Monday, December 6, 2010


By Debbie Davis

You twitch your neck to stop the blinding fury that is racing through your veins, but you only succeed in making your hair fall perfectly into place. Skin’s ass is mine, you think to yourself -- until you realize there is no time for anger. Your soul is hanging precariously in the balance, for God’s sake!

Forgetting you’re nothing more than a frail teen pop phenom, you hunch down as if you were a linebacker, and barrel toward the vault which holds your soul. The pain you feel on impact makes your blinding rage turn to blinding stars as you fall to the ground, stunned. That wasn’t like the movies at all.

You debate a second run at it but the throbbing in your shoulder stops you. You pull yourself together and stand to ponder your options. The damn neck twitch is back, but this time you notice the door is ajar -- but only slightly. You twitch again, and it opens a little more. Yes! You think. Yes! It’s all in the twitch! You twitch and twitch and twitch and finally the door opens completely.
The jar which contains your soul is placed on a podium about fifty feet ahead. Red laser beams are everywhere, like in Mission Impossible -- only you know it is, indeed, possible. You’ve played a cat, a comic book villain, and a computer in your career. This is the first time since you woke up that you’re grateful for Bieber’s mini size. Easy as taking candy from a baby…
In minutes, you possess what you covet the most, your soul. You twist the lid on the jar, but it won’t budge. You place it gently back on the podium and bring your hands to your mouth to blow on them. Retrieving the jar again, you try a second time. Nothing. You can’t throw it in here, or it will trip the beams and set off alarms, so you make your way back outside the vault.
Once you’re safely in the lab, you throw the glass jar to the floor with all the strength you can muster, but it does nothing more than bounce like rubber. Damn it! You’re about to kick it when a loud buzz begins to ebb through the room. You cover your sensitive ears as you see a hologram take shape.

Skin appears before you. “I knew you’d try and steal what’s mine,” he says.
“The soul is mine, Skin,” you reply through clenched teeth. “This soul belongs to me.”

Skin looks pensive. “I believe we’ve been over this. No refunds, no exchanges.”

“I want my soul back!” You scream, your voice cracking with each word.

“I am a fair man,” Skin replies. “A fair man indeed. I shall give you an opportunity to get your soul back in due time. A car awaits you outside. You will be taken to your new home. You can spend the night there. At dawn, meet me at Rodeo Plaza for further instructions.” The hologram begins to fade.

“Skin? Wait! Skin?”

But he’s gone.

“Skin!” You shake a fist in the air.

You take the jar and tuck it into the crook of your arm. When you get outside, just like Skin promised, a large black sedan is waiting. As you get in, you think you hear someone scream “Justin!”

You slide into the leather seat of the car and try to relax as the driver starts the ignition. In what seems like only moments, you pull up to a large mansion. Is this where I live? You thank the driver, because it’s the polite thing to do, and go inside.

You spend the night dreaming of Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush going at it like pigs, and at 5AM you change into skinny jeans (that look like they’d fit a five year old girl) and an Ed Hardy hoodie with some crazy purple shoes. It’s time to reclaim what’s yours! As the car pulls into Rodeo Plaza, Skin, the bastard, is seated at a bench with a coffee and a paper. As you approach, he lowers the paper and you notice his once very green eyes, the same eyes that haunt you, are now brown.

You squint to make sure you’re seeing it right. “What the fuck is wrong with your eyes, Skin?”
He smiles his evil, sadistic grin. “How…observant.”

You don’t want to play his games anymore, but you also notice his hands, previously white as paper, have a beautiful dark color to them. “Skin,” you say, pointing, “your skin. It’s changing color.”

Skin begins to laugh the kind of cackle you’d hear in the most horrific of nightmares and transforms before your eyes. His bones crack and his face distorts and when it's over you scream--again.

“Oh my God, Usher!” You don’t know if you should run, punch him, or call 9-1-1.

“Who else would I be?” He smirks.

“Uh, Dr. Skin?” You raise an eyebrow like the answer should be obvious.

“Not so. Little brother, I am Skin and Skin is I.”

You’re suddenly courageous and move toward him, giving him a hard shove. For some reason, your eyes are welling with tears and you feel as if you’ve been cheated on. “B-b-b-but why, Usher? Why? I thought you were his friend! My friend!”

“Yeah well JB is a fame whore. He needs to be brought down a notch.” He shrugs. “Sorry you happened to get in the way.”

“What did I ever do to you, Usher? I even bought your album!” You exclaim.

“Right, well, this is Hollywood, baby, not the romper room.”

“I want my soul, you horse’s ass!” Your scream is loud, but it’s faded by a pack of wild preteen girls screeching in the distance. They are approaching with as much force as a herd of buffalo. Your eyes flicker and you say Traywen and Drevor sipping lattes in the plaza. Perfect. The day couldn’t get any better.

Usher crooks a finger at you. “Like I told you. I’m a fair man. I will give you the chance to win your soul back.”

You want to focus on what he’s saying, but the screams are just getting louder and Traywen is making googly eyes at you, right there in front of Drevor. You can’t help but smile and flip your hair. You think maybe you even wink.

“Pay attention,” Usher scolds.

“What?” You hiss. “How can I win my soul back?”

Usher gives another Cheshire grin as you clench your fists. You really want to knock his teeth out. “I said I challenge you to a dance off.”

“Fuck off.” You tell him. It’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard.

“A dance off.”

“No.” You shake your head. “I said fuck off.”

“A dance off.” It’s like he’s one of those dolls you pull the string on that do nothing but repeat themselves.

“Fuck off.”

Usher makes a face. “Whatever man. It truly is your loss,” he turns to leave.

“Wait!” You hold out your hand to stop him. “Can I kick your ass instead?”

“You can try, but I might warn you, I’m a third degree black belt.”

“Fuck off.” You say again. You can’t dance. You might be eight thousand times more limber in this body than your old one, but it still can’t give you rhythm.

“It’s the only way. You either need to win or I need to die. That’s the only way your soul will once again become your own.” His fingers are steepled as he awaits your response.

The pack of girls starts to sound like they are milliseconds away. You need to think—fast—or you might be the victim of a skirted stampede, which at this point, might not necessarily be a bad thing. But you can’t dance!


  1. haha! How could I not vote for a dance-off?

    seriously. Trickery :-P

    loved it!

  2. Sorry, but I did not vote for a dance-off. I'd rather see Usher trampled. :)

  3. haha! I don't care for either of them, but I am ALWAYS for the dance off.

    can't help it...