One and Only Alexa Kalekar
of my window ought to
have been a canaille. Devotees ought to have been mobbing the police sent to
guard my lodge. Drones ought to have been making fly-bys. Those UAVs should
have been dropping love notes on my balcony while trying to surreptitiously
take my picture. Plus, the press should have been disguising itself as
bellhops, as concierges, and as other members of my staff.
me, Alexa Kalekar, the
cynosure of Hollywood!
hear the officers talk
into their handhelds and can see them sneaking glances at their screens, whose
displays are visible from far away. Otherwise, discounting the random taxis,
which pass my hotel without slowing down, the night is quiet.
should have stuck to Barnard’s priorities. It might have been better to please
him than to follow Lanthe’s instructions. Barnard wanted me to carry on
posturing as the industry’s untouchable kilolumen. Contrariwise, Lanthe urged
me to reach out to young audiences via Twitter and Instagram. If social media
is good enough for the last two Presidents, she remarked, it ought to be good
enough for me, an entertainment superstar.
at my fingernails. They
have not perceivably lengthened in the half hour that I’ve stood at my window.
I was misguided in
accepting the titular role in that YouTube video. I know that television is
regarded as a demotion for movie icons, but Lanthe assured me that, inversely,
playing on the portable screen facilitates a luminary.
sure I’m still a sensation.
The world will notice that it’s me, not some would-be, selling toilet bowl
though every impresario
with whom I’ve worked, these thirty endless years, insisted that I brand myself
by limiting my endorsements to luxury goods, I’m convinced that Lanthe has my
best interests at heart. She explained to me that I could make large sums of
money by associating with a multinational manufacturer of household products.
Barnard seems to
have forgotten that even the most dazzling champions can become apostates if
pushed too much. He should have remembered that it was not my talent that
brought me to the silver screen. Rather, it was my smile and the wag of my hips
that first caused most of those dear boys and some of those powerful girls to
roll over and to hire me. He oughtn’t to have blamed me for wanting further
attention and for going about getting it in the way with which I’m most
I look onto the streetscape
again. A truck rumbles by. If Lanthe hadn’t assisted me in refilling my
prescriptions, I’d be crying in my pillows. I’d have lost all scintillae
of hope. It’s a
blessing that she knows enough docs to keep me afloat.
during this protracted amount of time, when my pretty pills, coupled with
generous amounts of red wine (white has little taste) smooth my emotional
involvement with the video, Barnard is absent from my life. He took a vacation
and didn’t leave his forwarding address. My emails bounce back and I’ve been
unfriended from his Facebook page.
I worried over Barnard’s absence, but Lanthe promises that she’ll continue to
be part of my life and that she’ll continue to abet my acquisition of new
groupies. She insists that soon I’ll relive my starlet days (I remember that
span fondly. Players offered to bed me, to fly me to exotic locations, and to
use me as arm candy.)
nevertheless, not a
single groupie armed with a selfie stick stands on the sidewalk opposite my
resort. No paparazzi appear to be hiding in the bushes, either.
baffled. Like Tom Cruise and
Grace Kelley, I mastered the Meisner technique. Like them, too, I was featured
on magazine covers as well as wined and dined by royalty. Unlike them, on the
other hand, I made a video about a product that cleans, deodorizes, and kills
germs in sanitation
fixtures used for disposing human waste.
Truth be told, I think the panda
suit I wore was adorable. It was realistically proportioned. Besides, the dyed
rabbit pelts covering it were textured exactly like I imagine panda fur should
The sun is slowly rising. When
colored by muted tones, the city almost looks pretty.
past, I survived numerous
adversities, including: bad press, money-sucking lovers, and acne. I persevered
as a fierce combatant! My status remains impeccable!
Well, I am
getting older. I suppose my latest enactment might have left me less of a light
than the talking pictures left Louise Brooks or Mabel Normand, and less of a
powerhouse than vlogs leave Jenna Marbles and Yuya. Yet, I will forever be Alexa Kalekar,
when recently interviewed by Hide and Seek Fan Zine, I exclaimed about
the importance of embracing the restructuring of artistes’ social stratification.
I cried out to my hosts that actors’ ideals and reality should not persist on
living far apart. Honestly, we motion picture VIPs ought not to maintain
If we reject the majority of the scripts we’re offered, or snub all
contemporary forms of expression, we deserve to be toppled.
