Cadell Blackstock (CB): Thanks for making the time to sit down with me and talk about the book, Crash.
Crash Cole (Crash): Where’s your publicity assistant?
Crash: You know, the hot redhead with the legs that go on forever, the fiery demon that guards the gates of heaven—
CB: Does anyone actually fall for that crap?
Crash: Woah, guess who didn’t get laid last night!
CB: Too busy writing about you, unfortunately. You ought to know all about sacrifice (Crash gives him a strange look, but Cadell doesn’t notice) seeing as you’re an actor, slave to your craft…
Crash: (looking around him) Where are we? What is this place? Why’s everything so— so white?
CB: Can we focus, Crash—
Crash: You choose some really weird places to hang out. Seriously mate, this place gives me the creeps. There’s absolutely nothing here. Is this the inside of your brain?
CB: —just for five minutes?
Crash: Make it two and I’m all yours. Well, obviously not literally. Not my type mate, sorry, no offence.
CB: (rolls his eyes) You’re much more trouble in the flesh than on paper.
Crash: That’s your fault, not mine. Shouldn’t have made me such a favourite with the ladies.
CB: Yeah, what is that all about?
Crash: Totals, mate, totals. 1003 in Britain alone. Well, it may have been 1004. Or maybe 1005. Last few days are a bit hazy, mate, if I’m honest.
CB: That’s the population of a small town…
Crash: So? I’ve got a reputation to keep up. Get it?
CB: Tell me you’re not really this crass all the time.
Crash: Of course not. It’s just the way people perceive me to be. Deep down I’m a serious, thoughtful guy.
CB: (looks at him in disbelief)
Crash: I am! (pauses, studying his fingernails) Actually I am, you know that. Last few days things have been different, you know? (lowers his voice) I can feel things are about to change. What have you got in store for me, mate? You about to turn my world upside down?
Crash: Am I gonna like it?
CB: You hate being bored.
Crash: I am bored. You’re right. I’m tired of making the TV show, I’m tired of reading my name in the effing tabloids. Time to do something different, time to move on. Maybe I’ll just jump on my bike and take off somewhere, far away from all this meaningless crap. You know what, you’re no better than the rest of the media. You just create what you want to see, what you think people want to read. You don’t pay enough attention to the details, you just take the photo and tell people what you think they want to hear. It’s just a myth, I’m just an effing myth. I am the hollow man…
CB: TS Eliot?
Crash: I’m not as stupid as I look. Don’t be fooled by the leather jacket and the bike helmet, and the trail of lacy knickers I leave in my wake.
Crash doesn’t answer.
CB: Is everything OK?
Crash: (gets up and wanders around listlessly) Seriously, what is this place? Where have you brought me?
CB: (hesitates) This wasn’t entirely my doing, Crash.
Crash: I haven’t read Eliot for years. You’re a writer, what’s that poem about?
CB: When did you first start reading poetry?
Crash: Years ago, when I was still a motorbike courier, before all this— stuff— before Crash and the girls— well, not before some of the girls, I admit, but most of them. Come on, what is that poem about, the “hollow men” one?
CB: Some people say it’s about death and dying, about the way the souls cross over—
Crash: That’s what this place reminds me of, heaven—
CB: About the way the dead see the living—
Crash: (looking around nervously) Where’s that noise coming from? D’you hear it?
CB: You said you feel like a hollow man, like a myth, a construction of other people’s imaginations.
Crash: Are we about to go into a press conference, mate, or some sort of DVD signing? Is that what I can hear, a crowd, paparazzi, journos drunk on free coffee?
Crash: (dragging his attention back to Cadell, he moves to the edge of his seat, rubbing his chest with the palm of his hand) What? Oh, the myth thing. Well, yeah, obviously, I mean, it’s like everyone thinks they own a piece of me, you know, they think they know me, they think they have the right to judge me, just because I’m in the public eye all the time. How would they like it if I popped up in their bedroom and gave them a bit of feedback? (looks around) What is that noise?
CB: (glances at his watch) The five minutes are nearly up. Look, Crash, this is important. Would you rather write it yourself, write your own story in your own words?
Crash: What did you say? I can’t hear you too well— What did you say, mate?
To find out what happened next, buy Crash Cole in ‘The Rake Spared’ by Cadell Blackstock for Kindle from Amazon UK or Amazon US.