Track 3 ...Baby One More Time
“Oh Baby, Baby Oh Baby, Baby How was I supposed to know That something wasn't right here?” - Britney Spears
“I'm sorry, oh so sorry Can't you give me one more chance To make it all up to you E-mail my heart and say our love will never die.” - Britney Spears
An inauspicious Tuesday morning is shattered when Britney Spears, one of the most manufactured human who will soon herald the end of humanity, enters a coffee shop. These shops were where the comfortable humans silently lined up for their daily dose of the species's favorite drug, caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant which would bubble through the central nervous system of humans, increasing wakefulness, focus, quickening their heart rates and creating a momentary buzz of euphoria. More than 2.5 billion cups were once consumed every day. Yet, 90% of the comfortless humans that farmed those coffee beans would never be able to purchase their produce.
A few customers thought something was amiss seeing this wealthy Princess of Pop adorned only in a pink tutu and a skintight gold jumpsuit. Most shrugged, she had been known to wear eccentric outfits (Reference: her denim on denim on denim fiasco). She orders her orange mocha frappuccino with extra whipped cream, as was her ritual. The transactor of funds does notice a haltingness but thought nothing of this. Who of her customers was not abrupt before their morning drug fix.
The customer behind Britney hurls the spark that lit the flame. A frumpy human woman scoffs at Britney's choice, making sure her disdain is loud enough for all to hear. For this woman, Suzanne, the core unit of her social interactions had just fallen apart. Her husband had left her. Her children had stopped speaking with her. Through the chaos of her world, she savored every opportunity to assert herself and exert control over her surroundings.
Today, she sets her sites on Britney.
“Really?” Suzanne starts. “THAT's what you're getting? Do you know how much sugar is---”
With a flip of golden hair, Britney stares down her tormentor. Her eyes widen as she absorbs this woman and yells.
“Get your own fucking life, BITCH!”
Britney grabs her frozen treat and tips it upside down over the woman's head. An ice cold blob slides out and sloshes on Suzanne's face.
“Oops!” Britney stares with a mischievous smile.
She flicks her wrist, letting the gravity created by Earth's massive bend in spacetime pull more frozen sludge onto this woman.
“I did it again.”
The once emotionless line of humans froths with glee over this melee. As they cheer, each grabs a personal communication and recording device to document Britney.
Suzanne wails, hoping her sobs will bring her sympathy.
The crowd pushes Suzanne aside as they follow Britney towards the exit. The camera footage shakes as these amateur documentarians dash after their subject. Within minutes, dozens of portrait videos surface online. The black bars on either side force its watchers to beg “what did we miss?”
* * *
Across the city, Harvey Levin, the septuagenerian in charge of TMZ sits at his desk. This pirate factory steals, replicates and distributes details pertaining to the most mundane daily activities of humans vaulted so high as to be called stars. He squeals with delight. Britney had been their cash cow and he longed to suckle again from the milk of her fame.
In its short 20-year existence, he has transformed this site of yellow journalism into humanity's most popular purveyor of facts. An industry meant to enlighten humans and expose corruption now only exposed side boob. He had recently laid off his stable of aggressive photojournalists, the paparazzi. These camera-eyed humans would trip over themselves in attempts to capture a star's every scowl and back roll. He replaced these with mosquito-like drones that could swoop in and snatch more intimate moments far more cheaply.
Levin springs to his feet, rips open his office window and summons his mechanical workers into action.
“Fly my pretties, FLY!”
Off a thousand dronarazzi fly. Equipped with wireless internet, each scans social media to find the geolocation of the most recently uploaded footage of their target, Britney Spears, and adjusts their coordinates accordingly.
Levin sits down and turns to the cameras that surround his desk.
“How was that, too dramatic?” He asks, eagerly, as he swills from a water bottle. Documenters documented him documenting the real lives of humans famous for playing fake humans. Such navel-gazing demonstrates the willful obliviousness of humanity to their imminent annihilation.
* * *
For the next two and a half rotations of this planet, billions of humans are entranced by the havoc this one woman has wrought. Waves of her graven image flood the screens that the comfortable humans focused 80% of their waking hours on. She was the star around which their attention revolved.
Britney appears at the sprawling temple grounds to the worship of vanity. The shrieks of young and old precede her as she enters one of the complex's many chapels: Hot Topic. Humans wrap their bodies in pieces of fabric to create identities for themselves and then align themselves in groups. This boutique sells black clothes with witty sayings that let humans communicate, “I'm edgy and witty--- just like everyone else who bought the same scraps of fabric.”
Britney walks up to the first rack and pulls out a T-shirt. There she sees her own face, warped and screen printed. Above her golden hair, gothic letters spell “You drive me.” In the image, her eyes are flipped to cross her field of vision. A tongue is tacked onto the opening between her lips, dipping down and to the right. Liquid flows from this tongue to build the word beneath her face: “CRAZY.”
Britney shrieks with delight.
She husks off her outer layers in the middle of the store and pulls on this shirt. For the growing crowd, she mimics the face on the T-shirt. Her fans applaud.
“It's Britney, Bitch!” The throng chants as she catwalks through them.
As a phalanx, they flow around her. She pulls clothes from every rack, twirling them in the air like cotton/polyester blend batons. She grabs a pair of neon purple fishnets, rips the crotch and pulls these over her head.
After Hot Topic, she glides through the cool, climate-controlled atmosphere to the two more chapels: Claire's and Forever 21. The masses swell around her, eager to take part in this spectacle.
