Hiddle Me That
Mary-Sue strode into the room, her long legs strong yet Bambi-like. “This is a PR problem, correct?” she asked briskly, ignoring the masculine furrows in his brow and the unbidden images flashing through her mind, pieced together from the scintillating tidbits she had overheard.
“A PR problem? Is it really simple as that? This, this tale of… absolute bosh! I wouldn’t paper an outhouse with it!” Tom blustered, waving the manuscript in the air. “It alleges I’m a physically abusive rapist! Listen Mary-Sue, we’re in England. Can’t we sue for libel?”
“We could sue,” Mary-Sue agreed carefully, “But you forget that this internet is already in most people’s homes. Don’t you remember when Ryan Giggs obtained an injunction against the internet? It merely bought him tonnes more unwanted publicity.”
This forgotten bit of information threw Tom off-balance as much as an unwieldy bowl during a game of rounders. “Yes,” he noised, “And Giggs had actually done all of the ungentlemanly things alleged about him. But these are heinous lies! How can we stop them?”
Mary-Sue took a deep breath, her well tailored chest rising and falling. “Simply put: an even bigger lie. We invent you a girlfriend. You are one of the most talented actors the 21st century has ever seen. Surely you can convinced the public that you: a) have a girlfriend and b) don’t beat her.”
“A girlfriend?? I don’t know about that. Shouldn’t I just avoid women altogether? After all, at the last scandal, you forced my to give up my Tuesday afternoon polo games.”
“Sir, please pardon my French, but the last scandal was that you had sex with horses. Male horses. Distancing yourself from them seemed advisable. In this case, distancing yourself from real human females would only strengthen the doubts the public is facing.”
Tom leaned back in his chair, his elegant tapered fingers stroking his strong, manly chin. As his fame had increased, he realized crafting a public persona was extremely important. However, as his wealth had accordingly increased as well, he realized he could hand over this boring and unglamourous job to the hired help. It seemed outlandish to him to “invent” a girlfriend, but Mary-Sue’s reasoning seemed sound. Her mind was like a steel trap, and her face was also very pleasant.
“Alright old girl, this plan seems absurd to me, but you’re the expert. Now, where shall we find this lovely lady of mine?”
Mary-Sue stood in front of Tom, not daring to look him in the eye, tracing a pattern in the carpet with her foot.
“Now now, you must have SOMEONE in mind.”
Mary-Sue glanced up at him, her voice quavering along with her bodice. “Well, sir, I…”
“Yes, yes, out with it now, love!”
“Well, if I were to be perfectly blunt…” Mary-Sue stammered uncharacteristically.
What the devil was taking her so long? Tom creased his forehead, then brushed a stray curl away with his delicate pale fingers. This was so unlike the woman; usually so professional, she now sounded as though she belonged…belonged where? Tom’s thoughts strayed, the tumultuous events of the evening taking their toll. Belong…with…me? Bloody hell! Why, that was the ticket!
“Of course!” the blue-eyed Aryan actor cried out. “Mary-Sue, you’re brilliant! However did you think of Taylor Swift?”
“I- what?” Mary-Sue gasped, a terrible feeling rising in the pit of her stomach and threatening to make its way to her heart which was contained within her now-heaving bosom.
“Sure, she’s a crass American strumpet, with a plain, peasant-girl face, and yet…I tell you Mary-Sue, it’s the simple people who you can rely on to tell the truth.” For all the sophisticated complexes of his Eton pals, he knew that they were well-practiced liars. Now, the fishmongers and chimney sweeps, dull as they were, could be relied on to tell the truth - they simply lacked the imagination for anything else. He had heard of the Swift girl’s reputation, naturally; an angry song written about him at the inevitable conclusion of their relationship sounded vulgar and humiliating. Yet he knew it would contain only the truth: the dull-witted songstress would write about his propensity for sitting with his legs a full fathom apart or eating caviar out of a jewel-encrusted replica of the skull of Oliver Cromwell, but she would put to rest all questions of his being an abuser. He looked up at Mary-Sue, beaming.