I doubt I’ll ever agree
to swim in a vat of jelly, it’s more than okay that I donned a fursuit. I
new art form. I refused to become condescending. Fans do measure thespians’
leaving for Key Largo,
Barnard highlighted that
I was mistaking a narcissistic act for a noble one. He told me, while
I was in
wardrobe, stuffing my hands into adorable paw-like mittens, that I looked
ridiculous. Worse, Barnard averred that no admirer of mine, existent or future,
would recognize me since my costume covered me from head to toe and since my
voice was dubbed over by a six year-old’s.
Two by two, the squads are
leaving in their cars. I’m beginning to wonder whether or not Lanthe had
“fiduciarily persuaded” the station commander to send along those crowd control
architects. I hope that if she bribed them that she’s not traced. I also hope
that if she didn’t that the police department doesn’t sue either of us for its
things considered, I
couldn’t imagine a minor performer outdoing me. The subtlety with which my
character had to stir the toilet brush required a lifetime’s worth of
savoir-faire. The stance my character
had to assume in front of the sink, and later, in front of the garbage can
could not have been executed properly by a lesser woman. Only I, Alexa Kalekar,
correctly filled that role!
It’s not for nothing that
Randolph loved me and cast me as his leading lady in twenty-two films. Time and
again, the power of my presence stayed him from the edge. He did not drink that
dreadful potion until after we finished shooting his epic. He was eternally the
later, I used the advent of
his funeral as an excuse to color my hair. I had long wanted to go ginger. With
Randolph dead, I had one less dear one to loathe and one less person to boss me
around over my looks. Unfortunately, my colorist did a crummy job.
I hid in the greenhouse of
my Malibu estate. At least,
given the volume of deliveries I required during those
weeks, I renewed my popularity with the local eateries. Barnard liked the
hamburgers and the lobster rolls, but he protested the humidity of that space.
by the time that I, “the
heartbroken paramour,” resurfaced, I had taken to sighing sea shanties. Barnard commented
those soppy sentiments were unbecoming to the image we had crafted over tens of
years. He forbade me to trill them in public.
that I could readily
find a new agent. I shouted that monkeys
with typewriters, or simple
automatons could as easily sort through drafts as could he, and that the one
and only Alexa Kalekar stooped to no one’s
heuristics. For effect, I also shed a few tears.
Barnard took a three-day
weekend. He visited family in San Francisco. It was during that time, when he
was out of town, that Lanthe, Randolph’s widow, pressed me for a meeting.
pretty girl, who had given
up her career as a symphony oboist to support Randolph when she was young and
he was younger, was not as pretentious as her millions should have made her to
be. As a matter of fact, she was perkier than any other grieving woman of my
way, had we not met, I would not now be looking out my balcony at city streets
slowly filling with traffic.
did not seem to resent
that I, not she, had watched Randolph’s body harden with rigor mortis. I didn’t
expect too much jealousy from her, all the same, since decades earlier Randolph
had sworn that he was in an open marriage. I’m certain Lanthe didn’t envy my
success; she is richer and far cuter. In addition, she’s mother to Randolph’s
children and the sole inheritor of his estate. I have neither nuclear family
nor a permanent address. To be honest, destination clubs and timeshares get
sitting in Lanthe’s sunroom
and being served tea by her house staff, I spotted a framed copy of the initial
page of Randolph’s first screenplay. Reading a mere stanza of my dearly
departed’s work caused my heart to recalibrate and my limbs to shake.
observing my disquiet,
Lanthe offered to add Scotch to my tea. Unsurprisingly, my response to her
hospitality was instinctive. I kissed her head and told her that we would
always be good friends. I think Lanthe appreciated my vulnerability.
admire her. I
could never be married. I certainly could never agree to a relationship in
which the partners agree to extramarital relationships without being considered
unfaithful. I wonder how Lanthe coped.
I finished two cups of tea
and whiskey, that kind woman bade her chauffer to return me to my residence. He
and I made small talk. A few times, he abruptly swallowed his words.
is fully up. Rush hour
has started. My phone rings with the first of my scheduled wake-up calls. I
better to attach life to
manageability than to fly high and out of sight. The artists who get venerated
are the ones who relate to the common people. I’m glad Lanthe redirected me.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll ring up my YouTube director and accept his second offer.
He wants me to star as a basset hound in a clip about dishwasher detergent.
Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her latest photography
portfolio is 20/20: KJ Hannah Greenberg Eye on
Israel. Her most
recent poetry collection is Mothers Ought to
Utter Only Niceties (Unbound
CONTENT, 2017). Her most recent fiction collection is the omnibus, Concatenation (Bards & Sages