Chapter 21: Friendship, Part One: The Deal With K-Stars

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Kim was sitting with Mary the Sister Witch up in the VIP section at Chateau Nuit, where the most repetitive electronica in history was drilling itself into her ears. The entire club was cast in a ghoulish blood red hue, so Kim wasn’t totally sure if the gray bodies bouncing up and down below here were dancing, or writhing in pain in a very stylish circle of Hell. 

Kim scooted closer to Mary and yelled in her ear. “What event are we here for?”

Mary waved the question off. “Does it matter? An after party for a movie premiere, a celebration for a fashion designer, the announcement of a new product, what does it matter? An event is just glitter and smoke and mirrors designed to make us enjoy the times when we’re the product, and forget the times when we’re the target demographic.”

“I was hoping you would say this is for my birthday.”

“D-List celebrities don’t typically warrant lavish birthday parties my dear, I’m sorry.”

“I get it,” Kim said, more than slightly bummed. “But do we have to stay long? I’m not really up for dancing tonight.”

“That’s fine, you’re not here to dance. You’re here to suck less.”

“I’m here to what WHO?” Kim shouted, hoping she had heard Mary incorrectly.

“You are here for your second challenge. Tonight you will learn to call the 2nd Corner: Friendship. Unless you would like to remain on the D-List forever?”

Kim 100% did not want to remain on the D-List forever. Willow Pape had recently made the C-list and her face continued to be all over the news thanks to her little lap dog Ray Powers. She had recently gotten a small TV role and it was said she was gathering the ingredients necessary for a banishment spell on Kim. 

“Nooooope,” Kim said. “I’m ready. What do I need to do?” 

Mary gestured grandly at the crowd below. “Befriend everyone at this event.”

“What, like everyone who’s anyone?”

“E V E R Y O N E,” Mary said, exaggerating every syllable.

Kim looked out at the crowd of undulating, sweaty bodies. “But there’s like hundreds of people. And some of them look gross or boring. And some of them I’ve already met and I already know I don’t like them.”

“And that is why we are here. You cannot have fame without friendship. More friendships, more alliances. Go forth. Make everyone like you.”

Kim slammed the rest of her drink and slid out of the booth and adjusted her outfit. Black vinyl. She looked fierce and amazing and was ready for anything. 

She made her way into the crowd and began interacting with people. Many were eager to speak with her. Making eye contact like Please talk to me. She banged those out right away. A few people just needed a quick hello and their info appeared in her Contacts. A few wanted hand hugs or regular hugs, which was fine either way. There were a couple of men in baseball hats who wanted her to listen while they droned on and on about their movies or their bands. Those were the WORST. But she got through it and once they were in her contacts Kim changed their names to DO NOT TEXT or NO TIMES INFINITY or just A MAN, NEED I SAY MORE.

A bunch of people resisted her initial charms so she bought them gifts, shoes or jewelry she thought they might like, which then had them eating out of her hand. 

Then she got to a few more difficult people who needed next-level charming, and who for some reason needed that charm to take the form of K-Stars. She kissed as much butt as her K-stars would allow, then went back to the VIP to find Mary. 

Mary was busily canoodling with some vampire-looking dude when Kim sat back down.

“How’s it going?” Mary asked.

“I’m like, I don’t know. Half done? Three quarters? I’m sending gifts around like crazy. A bunch of people here want K-Stars in order for me to charm them. But I don’t have a lot of K-Stars, and it’s not like money, where I can just transmute time in order to create more. 

“No, you’re right,” Mary said. “K-Stars don’t work the same as money.”

“But they kind of SHOULD, right? I mean why do we even have K-Stars?”

Mary shook her head. “Why does the wind howl? Why does the moon forever chase the sun across the sky?”

Kim looked at Mary. “Both of those things happen because of science. It just seems like ever since I got here, everyone is always trying to get K-Stars from me, and I never have enough of them, and if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone is always trying to get them from me, I wouldn’t be constantly wishing I had more of them. Even though--”

“Even though what?” Mary asked.

Kim had an idea. Something important was unlocking in her brain. “Even though I don’t actually need K-Stars for anything.”

“But of course you do, darling. You need them for charming people. For nicer clothes. Ingredients for certain higher-level spells. They’re really quite useful, you’ll find.”

“No they’re not,” Kim insisted. “K-Stars are just an additional currency. There’s no reason why some things should cost money and some things should cost shiny metal stars. It’s just a way to create artificial scarcity. It’s a false economy.” 

Suddenly everything made sense to Kim and she saw the way through this challenge. 

“Really Kim dear,” Mary said. “Stay focused on the matter at hand, you still have so many people to befriend here.”

“K-Stars are a completely Fake Idea,” Kim said. “And I’m going to prove it. Tonight.”

“Oh dear,” Mary said, her face growing pale, even in the blood red light.

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