‘Never heard of her,’ this I directed at my editor who slouched in his swivel chair.
‘Neither has anyone else, she just got an Oscar – supporting role in ‘The Numerator’.’
‘Never heard of it.’
‘That’s the point…’
…neither has anyone else.’ I finished.
Back at my desk I Googled. Nothing except what the boss had just told me. It looked like I had to do some digging. So I dug. In my business it is not ‘what you know but who you know’ but it’s ‘what you know about who you know’ that gets results.
It seemed she came out of nowhere a couple of years ago, acquired controlling interest in Quadcom – a billion dollar ISP anonymously through a shelf company. She had decided she wanted to be a movie star apparently. I found some promo shots from her film. She’d played a green skinned alien and was very decorative – aliens apparently didn’t wear much. I found out who she was. Some coincidence.
She lived on board an ocean going yacht and never talked to the media.
I got a job fishing rubbish out of the water at the marina where she had her boat ‘The Wish’ moored. I putted putted within coo-ee of her mooring, rammed a buoy, capsized and fell in. Easy. I was about to swim over and request succour when a hand gripped me under the chin, another supported my body and I was propelled efficiently yacht wards. I was hauled unceremoniously onto the deck by way of a diving raft.
There she was – dripping.
‘Tabatha’ she said.
‘Irma Jones?’ I said
A swarthy Semite began to towel her dry.
‘Lucky’, I thought, till I saw the hopeless, thwarted look on his face.
‘Thank you Ali, – you may go.’
‘Well aren’t you going to kiss me?’
I looked down in confusion.
‘We can’t get any wetter. Well?’
So I did.
Later in bed, ‘You recognized me!?’
I dug. I’m a journalist. Skinny kid, pimples, a year below me at school. You’re … different.’
‘Couldn’t make friends so I got a habit instead. To feed it I burgled some guys apartment, an archaeologist, pinched this’, She reached across me and lifted a brass oil lamp from the bedside table. ‘I soon found out what it did.’ She breathed on it, gave it a cursory rub – Ali was there, no special effects, just there!
‘Tell the man.’
‘Yes Mistress, I am the Genie of the Lamp.’
She snuggled, Ali winced, ‘The lamp only had one wish left. What was my wish Ali?’
‘That I Should Unequivocally Love You’.
‘So I could always be sure you would arrange the world so I would always get what ever I desired …..for ever. You see, I have been madly in love with you since Grade 5. Now I have you. You may go Ali.’
He went. His face: a picture of miserable despair.
I suddenly felt very cold.