“My dear girl, how can I ever thank you? Perhaps you can have the honor of taking my trousers to the clothier to be tailored, no pun intended. But…what seems to be the problem?”
“S-sir, I…” Mary-Sue fought hard to keep her voice steady. What was happening to her? “Taylor no longer wears sneakers. Or sit on the bleachers. I just don’t think it would send the right impression-“
“What is this poppycock? I don’t want to hear another word, quite frankly. Damn it woman, give yourself some credit for your ideas! Now, I’m going to call Chris Evans over at the colonies and see if he can put me in touch with young Taylor. It might take awhile, you know how slow Americans are. Why don’t you take the rest of the night off?” With that, Tom strode purposefully from the office, a faint “ehehehehe” sound lingering in his wake.
Only when the last “hehe” had faded did Mary-Sue dare let a tear escape her eye.
Mary-Sue stood silently in the middle of the room, trying to collect her thoughts. She had never before strayed from the path of pure professionalism. What was happening to her? Was she turning into a dreaded… fangirl?
“Now, now,” said Mary-Sue to herself. “It will never get that bad.” She walked over to a mirror (Tom insisted on there being at least two in every room) and straightened her hair. “I’ll think of a way out of this, I’ve got to.”
Meanwhile, Tom had retired to his bedroom, feeling the upcoming phone call would not be suited for womanly ears. Feeling the night would indeed be a long one, he languidly removed his three-piece suit and changed into a pair of lavender silk pyjamas. Reaching the colonies was always a laborious task. Not only did the rebels speak a dialect of English that was almost incomprehensible, they had also done away with any hints of propriety or etiquette in their daily life. Chris Evans would require Tom to call him directly, not through an emissary, in a manner totally unbefitting someone with an Eton education.
Tom cradled the phone in his delicate hands. He squinted at the device, then removed a favorite monocle from his desk drawer. Now properly armed and ready, he examined the bizarre contraption he now held.
“Well now,” he reasoned, “Chris is Captain of America. Therefore, if I place the call through to America, he should answer posthaste. Now! Operator!” he bellowed into the mouthpiece, “FETCH AMERICA FOR ME LIKE A GOOD CHAP.”
A strange buzzing emanated from the phone. “Hmm, now what did Mary-Sue teach me about this device,” he thought out loud. Ah yes! The numerical buttons are a method of reaching others.” He noticed the small letters atop the numbers. “All that remains to do is to spell out the letters of America.”
The rude buzzing answered this effort as well.
“Well now,” he reasoned. “Evans is from that most dastardly part of America, that foul harbour where those Yankee rebels destroyed not only 45 tons of tea, but their own dignity and sense of propriety as well.” Tom found dialed 267-866 - BOSTON. Miraculously, this worked - to an extent. The repeated errors had put Tom through to an English operator, who connected Tom through to an American operator. The buffoon had difficulty locating the correct Chris Evans, but eventually proved successful after Tom threatened to waylay his entire family with some sort of hybrid Shakespearean-Norse curse.
“Hey, what’s up, dude?”
“Dude,” Tom repeated, aghast. “I’m not one of those ponces who ride around on horses doing tricks! That joke really isn’t funny any more, Evans,” he shouted down the phone.
There was a long silence, and he heard a stammering “Uhhh…. hello to you too.”
“Listen mate, sorry to bother you like this, but I need to get in touch with an American damsel, and I figured you were the man for the job.”
“An American damsel? What, like, a woman? What do you need one for?”
Tom gave an exasperated sigh that was something in between a laugh and a snort (if such a thing were possible for such a elegant gentleman). “No more wisecracks out of you, Evans. If you are truly Captain of America, you will know where all your citizens are. Now tell me: where is the lovely girl next door? Where is Taylor Swift?”
“You know, I think I actually know that,” mused Chris, assuming all of Tom’s non sequiturs were merely signs of sophisticated English wit far beyond his comprehension. “Last I heard, she was taking private swimming lessons from Ryan Lochte.”
“Ryan Lochte? What manner of a gentleman is he?”
“Well…” Chris paused. “I think I’ll just give you his number, and you can find out for yourself.”
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