ScifiShort fiction

7 Minutes Of Fame! : a short story by: GF Willmetts

The show’s mantra got going off its reel: ‘The late artist Andy Warhol once or maybe more than once said that everyone was entitled to seven minutes of fame. This show, named after that, “7 Minutes Of Fame!”, offers that opportunity. I’m one of those people, who used that seven minutes and was successful and come back as guest host tonight. Those most popular from this show will appear in “Another 7 Minutes!” and so on to gain world-wide popularity. This show gives you that chance. My presence here proves it can be done.’

Best recording. I could never keep repeating myself like that day in day out.

‘I have to measure my own fourteen minutes here, so let’s introduce the first act, Betty the Ballerina.’

A slight lie after being host for so many years but that’s showbiz.

The camera turned to an over-weight lady in a tutu on the stage, who began to dance to swan lake.

I’m the host, Bobby Metre. A better name that Charlie Horslip. Comedians would have had a right time with that. Being a right Charlie and lets not forget the jokes with the surname. At least as Bobby Metre, I could be measured in musical time. I stepped back into the wings, looking into the various cameras pointing at the various hopefuls.

‘What a load of losers’, someone muttered.

‘We’ve all been there’, I said aloud, looking around, but internally agreeing. It was far too easy to spot the upcoming stars from the riff-raff. Talent came in many forms but rarely from being truly awful. Even so, everyone who wanted to was entitled to their seven minutes of fame. Was it better to laugh with or at? The lady ballet dancer could make it in either way and take credit if successful and smart enough to continue whatever if popular enough. Everyone likes triers. I’ll have to remember to tell my biographer that.

“7 Minutes Of Fame!” happened a couple decades ago and kept this government in power. How to keep a worried diminishing population happy from the very slow recovery from global warming that could so easily swing the other way. The celebrity culture just got expanded to take everyone in. Even those in prison although they were in a different club. A distraction as the human race facing its own extinction. The franchise was making money. A key factor in television.

Not everyone fell in line. The suicides were up but kept quiet. A happy population was easier to control than one in fear of the end. The contrary examples in dictatorial countries showed depressed and despair and lack of care. Like rats running into a trap. That news got blocked. No one wanted to really do a business trip there, let alone holiday. Better to stay at home and practice for their seven minutes of fame. Well that and the regular jobs they might have. A percentage weren’t interested in fame but most were intelligent enough to find other things to keep them happy. The world going to hell in a breadbasket and all of us happy to be toast.

The light flashed. Next act. I went out and introduced a comedian. I hope he had good jokes. So many repeated what was out there. Maybe a little change in dressing. People had such short memories.

A century ago, people might have been happy with a recital or something. These days, the budget could only be extended to what you could carry on you. The turnover was something too big to make room for anything else. The number of shows that popped up with similar themes was as near to copyright infringement and plagiarism as could be but there was enough contestants for everyone. With the way contracts were written, they could go through a lot of riff-raff but one real star a season was worth millions providing we could reach the next decade. I might have moved on by then. Down as a radio DJ with a small audience or the heights of “Celebrity 70 Minutes!” with my own show, showing I could be more than host.

Everyone, all right, most people busy wanting to be a star in their spare time was actually having an effect on population adding to global warming. Not much granted but the number of barbecues and such were down. If they weren’t rehearsing then they certainly were watching.

If the world ended right now, I doubt if most people would notice. Excuse me.

The comedian was coming to the end of his turn, revealing a switch in his hand.

‘This last joke will be a blast as I blow us all to hell,’

‘Not without a detonator wire,’ I said walking onto the stage.

I hit him in the stomach and as he keeled over, grabbed the switch just to be on the safe side. I was lying, of course. Didn’t have a chance to frisk him. There’s always some joker out to spoil the fun.


© GF Willmetts 2024

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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