Fame and Poverty

By Joseph Logsdon

Frank Miller was a very boring man. No one liked him, not even his own wife. Sure, she tried her best to make him happy, but ultimately, nothing could win his love. He was, at the end of the day, a very unlikable man. One afternoon, Frank approached his frustrated wife.

"Liz, I have to talk to you," Frank stated as he entered the small kitchen.

"What is it?"

"The next time you clean my office, make sure that you don't move my stuff around," Frank huffed.

"I was only trying to keep our home clean," she replied.

"Don't give me that, you bitch!"

"Don't call me that," she whimpered.

"Well, if you weren't so fucking foolish, I wouldn't have to call you that, would I?"

"Sorry, I'll try to do better," she cried.

"Never, under any circumstances, touch my stuff," he stated.

"Okay, I understand," she whimpered.

"You know, sometimes I think you're living on another planet," he huffed.

"What do you mean?"

"You never listen to me, not even when I shout and scream. Look, from now on, don't touch my stuff, understand?"

"I told you, I won't touch your stuff," she sighed.

"If I catch you touching my stuff, you'll pay for it," Frank threatened as he left the room.

Later that day, someone rang the doorbell. At first, Frank didn't want to answer the door, but as time passed, he finally decided to let go of his social anxiety. As the door opened, Frank started to feel nervous. Standing before him, was a familiar face, a face that he had admired and treasured for many years.

"Oh, my God," Frank sighed.

"Sir, can I use your telephone?"

"You're Ashley Swift, aren't you?"

"Yes," she answered.

"You're my favorite actress," he exclaimed.

"Oh, thank you," she replied.

"Ms. Swift, if you don't mind me asking, why do you need my help?"

"Well, my car stopped working," she answered.

"Why don't you call someone?"

"Normally, I would, but I can't get a signal," she stated.

"So, would you like to use my phone?"

"I would be very grateful," she replied.

"Don't worry, with any luck, you'll be out of here within an hour," he assured.

After leading Ashley inside, Lizbeth entered the room.
"Who is this?"

"Liz, we have a celebrity in our home."

"Really? Who?"

"I don't want to be any trouble," Ashley whispered.

"Trust me, you won't be any trouble," Frank stated.

"You're very kind," Ashley stated.

"Frank, will you tell me what's going on?"

"Well, Ashley can't start her car," he answered.

"Ashley? Ashley Swift?"

"Yes," Frank exclaimed.

"I thought she was dead," Lizbeth stated.

"As you can see, I'm very much alive," Ashley replied.

"Tell me, when are you going to make your next movie?"

"If you don't mind, I would rather talk about something else," she answered.

"Why? Did we say something wrong?" Frank asked.

"It's not you, it's me," she answered.

"What do you mean?"

"You're right, my career is going nowhere. Sure, I'll get an occasional job, but that doesn't lead to anything. I'm not an actress, I'm just a poor, washed-up kid from Ohio."

"Don't say that," Frank stated.

"Well, at least I have one fan," Ashley laughed.

"What can we do?" Lizbeth asked.

"Well, I was going to use your phone, but I'm starting to have second thoughts," Ashley stated.

"What do you mean?"

"Before I leave, could I stay for dinner?"

"Of course," Frank answered.

"It's not that I'm trying to impose, it's just that I haven't eaten anything," she stated.

"Well, if Frank wants you to stay, then I want you to stay," Lizbeth replied.

"Thank you, you won't regret it," Ashley stated.

During their dinner, Lizbeth started to feel uneasy as she watched Ashley take advantage of their hospitality.

"Tell me, Ashley, why did you come to our neighborhood?"

"I was visiting a friend," she answered.

"Who?"

"What is this, twenty questions?"

"Sorry, I was just asking," Lizbeth replied.

"Look, I don't like it when people ask me questions. As an actress, I'm constantly asked things, things that no one should be asked. In my world, you can't sneeze without someone finding out," she huffed.

"I understand," Frank replied.

"You've been very kind," Ashley complemented.

"You don't know my husband at all," Lizbeth interrupted.

"What do you mean?"

"Trust me, if you weren't around, he would be screaming and cursing," Lizbeth stated.

"Most men are animals," Ashley laughed.

"Just because I argue with my wife, doesn't mean that I'm a bad person. Sure, I lose my temper, but, then again, who doesn't?"

"Tell me, Frank, what do you do for a living?" Ashley asked.

"I don't work," he answered.

"What do you mean, you don't work?"

"I mean, I don't want to work," he stated.

"Well, does your wife work?"

"No," Frank answered.

"How do you make a living, then?"

"The government has supported us for years," Frank answered.

"Damn, I thought you were rich," Ashley stated.

"Why would you think that?"

"I don't know, I must be crazy," Ashley exclaimed.

"Even if we were rich, why would that matter to you?"

Suddenly and without warning, Ashley pulled out a gun. Terrified and shocked, Frank screamed as his favorite celebrity threatened his life.

"What are you doing?"

"Shut up, you bastard," Ashley exclaimed.

"Ashley, I thought you liked me," Frank whimpered.

"I'm not Ashley, I'm Mary," she replied.

"What do you mean?"

"I've been pretending to be someone else for many years."

"Why?"

"Because I wanted money, because I wanted to finally receive the respect that I deserve. I thought you were rich, I guess I was wrong. Well, no matter, I'll just take the little money that you do have," she stated.

"You mean, you're not Ashley Swift?"

"You catch on fast, don't you?"

"This is disappointing," he whimpered.

"Are you crying?" Ashley asked.

"Finally, after all these years, I thought I had the chance to get a new wife," he whimpered.

"You're disgusting," Ashley sighed.

"Frank, don't you ever speak to me again," Lizbeth cried.

"As touching as this is, I really need you to give me your money," Ashley commanded.

"I told you, we don't have any money," Frank whimpered.

"Surely, you have something?"

"Well, you could take my wife," Frank stated.

"Frank, don't you even think about it," Lizbeth cried.

"What do you mean, take your wife?"

"If you took my wife as a hostage, I'm sure the police would pay you a good deal of money," Frank suggested.

"Do you really want me to take your wife?"

"Trust me, she'll make a wonderful hostage," he laughed.

"Well, how can I refuse my biggest fan?"

The End