In A Twisted Mirror
Gideon Piers Alexander Smith

Chiara reached into the pile of mail, fishing, searching. It was as if bloodhound senses guided her hand each time. She knew it was here, it had to be, they shared an almost psychic link. She gingerly pulled it out of the center of the pile and turned it over. There on the front of the envelope, in cute, tiny spiral writing was her address and her favorite two words in the entire world, "Chiara Bella". She looked at the corner, although she didn't have to, she knew who this was from: Suzy Atler, her "biggest fan", Detroit, MI. Suzy had written to her every day for three years, ever since the release of her first CD "Hey Bella!" and even before her sound had been picked up and plastered across the face of America by every pop DJ in the country. Chiara sniffed the envelope. Suzy had, as usual, applied a squirt of Chiara's perfume, 'Bella. Chiara giggled and wrinkled up her nose. She hadn't written to her little fan often, but they had corresponded. Suzy wrote of how she had been at the stores the first day her CD had been released, asked her for beauty tips and told her how she had had her hair styled to mimic her latest look. Never mind that Chiara had attained the look by means of a hair piece. Thrilled as usual, Chiara passed the letter to her publicist. Today she was going to make Suzy's dreams come true. "This is the little girl I want on stage with me when the show opens in Detroit."

Chiara was into the third song when a spotlight came on to the side of the stage. Chiara had been delayed by a mob of fans and, with all the rush, there had been no chance to meet the little girl beforehand. Chiara turned. The girl had an identical outfit to Chiara, but instead of Chiara's taught abdomen, her adolescent puppy fat bulged over the waistband. At the side of the stage stood not a cute, dimple cheeked, pigtail wearing little blonde version of herself, but a carnival caricature of her image. The girl was moving awkwardly across the stage attempting Chiara's latest dance routine. Chiara paused as her clownish clone jerked and flopped towards center stage. The pudgy monster reached Chiara, and smiled with glassy adolescent eyes up at her. Chiara looked down at the pudgy fingers trying to clasp her own and the makeup smeared face lip-sinking to her song. She felt the entire audiences eyes upon her and this freak. She grasped the little girls hand till it hurt. The girls sickly little smile gave way to confusion. "I'm your biggest fan".

First published: November 2002