Elaina Briggs collected photographs, articles, movies and whatever else she could find on her favorite star, Joe Blow. He was all she could think about, night and day. When she was not at work, or on the computer looking for fan fiction, to keep his memory alive, she was watching his movies. Not the whole movies…. No she had them memorized. She just watched her favorite parts. The parts when Joe Blow would fight off the antagonist in the story, or the part when Joe Blow would woo a beautiful woman. She thought Joe Blow was handsome and the smartest man in the world. Sometimes Elaina could not separate the actor Joe Blow from the characters in which he played.
"Elaina, are you still on the computer?" Mrs. Briggs called from outside her bedroom door.
"Yeah," Eliaina squeaked, reaching for the power button. She would not turn the computer off the old fashioned way. She was a little embarrassed with her obsession, though she would never admit it.
"Well hurry up and get off, dinners ready," her mom said.
Elaina listened for the footsteps to fade down the hallway. Then she got up.
Her knees ached from having sat there for hours. Her eyes were twitching. Her legs were stiff and she could hardly walk. Elaina changed out of her Joe Blow t-shirt and tiredly headed downstairs.
At the table, her little eight year old brother, Mikey sat, snot running down from his nose and a pink wad of bubble gum snapping and popping in his moth.
Elaina gave him a dirty look.
"What?" Mikey gasped.
Elaina's mom put the pizza on the table. Elaina could swear her mom had gotten a sudden case of cooking amnesia when her dad moved out. Her father spent most of his time working, and the rest of it at the local bar where he'd met another woman. The woman was not any prettier than Elaina's mother. Elaina was sure of that. And Elaina was disgusted that her dad had not bothered to divorce her mom before he moved onto his next victim. Elaina's mom couldn't afford the divorce right now. She was expecting another baby in a few months.
It was Elaina's dad's baby. But he denied it. Elaina knew her mother had been gullible enough to give into him one night when he had been kicked out of his apartment. Elaina wanted to escape reality and often she did,
"Elaina, sit up straight," her mother nagged her.
Rolling her eyes, Elaina sat up just as Mikey wiped his nose with the palm of his hand. Elaina shook her head in disapproval.
"Gross," she said.
"Mikey, are you getting a cold again?" Mrs. Briggs asked, dishing him out a slice of pizza onto a Tea Rose patterned plate.
The plates had been a wedding gift, and the roses were starting to fade just like the marriage.
Suddenly, the Roteweiler "Chump" started to bark and growl. Then the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it," Elaina sprang for the door.
Elaina was not surprised to find the UPS man standing there before her. She signed for her package, muttered "thanks" and scurried up to her room.
"Elaina!" her mother yelled to no avail.
Once the door was closed and locked, Elaina tore open the box and pulled out two video cassettes she'd won off of E-Bay. Her heart began to pound. They were two of Joe Blow's earliest films, the ones from the early ninties when he was still an unknown.
The bedroom doorknob made a noise.
"Elaina…" her mother yelled.
"What are you doing?"
Elaina hurried to hide the videos under the bed.
"Elaina, open this door right now," her mother insisted.
The girl sprang to her feet and headed for the door only to be greeted by that accusing look on her mother's face
"What are you hiding, Elaina?" Mrs. Briggs demanded. Her eyes scanned the room, towards the desk, to the floor, through the mess of clothes. Elaina neglected the laundry. Then to the cardboard box on the floor. Mrs. Briggs picked up the box and looked at the return address.
"Are you buying things on Ebay again?" Mrs. Briggs asked.
"It's my money!" Elaina, shot back. "I earned it."
Mrs. Briggs began to cry. "This obsession has to stop, Elaina. NOW!! I can't take it!"
She turned towards Elaina's walls and began to tear down the posters of Joe Blow.
"MOM!" Eliana cried, "Why are you doing this to me?"
Her mother continued in the destructive rage, her next target was Elaina's prized video collection. She took the tapes out of their boxes and began throwing them down onto the wooden floor and stomping on them.
"I hate this!" Mrs. Briggs screamed. "I hate what you've become!"
Mikey wondered into the room.
"What's going on?" he asked, curious and frightened at the same time.
"Get out!" Elaina said, watching in horror as her mother grabbed the four remaining movies and began to destroy them also.
"You hate me!" Elaina shouted. "You'd take away the one thing I care about most."
"Yes I know you care about it most," Mrs. Brigg's said coldly. "You don't care about your family anymore. Grandma tried to call for four hours last night and you were on the damned computer. Grandpa had a heart attack and died! But you don't care!"
Elaina started to sob uncontrollably. "Gr-Grandpa?"
Her mother glared at her, turned and walked out of the room.
Now poor Elaina had two things to mourn, losing her Joe Blow collection, and her Grandfather. She threw herself down on her unmade bed and cried some more. And then suddenly Elaina realized that her whole video collection had not been destroyed.
There were still two new movies under the bed….