Kind of Famous - Mary Ann Marlowe

Chapter One

I could find a Walking Disaster song lyric appropriate for any occasion.

Humming, “The world is mine/I’m breaking through,” I spun the revolving door into the marble lobby of the high rise in Times Square. Today, this song was my anthem.

I’d finally broken through, and the world would be mine.

Well, at least a job in the music industry would be.

Standing in honest-to-God New York City, I felt like a tourist gawking at the big city, but if the shoe fit. It wasn’t like I’d never set foot outside of central Indiana, but before I took this job at the Rock Paper, most of my traveling had been concert related, and my career had been dullsville. As an extreme music fan, my true passion had been a very expensive hobby.

That all changed today.

Today, I became a legitimate New Yorker. I still couldn’t believe I’d landed this job at this magazine. I closed my eyes to breathe in the air actual rock stars may have exhaled. Cigarettes, coffee, and crowd musk formed a uniquely Manhattan cologne.

Halfway across the lobby, my phone rang out a popular Walking Disaster song. The call could only be from Ashley, aka DeadFan on the fan board. Online, we all had our aliases. People knew me as Pumpkin39. Pumpkin because of my flaming orange hair. The rest because of my March 9th birthday.

Oh, yeah. In my spare time, I ran the biggest Walking Disaster fan site on the Internet. My obsession with music was about to become my real-life career.

I swiped the phone to answer, as I strode purposely toward security. “Ash? Is there a problem?”

It wouldn’t matter if the site had gone offline. She knew I wouldn’t have time to put out trash fires on my first day at work.

“Just called to wish you good luck! I’m so excited for you.”

I patted my hip for the lanyard then slid my shiny new ID badge over the electronic sensor and took my place among the many other career-oriented people waiting for the elevator. I adopted a professional, non-fan-girl tone. “Thanks for calling. Is everything okay?”

That was a mistake. Ash could talk a mile a minute. “Yeah, though there was some drama this morning over a bad review. You know how they call people bad fans for agreeing with criticism? A fight broke out, but I handled it. I think.”

I zoned out a bit as she chattered on, but my attention perked up when she said, “I wanted to tell them how you’re about to start work at the very magazine where that review was posted.”

The elevator dinged its imminent arrival, and I switched the phone to my other ear so I could better enunciate my response. “Do not under any circumstances tell anyone where I’m working.” I’d already explained all of this to her.

“Oh, I know. They’d all go nuts, expecting you to share state secrets or whatever.”

That was only half of it.

The elevator doors opened, and the crowd jostled me as people got off. I whispered as loud as I dared. “And if my boss, or anyone here, happened upon your posts, they’d figure out pretty fast you were talking about me.”

Maybe it wasn’t lethally uncool be a fan forum admin, but I wasn’t ready to find out.

She sighed. “Got it. It’s still exciting.”

I stepped onto the elevator. “Ash, I need to go. Please only text if there’s a real emergency, okay?”

“Sure thing. And good luck, Layla.” Before I could hit End on the call, her tinny voice came through the speaker. “If you meet anyone famous, let me know!”

Muffled chuckles on the elevator made it clear they’d all heard.

There were days I started thinking I was too old to run a fan site for a band who didn’t know or care that I spent my time promoting them, all for free and out of the goodness of my heart. Not that they needed the publicity. Walking Disaster was one of the most successful bands of the past several years with no sign of slowing down.

Once upon a time I felt proud of what I’d accomplished, but nowadays, I never mentioned to anyone in real life that I ran a fan forum. It sounded interesting when I was nineteen. At twenty-eight, announcing that I was anonymously famous in a very remote corner of the Internet would be met with understandable pity.

Still, I shot a glance around the elevator on the off chance a celebrity hid in our midst. It would be entertaining to bask in Ash’s jealousy