Chapter 07: Men Are Terrible

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The next morning Kim changed into a different dress and went to the CTM Management offices in Hollywood. Inside she found an old man sitting behind a desk. 

“You must be Kim, pleasure to meet you,” the man said. “I’m Simon Orsik. Kim’s told me a lot about you. I was of course interested in anyone she recommends.”

He paused, clearly waiting for Kim to say something. There was a very comfortable-looking chair right in front of the desk and Kim was fixated on the fact that he had not offered her the opportunity to sit down. He just kept her standing there in front of him, which Kim found humiliating and rude. 

“Hi,” she said. 

“Let’s take a look at your head shots and comp card,” Simon said.

“What?” Kim asked. He hadn’t even offered her a glass of rosé or sparkling water or anything. This was unreal. 

“No head shots?” Simon continued. “You’ll need to get those taken. A friend of mine at Pop Glam owes me a favor. Head over there right now and get those done. I can’t have my client not have head shots!”

He gave Kim an impossibly smug smile, obviously wanting her to notice what he’d said about her being his client now. Was she supposed to bow and scrape and thank him profusely? He probably expected terrifying sexual favors. He was a doddering old fool and she would kick him out the window as soon as touch him.

Now he was saying something about his teenage daughter. God, who cared about anything this man had to say, ever. 

Kim said bye and went to leave.

“One more thing,” Simon called after her. “Put on some new clothes to impress photographers and the media.” 

She looked down at her outfit, which was perfectly serviceable, lovely in fact. It was the pink version of the black dress she’d worn the previous night. The fact that she had even bothered putting on a dress for this pathetic, decrepit man, when she had  desperately wanted to just wear jeans and a hoodie, only for him to criticize her?

She felt a wicked fire burning deep within her heart, a fire that longed to explode from her and engulf this horrible man until he was nothing but bones and ash. But instead she simply ignored him and walked out, having made up her mind about what kind of man Simon Orsik was. 

She needed to stay focused. She needed to play along for now, and level up as quickly as she could in order to build her powers. It was clear that Willow Pape and Paris Hilton were connected on some deep, mystical level. Just as Paris was the reason she had been trapped here, Willow would be the key to her escape. Killing Willow Pape would cause the forces trapping her here to dissipate. 

Or that was her idea, anyway. If it didn’t work, well, at the very least a dead Willow Pape was the only sufferable Willow Pape.

Kim turned this plan over in her mind as she made her way Downtown. 

At Pop Glam, the photographer turned out to be that Garrett St. Clair guy from the other day, although if he recognized Kim he gave no indication of it. 

Profile Shot, Check Makeup, Grab a Drink, Check Negatives and boom, the photo shoot was done. Kim grabbed her money and leveled-up, pocketing the K-Star on the first bounce. She walked out without saying goodbye or thank you to Garrett the photographer.

She stood on the sidewalk outside Pop Glam, feeling a little better, having leveled up, but not much. According to her phone she had some new clothes to choose from in her closet, which was exciting. But still. She’d had to deal with a lot of men today and it was incredibly tiresome. 

She hadn’t bothered to change her dress before starting the photo shoot but Garrett hadn’t even mentioned it. It was as though Simon just needed to control her. A man for a manager, who controls what you do. A man for a photographer, who controls how you look and move. Men trying to control access to everything she wanted and needed. 

What a terrible way to live. In her own world, men had long been made irrelevant. She wished to be back there, more desperately than ever. 

She saw a stray cat nearby and stopped to pet it. It curled itself around her leg and purred. The cat had a sign that said Kim could adopt it, if she had more K-Stars than she could currently imagine ever having. But adopt it from whom? Who abandons a cat on the sidewalk and then prevents you from taking it home unless you pay some exorbitant, unobtainable fee? 

Probably a man. 

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