Arts & Entertainments: A Novel by Christopher Beha

Arts & Entertainments: A Novel by Christopher Beha

Author:Christopher Beha [Beha, Christopher]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2014-07-01T00:00:00+00:00



AT THE BEGINNING OF his third week at the Cue, Eddie went to the lobby newsstand to buy his magazines. This trip was already developing into a kind of weekly ritual, a way of marking the passage of days that were mostly spent alone in his room. He could follow Susan’s life—to some extent, he could even follow his own—hour by hour online or on TV, but there was something more meaningful about these pages held in his hand, which told only those stories that had risen above the daily chatter and solidified into something slightly more substantial.

He took the magazines from the rack and paid without looking at them, eager to get back upstairs before being caught on his errand. There was no sign that anyone in the lobby recognized him, but he had already learned that someone was always watching. On his second morning at the hotel, having realized he’d be staying a while, he’d gone shopping for clothes. No photographers waited when he left the hotel, and no one stopped him outside or even paid him any particular attention that he noticed. But the next morning, a report on CelebretainmentSpot documented his slide into shopping addiction, complete with a list of every purchase he’d made the day before. An anonymous friend expressed worry that Eddie’s new lifestyle was ruining him.

When he finally left his room again a few days later, the seeming normalcy of the world outside was enough to lull him back into complacency. That evening his entire day was documented online, in bits and pieces, videos Teesed out, eyewitness accounts on gossip sites. He’d responded politely to a flirtatious barista at the coffee shop, but in the photo he was leering at her. A sneeze at the lobby bar became a drunken scowl.

All the magazines spoke of their “spies” in the streets. They used the word self-mockingly, but it was exactly right. Eddie felt like a man awaiting trial in a police state. None of the evidence would be falsified, because if you followed someone everywhere you eventually found something real you could use against him. Actual police states, he knew, hardly needed spies. Instead, they taught their citizens to spy on each other. This was how it seemed to him—he was constantly being watched, but there was no one doing the watching. In such a world, no one could be trusted. So he stayed in his room. Ignoring it all might have been easier than locking himself away. They could write what they wanted; no one was making him read it. But these magazines and gossip sites were his only sources of information about Susan, who still wouldn’t answer his messages. So long as he kept up with them, he had nearly as much access to her as he’d had when they were living together. She’d become a top story. CelebretainmentSpot’s Bump Watch tracked her belly on a daily basis. On This Morning Live, a celebrity obstetrician held up an artist’s rendering of the fetuses and recited a long list of possible developmental complications.


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