She was tireless, relentless and all the “-lesses” that make someone a star. As such, she could not process even the most basic of human quandaries (like, say, needing to be at work at a certain time the morning following her late-ending concert). She had no use for them. To her, people were nothing more than the dollar signs that helped fortify her bank account and her ability to therefore be exempt from such unforeseen catastrophic events as a “pandemic.” A word that surely could not apply to someone of her class station. She was Mariposa, after all. Four syllables that meant, “Shut the fuck up, and respect my authority.” Whether this was directed at the many slaves in her employ, her adoring fans or non-human entities like a virus, she did not care. Everyone and everything was at her command, and no one’s quotidian personal life was going to affect her own “needs” and desires. And her need and desire while on this world tour was not going to be flouted by some virus. The show must go on, she said, paying off everyone who worked for the arena to go against the government shutdown of all venues housing more than a thousand people. “Well, of course that eliminates pretty much every fucking venue,” she hissed at her personal assistant, Erica, as she, for some reason, brushed Mariposa’s hair. She could not recall such a task being in the original job description. But who was she to protest when her salary was six figures? ‘Twas the tradeoff for being at Mariposa’s constant beck and call and never being able to actually use any of her hard-earned money.
Nor much in the way of sound moral judgment, for here she was about to do a sweep of bribery so that the show could go on quietly, with a last minute email sent out to ticket holders telling them the concert was still a go. Mariposa didn’t care about the so-called repercussions, she had made enough money in her lifetime to buy herself and any of her ascending bloodline out of such things as “consequences.” Erica, knowing this, boldly went through with the instructions. And, at exactly 9 p.m., the arena was overrun with fans, making devil-may-care, body-to-body, breath-to-breath contact. Mariposa took the stage at 10:14 p.m., allowing plenty of time for them to incubate with one another. Oh my, how easy it was to see that humanity itself is a virus. That’s certainly what Mariposa was thinking as she peered through the curtain to assess the drones that were her fans. What a fucking pathetic lot. Genuinely believing in her message about equality, about how we’re all the same and should be treated as such. How idiotic could they be? Clearly the only reason she was able to build a career was as a result of not being the same–equal–to these no-talent lackeys. Some people were born to be the center of attention, and others simply to watch, to bask in whatever residual glow they could take from a better person’s spotlight.
Mariposa was that better person. She knew it, her acolytes knew it–but that didn’t mean they couldn’t all still pretend her message of equality was genuine. After all, it was what gave their mediocre little lives meaning. It being: Her. So how could she possibly deny them the pleasure of seeing her show? While other less iconic pop stars were forced to obey the government by actually cancelling their shows, Mariposa knew she could not be forced to do anything. What did the government know–understand–about the relationship between a pop star and her fans? How could they–this gaggle of stodgy old white men–possibly fathom what it was to be relevant? What it was to have more power over the youth than they ever would? She didn’t expect them to ever conceive of her almightiness. For it was something that they did not want to acknowledge even if they had the capacity to. All the better that they couldn’t: it would just make her even more of a subject of controversy to them.
Speaking of controversy, she decided to open the show with a different number this time, one rife with guns and blood and tampons. There were a whole lot of “hotbed” symbols, concluding with a frozen image of dirty surgical masks in a landfill. No one was quite sure what it was all supposed to mean, but everyone found it very profound. Their uproarious cheering and clapping was affirmation of as much. Mariposa could feel their adulation radiating onto her, and it made her feel stronger, as though she was absorbing all their energies to make herself further immortal and impervious to anything like a “disease.”
As she made it all the way to singing the second to last song in the set, the police bum-rushed the entire stadium, clearing people out. But that only added to the folkloric nature of the event, as far as she and everybody else were concerned. Lent that final push of “you had to be there to get it” clout to the performance. Of course, those who were not there were ultimately quite glad to have skipped out, for only one week later, virtually two-thirds of the audience showed signs of the illness, which had since been nicknamed the “What Goes Around” virus. And it was certainly coming around to all those who were so convinced they were immune to such “overblown” trivialities, such “overt” machinations of the government wanting to exercise fascist authority. Mariposa would’ve almost felt guilty for subjecting her audience to such an inconvenience, if she herself were capable of empathizing with the notion of inconvenience. Yet she was forced to be both semi-sympathetic and thankful when she could confirm to her fans that she, too, had been infected, making a dramatic announcement on her social media pages before turning to Erica and telling her to book her a trip to Seychelles.
The pop star was infected with the virus. But it didn’t matter. The rich were always in a mode of self-quarantine anyway. She could simply take this time to use as an excuse for a much needed detox. A “spa day,” of sorts, but for two weeks. Then she would be right as rain, able to soldier ahead with the rest of the planned tour dates.