None of these humans feel compassion for this woman struggling through a mental breakdown. No, she had never been human to them. Britney was a demigod, enshrined on posters above beds, prayed to in hopes she would intercede and save them from their boring, basic lives.
And here she was!
The warble became flesh and dwelt among them.
Devoid of her luster, her gloss, her photoshop, she stood as a mere mortal. The crowd merrily prodded her to see how flawed she was, how low their star could sink.
As she emerges into the sun's rays, a crowd of 3,000 arcs around the mall's entrance. Above her, the dronarazzi descend from all sides. With each click, her image is stolen and transmitted to TMZ, wrapped in ads for deodorants, sent to satellites and shot across the planet.
Britney howls and swats at them.
“Here Britney, take this.”
A father throws her the bat he had just purchased for his son. Britney catches it.
“Sometimes I run,” Britney scans the periphery. The crowd becomes a chorus, echoing the familiar refrain.
“Sometimes I run.”
“Sometimes I hide,” she reels back.
“Sometimes I hide,” the crowd responds.
“And sometimes, I fight the fuck back.”
She pivots forward and hits three drones with one swing.
The crowd roars its approval.
These pudgy hands, which normally scroll through celebrity images sucked up by these vampiric machines, now cheer their destruction.
With years of dance experience, Britney jumps, stomps and kicks with ferocious force. She hits both a beat and destroys another set of drones. She cracks 22 drones on her dance attack to her car. Satisfied, she drops the bat, blows a kiss to the crowd, cackles and drives away.
* * *
As Britney's longitude on Earth rolls away from the sun, darkness envelops the land. Her body shakes with excitement, unaware of the overactivity of dopamine receptors in her brain propelling this manic episode.
Clad in a cowboy hat, daisy dukes and a flannel shirt, Britney paces her back porch. A pixie stick stands straight up from her lips. Grains of sugar drop into her mouth, dissolving and flooding into her blood stream.
She twirls a double-barreled shotgun and scans the sky.
She hears them first. The mechanical whir of helicopter blades pierce the tranquil night.
Eight pigeon-sized night vision dronarazzi descend over her property.
Britney sucks the pixie stick down, spits it on the ground and aims. Caught in her crosshairs, she sees the camera lens wink.
“You want a piece of me?!”
A direct hit.
The drone drops into her infinity pool, sparking a wave of electricity across its surface.
Britney rubs her shoulder, pained from the blowback until a wave of adrenaline silences her suffering.
She cocks her gun.
Britney twirls the gun and blows out the smoke, laughing to herself.
Her orange Pomeranian smiles a goofy grin and follows the whistle-crash of her master's kills. Bounding through the backyard, the puppy squats and pees on each robot, ensuring their recording devices are forever destroyed.
Around her Calabasas home, the hills are alive with the sound of intermittent shotgun blasts all through the night. Annoyed neighbors call the police to complain. The police had been prepared for this moment and calmly explain.
“There's nothing we can do, the city council approved hunting of unmanned drones within the city limits. Your neighbor is well within her rights.”
* * *
Four and a half rotations of this planet into her breakdown, Britney emerges from her home, her hair disheveled and bags sag beneath her wild eyes. A chaotic zeal propels her. She's eager to show off her new necklace. Cascading from the nape of her neck, over her clavicles and hanging just above her bellybutton are her kills. Like a skilled early human hunter, wearing the bones of her prey to radiate ferocity, Britney wears five dronarazzi around her neck, tied together with gold Christmas ribbon. She giggles as she flicks the helicopter blades that balance above her mammary glands.
Her devotees had camped for days outside her gated community, Mount Calabasas, eager to hear the Good News of their guru. She approaches the gate, twirling the ribbon around her fingers. Long streaks of orange and yellow cling to her shirt, evidence of her late night binge on Cheetos, Tast-e-cakes and Pixie Sticks. Her fans stand dumbstruck. She shakes these broken pieces of metal before their eyes.
Realization dawns on them.
Maybe all was not right.
“This kitten's got your tongue tied in knots, I see.”
She walks along the gate, holding out one of the drones and letting it bounce off the wrought iron.
She stops and stares at her followers.
“So spit it out, cuz I'm dying for company.”
The disciples collectively gasp. This moment happens in many cults, when the charismatic leader transgresses and the apostles move from revere to horror. One looks anxiously around for a pitcher of Kool-aid.
Her fans had enjoyed all manners of odd behavior from her. They laughed watching her kill an astronaut on Mars when she ripped off his helmet. They cheered as she eviscerated a pack of robot zombies using her microphone and cord as a spikeless flail. They swooned as she proudly proclaimed herself chattel while sweating profusely in an un-air-conditioned dystopian brothel. They were wonderstruck when she crashed a party by flipping her Porsche over the mansion's walls, smashing it into the swimming pool and grinding on its hood as the car sank. They loved when she evaded lasers, scaled a skyscraper using toilet plungers and poisoned a man, all while on her fifteen-minute break as a flight attendant. They adored when she drove a pink Louis Vuitton Hummer through heaven while playing a guitar and throwing handfuls of cash out the window. They relished watching her dance on a three-foot diameter island while hammerhead sharks gnashed in the waters around her. And most memorably, they idolized her when she won an epic dance battle against an ornery aluminum chair.
This is different. Something is wrong.
It is clear to all that Britney is at a crossroads.
She bites down on the lens of one of the drones, twists and rips it off. As the electric wires dance from her lips, she spits this dronarazzo's head into the crowd.