Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Spoiler: Part 6 -- Shawnuff

There was this show, “Shawna Jade Dumps Your Boyfriend for You.” The premise is self-explanatory. Contestants wrote in and described why they wanted Shawna Jade to break up with their boyfriend. Shawna Jade became known by “starring” of an amateur video in which she did an impersonation of a little fat kid break-dancing on another amateur video – both of which videos received mega-hits on the Internet. This was her first television show, and the gimmick was that not only would she perform a proxy break-up with some unsuspecting but fame-hungry schmuck but she’d do a mocking impersonation of him to boot.

I had no idea that Katlyn had submitted an application to have Shawna Jade break up with me (or, for that matter, what criteria a boyfriend had to meet, what degree of jerkitude he had to attain, to become a worthy candidate).

Nope. Never suspected a thing.

Not when she asked me to make goofy faces or talk about my sexual fantasies while she Camcorded me. Not when she clammed up when I asked her what those forms were she was filling out, the ones that read “Release” at the top. Not even when I caught snapping pictures with her camera phone of me wearing a pair of cut-off shorts and a T-shirt reading “Gay Pride: It’s Something to Be Proud Of” – that we’d bought as a gag during the parade – stained with oatmeal I’d just eaten.

Not when she told me she had set up a “job interview” for me with an exec at the media company where she worked part-time in the marketing department.

Not when the interviewer, a sexy young woman named Cody, who had more piercings than a Yoruba chieftain, told me that the position they were seeking to fill was “assistant sales assistant.”

Not even when she asked me if I was happy with my love life.

“My love life?”

“Yes. I mean, how are you and Katlyn getting along?”

“Um, what does that have to do with the position of assistant sales...”

“Assistant. We want to know because we, like, need to have a smooth working environment. And if two people are, like, fighting, you know, that can bring down office morale.”

“I guess so.” I wondered why she was prying, but the way things were going in America, I figured that delving into employees’ love lives was now part of the H.R. job description.

“So, do you love Katlyn?”


“Are you going to marry her?”

“I’m sorry. I thought this was a job interview – ”

“I mean, how are you going to support her – on an assistant sales assistant’s salary?”

At this point, flummoxed, I leaned back, sighed, and threw up my hands.

“You’re some sort of comedian – ”


“Make me laugh.”

“What? No…”

“Come on; make me laugh. Do your routine.”

“I’m not – this is ridiculous.”

“How are you going to support your woman if you’re always wimping out?”

I don’t know – I guess I was afraid that if I didn’t comply Katlyn would be cross with me. Who knows – this wacky company might even hold it against her. She could lose her job.

“O.K.” I said. I took a few seconds to collect myself, then assumed my Guy character.

“Bonsoir, les dames et les messieurs. Mon nom est le Guy. Je suis de Montréal, mais je suis venu à New York pour ma carrière. Je recueille de vieux journaux.”

“What is that – French? You do your act in French?”

“I start it in French, then move into this kind of gibberish mix of French and English.”

“Oh, yeah, that’ll get you on Leno.”

I slid down into the hard metal chair.

“It’s obvious that you’re not a serious beau for Katlyn. You want to know why?”


“A, you’re a loser. B, you’re broke. C, you have twisted sexual fantasies.”

“My fantasies are not twisted.”

“I’d heard of background checks, but this was ridiculous.

“You want her to do it with another chick – while you do your act.”

She laughed derisively.

“You’ve got it all wrong. That actually happened – I mean, not with Katlyn. With some other woman.”

“Uh-huh,” she spat in knowing disbelief. The incident in question – which I related to Katlyn one night and which she had apparently twistedly conveyed to this woman – occurred at an open-mic night at a lesbian bar in the Village, when the act who went on right before me was a stripper who let some of the butch patrons go down on her. I mean, not even Pryor could follow that.

“I’m leaving.”

“Where you going? We’re not finished with the interview.”

“I don’t care.”

“Don’t you want the job?”

“No, thanks.”

“Well, guess what? There is no job.”

“Cody” turned away, into the hidden camera, and announced, “You’re on ‘Shawna Jade Dumps Your Boyfriend for You.”

Blanched is not the right word for the change in my circulation. No, my blood seemed to evacuate from every corner of my body, into my gut.

Shawna stood up and extended her hand. “I’m Shawna Jade, and on behalf of Katlyn White, you are hereby dumped.” And she pretended to “knight’ me with an invisible sword.

I was in a stupor and felt myself saying, like a heroine in an old Hollywood melodrama, “There must be some mistake.”

Then Shawna picked up a remote and aimed it at a plasma screen TV I hadn’t really noticed. Katlyn’s face appeared on the screen.

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