Jennifer Pallyworth sat in the passenger seat of her agents care texting her boyfriend. She glanced up at the rear view mirror to see the camera crew following several cars behind her.
‘On way to tard’s see you tonight,’ the text said.
‘XOXO weer the red pantees,’ her boyfriend wrote back.
“I talked to her mother this morning, she said the whole family is really looking forward to meeting you,” her agent said.
“That’s cool,” Jennifer said looking back down at her phone.
“We got a call from Time they want to do a feature story on your work with CP kids.”
“Oh, I mean …they want to talk about the CP thing….what about the show?”
“Well, oh course you’ll talk about the show. You’ll talk about your work with CP kids and then the tie in to the show.”
“What tie in,” she looked up from the phone.
“When Trisha comes on the show, there’s gonna be an episode about CP. You guys are gonna go visit a farm and the daughter is gonna have CP.”
“Whatever,” Jennifer said.
They rode for a moment in silence.
“It’s just that it seems like it would really, I don’t know that it would make people uncomfortable, ya know. I mean they come home and they just want to relax or something and then …they turn on the show because they wanna look at hot people and then there’s this I don’t know like handicap person and so they get get depressed and watch something else.”
“Well for your information, there have been several shows that have featured people with CP . Facts of Life, that Life Goes On.”
“I thought he had Downs Syndrome,” Jennifer said.”
“Oh, well sorry they’re basically the same thing.”
“Well, did they have one on Friends, no Will and Grace, no How I Met Your Mother, no. People hate reality,” Jennifer said. “I’m just sayin. It’s not the 80’s anymore no one wants to think about that shit.”
“Honey, It’s probably only gonna be for one episode.”
“Why can’t I just do the Ice bucket thing? I paid a lotta money for my tits, ya know? Plus it takes like two minutes and it doesn’t cost anything.”
“What the fuck is ALF?”
“I have no idea, but it is not CP and our contract is with the CP association.”
“Do you have any Ambien,” Jennifer smiled.
“That’s my girl,” her agent said reaching into her purse.
Trisha looked out the window of her bedroom. She wondered what was keeping them. She just wanted to get this over with. The SAT’s were in a week and this was cutting into her study schedule. She had watched Day Job’s last night and she had been horrified at its moronic humor. She wished she’d never agreed to meet Jennifer Pallyworth, but realized it was the only way to put her branch of Students with Physical Challenges on the map. She needed this for her extra-curriculars. If she could be the first high school SPC president to get on national television she was certain to distinguish herself from the other applicants. She headed downstairs carefully griping the railing tightly as she went.
“She’s late, “she said to her mother.
“Five minutes,” her mother retorted.
“Did you see the show last night, did you watch it? It makes Saved by the Bell look like a cinematic masterpiece.”
“Honey, it’s a great way to raise awareness…”
“She must be a true intellectual to participate in something like that.”
“You’re participating in something like that.”
“Well, it’s not like I can go out for track.” Maybe she’s not dumb maybe she’s just a sell out.”
“Maybe she’s just an actor trying to get her foot in the door,” her mother said.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” Trisha said.
Trisha was washing her hands when she looked out the window and saw them. Jennifer was standing outside the car texting and her handler was talking on a cell phone. Her stomach knotted. She could feel the stares and the looks of pity already. Worst of all she could just hear them talking to her very slowly, widening their eyes as they talked. She always wanted to use a lot of big words when people did that, but her speech impediment made it impossible for such things to have the proper effect.
She opened the medicine chest and reached for the Ambien spilling them as she went.
“Shit,” she exclaimed stuffing them back in the bottle and swallowing one on the way.
She walked back out into the living room where the camera crew was setting up. Phil, the director greeted her as she entered the living room.
“Hi, Trisha” he said sounding slow and surprised and overjoyed to see her.
“Hi,” she said.
“So in just few minutes the doorbell is going to ring and your going to open it and let Jennifer Pallyworth in. Okay?”
‘What’s the doorbell,’ Trisha wanted to say, but though better of it.
“Okay,” she said. She looked out the window and saw Jennifer put her cell phone in her purse. A makeup artist touched up her lipstick. She pasted on a fake smile and walked towards the door. She seemed to be staggering a bit.
Trisha thought she was probably on something; she smiled to herself realizing this was the one advantage of her condition.
Phil yelled action and she walked to the door.