The pop star was taken down from the cross.
He was tired and weak from his ordeal. It seems that his own publicity team had tied him to the wooden beams in the city’s central park. However, the punishment was self-inflicted in the sense that he demanded this final obligation of his staff, before relieving them of their duties.
Only a few days before, the singer’s highly successful run in the reality documentary, “Product Hell”, had come to an end. Despite being the final contestant to leave the pit, he freely admitted to loathing the show. In his post-release interview he stated, “I fear that my image has taken me over completely. My physical body is being left behind.” The show’s presenter looked at him, askance.
Two weeks after his mock crucifixion, the pop star walked out of rehab only to be greeted with even greater adoration than before. He could not escape his fame. There followed a descent into abject decadence. Downloads of his unofficial “sex and drugs” video broke all records. He now went against the Entertainer’s Code, by revealing that his various “public images” were entirely artificial, having been created in a laboratory. The singer had bolstered his own talent by the use of illegal chemical and psychological processes. He had now decided to sever himself from his own image. Only by these means could he hope to live freely again.
His image was cut loose from his body in a procedure that lasted three hours. It was extracted in 2,129 strands. Blurred footage of the operation escaped from the surgery. Careful examination of this reveals very little: the operation may have taken place; it may have been a hoax.
His disconnected image was ground down into a powdered form.
The pop star organised a competition, with questions of such obscure, personal nature that only his truest fans could hope to succeed. The six winners were taken up to his private apartments. Here, they revealed areas of naked flesh to him, each area chosen entirely by the individual fan. They were, it must be emphasised, willing victims. Working calmly, the pop star numbed each area with an anaesthetic spray, before making neat incisions in their flesh with a sterilised scalpel. Then he rubbed the powder of his own image deep into the wounds on their bodies.
At last, he was free. Free to tour cheap, crumbling venues, down filthy back streets. Admission was set at just 15 dollars a ticket. Only a few people turned up for each show, and within a few years the singer had disappeared into blissful obscurity. Of the competition winners, five of them returned eventually to their normal lives: the last followed suit until some twelve years had passed. She was by then a 37 year old mother of two, a divorcee, an office worker. Her name was Margaret Shaw. A number of events were announced, where Ms Shaw offered to reveal her wound to the public. Queues formed. I freely admit, I took part in this ritual myself, waiting in line in the hotel conference suite for my turn. There was a charge for the privilege, but it seemed very reasonable given the uniqueness of the exhibit.
Margaret was in many aspects a perfectly average human being, and the wound itself was barely noticeable: a small scar on her forearm. But the effect on her psyche was palpable, even after all these years. I don’t know what had been passed on exactly through the pop star’s image, but the woman had definitely been changed by it. I could not stop looking at her, at her face, at her eyes especially, which glistened with a knowledge of life far removed from my own.
At this point, I should reveal that I too had entered the singer’s competition, and failed.