as I saw this last statement had done nothing to dampen his enthusiasm. “I need some time to think, if you have a REAL offer for me then you can call me, otherwise don’t bother. Right now you are lucky I’ve not quit this agency.”
I slammed the door behind me, too annoyed to pay any attention to the all too familiar sounds droning from the lift speakers. What was worrying me more though was that I could barely go three minutes without thinking about Karolina. I needed to get a coffee to clear my head, thankfully I knew just the place.