Diane Shortland

Freelance Writer

Fiction

The Red Carpet

Jake shuffled awkwardly to the mirror, splaying his feet at right angles like a penguin. He felt like a loser in this suit. A pinstripe tuxedo that did nothing to reflect his personality or desire to opt out of this crazy materialistic rat race his dad was so wrapped up in. He wanted none of this but he was 16 years old so hey, what choice did he have. Sweeping his hair over his forehead in the mirror one last time, barely recognising the image staring back at him, he decided some Dutch courage was urgently needed. He headed straight to his dad’s drinks cabinet, a bar really, stocking every variety of alcoholic beverage imaginable. He poured himself a Jack Daniels through shaking hands, blopped two large ice cubes into his tumbler and collapsed on the leather sofa with a bigger sigh than he ever thought possible. Ron, the limo driver would be here to collect him in less than ten minutes. Ten minutes of life as he knew it; life as he wanted it to be. Then it would be Wham!, head first into a new life he didn’t want. At all. Ever. He unwedged the remote control from under his thigh and flicked on the TV. News Tonight. There on the screen was his dad, the legendary director Jeremy Lansdown, surrounded by an entourage of scantily clad female beauties, grinning profusely and no doubt half cut already. He put down his Jack Daniels in disgust, the words of the reporter deafening his ears.

“VIP guests are already arriving for tonight’s premiere of Jeremy Lansdown’s latest blockbuster, Beyond the Fringe which features his illusive prodigy son, Jake Lansdown, as lead. Media attention has been building for months as up until tonight, all publicity appearances have not included 16 year old Jake himself, dubbed to be the next Daniel Radcliffe. His father has confirmed however that Jake will be attending the premiere of his debut movie tonight, here in New York in less than an hour. I don’t need to tell you the media frenzy this news has caused, just listen for yourself –“

Jake felt his heart rate quicken to a raging crescendo and heat fill his body like a furnace. Nausea raced through him; he thought he might pass out. He closed his eyes as emotion and fear and dread welled up inside him.
“Watcha goldilocks” boomed Ron as he bounced through the door, “all set for your big night then?”...