Flash Fiction: “Surrounded By Stardom”

One of these days, I’ll make it to Paris. However, that’s never stopped me from writing many a story set in some Parisian neighborhood. There’s something magical to the city (or at least my visions of it).

This story also comes courtesy of the prompts I received from my friends at Write It Up! Burbank. Enjoy.

Surrounded by Stardom, by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 462

It was supposed to have been Jean-Philippe’s big day. It wasn’t every day that an American celebrity waltzed into his small fashion boutique in the heart of Paris. The streets of Montmartre were lined from one intersection to the next with dozens of paparazzi and fans, both foreign and domestic.

And all poor Jean-Philippe could do was try not to cry.

“How could this have happened?” his assistant Odette shrieked. She cowered behind the row of mannequins in the store’s main window. “We were so careful!”

Jean-Philippe put his hand to his cheek. “Honestly,” he murmured, “how could we not, ma chérie?

The world-famous Kardashians had arrived only three hours late, and Jean-Philippe hadn’t worried. The sisters had bickered over his spring season outfits, and he’d been fine with that. One of their boyfriends had toppled over a window display, and the boutique owner had bitten down hard on his lip, but still he’d said nothing.

He had been so genteel, right up until the point where Mademoiselle Khloe had slapped a now-intoxicated Kim, who was presently recovering in the back room.

Jean-Philippe had offered his condolences over the phone to Kim’s manager. The manager, however, had demanded a paparazzi-free exit—“or else,” he’d added.

The implications were clear. Jean-Philippe could not afford to fail. Literally.

“Maurice!” he called out to the room behind the silk curtains. “How’s it coming back there!”

“Almost finished!” the tailor cried in his rough dock worker’s voice.


“Well, she passed out, monsieur. She’s more cooperative now.”

Mon Dieu,” Jean-Philippe whispered.

His mind whirred into action while his eyes drifted over the wreckage of his boutique and his nervous wreck of an assistant. Outside, the sea of cameramen and young ladies in obnoxious black wigs grew restless. They made waves, brushing up against the shore of his tiny storefront.

And then, he leapt. Inspiration struck hard and fast.

“Odette!” Jean-Philippe called out. “Go into the back. Get the prop box for our summer season.”

“What on Earth for?” she asked, her eyes peeking up from her new position behind the counter.

The proprietor smiled. “Only the finest performance of my life.”

Everywhere one looked, the crowds laughed. Cameras flashed. The sun blazed down on the cobblestone avenues. And Jean-Philippe ignored them all.

He just kept dancing with his beach ball.

His face was painted white, and he’d dug up a black-striped shirt for himself. On top of his beach ball, he’d glued a simple black wig. With his ensemble complete, he lost himself to the dance.

Only when his cell phone buzzed, and Odette texted him that Miss Kardashian’s entourage had smuggled her away, did Jean-Philippe drop his beach ball onto the street.

The crowds gasped.

And when he bowed, the whole street burst into applause.

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