STORY: Tok’sha Paha Sapa

I am lying in bed with the covers over my head when he finally decides to come and see me. He slams the door to my apartment and storms into the bedroom. I peak out from underneath the blanket and see him standing there staring at me sourly.

“Don’t do that again,” he says angrily. “I told you not to do that. That was the only thing I asked. I specifically told you not to do that.”

I pull the covers over my head and try to hide from him. He yanks them off and throws them aside instead.

“I already deleted it,” I said. “I deleted it, all of the pictures on Instagram, and untagged the location. I’m working on Twitter and Facebook now. I think I just need to start a second account for privacy reasons. I’m sorry. I’m not used to this, darling. My life is different now. I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate social media as I become a public personality. It’s not as easy as you think!”

“Don’t do it again. I’m serious. If you do it again, I’ll sue you.”

“Darling, you know there’s no point in suing me. You have more money than I will ever have. I can’t fight you in that arena. I’m a penniless Writer Extraordinaire! I meant it when I said that I would give you a percentage of my profits from the book to divide up between everyone. I intend to honor that promise. You know what they say in the Black Hills! Tok’sha Paha Sapa!”

Andrew doesn’t laugh at the joke.

“I want 40%.”

“No. That’s way too much. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars at that establishment. I’ve already been paying you for eight years.”

“That was for the bar, not for me.”

“Says the person who lives in a newly-renovated Perfect HGTV Dream Home, drives a fancy car, and keeps an empty apartment all for himself.”

“Whatever. I worked hard for my money.”

“No, you just scammed a lot of people for it.”

“You don’t know anything about my life. You just want to live in your delusional little fantasy dream world.”

“And you wanted to come play in that world because you were looking for an escape from yours. Now you’re here. You wanted to be The Boss, you got to be The Boss. You wanted your own book, you got your own book. You thought you could get away with it because I had no credibility whatsoever. Well, turns out you were wrong. Your character wanted this. I wanted this. I wanted this more than anything and I paid a very heavy price for it. So just go back to your Perfect Life and leave me alone so I can get mine.”

“I helped you!” he snaps. “You were a fucking mess. I was the only one who treated you with kindness. I was the one that gave you all of these ideas. I was the one who picked you up off the street and gave you a job to do. I taught you how to enjoy sex again. I was the one who helped you fix your crazy split personality issue. I scared off those creepy guys for you. I defended you to people all the time. I even changed the mural idea around for you. And how did you thank me? By ignoring me and pretending I don’t exist while running around insulting me and telling people made-up stories about me. I did you a favour by kicking you out! You were turning into someone else when you went there. Someone you’re not supposed to be. Someone no one really liked or wanted to be around. You can do better than that and you know it. And I’m the one who pushed you to see it! So I don’t want to hear you be ungrateful or disrespectful to me ever again!”

I lie still and stare up at the ceiling in silent defeat. I know in my heart that he is right.

“Okay.”

“You know, we’re starting to get phone calls asking about you.”

“I didn’t authorize any phone calls. I have receipts to prove it. Besides, that’s what happens when somebody writes a book about a historic bar. This isn’t a joke anymore, Andrew. This is serious. This is real. I am writing a book about you that has regular, steady readership from all over the country. This website is about to read 20,000 page views. People can figure out who you are in five minutes with Google. Strangers can figure out where I am. People have come to both my apartment and the bar looking for me. Strange men are following me around all the time. It’s freaking me the fuck out. You think I want some weirdo harassing you because he read my book and thinks you deserve revenge? No!”

Andrew crosses his arms and scoffs at me.

“I’m serious. Don’t do it again.”

“I won’t. I’m trying to work it out. I’m scared, okay? I don’t want strange men who think they know me from my writing banging on my door in the middle of the night. I don’t want anyone harassing you. I don’t know what to do. I’m fixing it. I promise you. I just need you to understand that I am going to be associated with you whether I use real names or not. I do not have any control over what other people say and do.”

Andrew’s gaze drops to the floor. He looks conflicted for a moment. He takes a deep breath and sits down on the end of the bed.

“This is a mess,” he says sadly. “I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I got drawn in. I thought I could help you.”

“You are helping me, darling. You’re helping me more than you know. What you have given me is worth more than all the money in the world. That’s why I’ll never really be mad at you. I’ll just write about you and you’ll be my Star forever. You don’t have to give me anything more than that.”

Andrew looks up and smiles a little smile at me.

“I do like to be The Star,” he admits.

“That’s why you’re The Star.”

“That’s why I’m The Star.”

We sit together in silence for a moment. Finally, Andrew stands up, pats me on the head gently, and leaves the apartment for the rest of the afternoon.

The End

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