Friday, November 17, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 27: Sloman's Character Has Spoken 1


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hey, Chet.  Welcome to The Gal.  Now, some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Chet Tyler:
Firstly, great to be here, Meghan. Always a delight to connect with my fans.
            So, your question. Well I guess the thing here is what don’t they know about me! Hell, I’ve been in the limelight since I was a child. A face across a thousand billboards. Man, I was gorgeous even back then. A bit of a break here and there for personal development and then back with a bang! One of the most famous people in the world thanks to Chet’s World or The Game as most folks know it now. Have you played, Meghan? You must have played. Man, the number of people who have played that game, hell, the number who played me is mind-blowing! Each day different folks jacking in to a completely immersive world and experiencing life as Chet Tyler. It’s reality entertainment on a whole new level. Okay, some people took it a bit far and lived out some darker fantasies but at least no one got hurt in real life, right.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Chet Tyler:
When I was a small child, my mama told me to believe in myself. And that’s what I’ve done from day one. The power to succeed lies within all of us. Completely true. Everything I have achieved has come through self-belief. Everything. Plus when you have a bone structure like mine, and these beautiful baby blues, then that helps too.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Chet Tyler:
Flashbacks mainly. I did a lot of drugs at one point. And I mean a lot! It’s hard sometimes to know what’s real and what isn’t. And then throw in a whole fake computer generated world to play in. It really messes with your mind. Fortunately Vinny, my manager, helps me to keep track of things. Mostly. And anyone who comes back from my past, well, Vinny deals with them.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Chet Tyler:
Too many. As an actor, you develop all these superstitions. You know, things like the play which cannot be named. Making sure you wear your lucky underwear when going for an audition; that’s if you remember to wear any at all! And all those superstitions build up over time until you’re crossing yourself here, picking four leaf clovers there. But I suppose my real phobia is that people forget me. I don’t know if I could live any more without people knowing I existed. Can you imagine how soul-destroying it would be to be anonymous?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Chet Tyler:
In real life? Yeah. Sure, has to be because there’s a whole load of bad shit people have done to me in The Game and we could be here all day discussing that. Well, as you’ll know, I’ve been in and out of rehab a few times. But then I’ve an addictive personality and who hasn’t spent a week or two in one of the private spa resorts around the Hollywood hills? So, the drugs, that always been pretty shitty, I guess. One minute being on the most amazing high, the next waking up in a pool of your own vomit in the back end of Nowhereville wondering if you’ve enough stash left on you for another hit. So, yeah, those were pretty bad times. But I’m clean now. No more drugs. Or addictions. Not really. Well, maybe one. Or two.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Chet Tyler:
No!

Sorry, Meghan, I didn’t mean to snap. I’ve been up a while, didn’t get great sleep last night. You know how things are. So, no, I wouldn’t say I’m lying to myself. No more than anyone else. No more than those folks who go online and pretend to be me. The ones who do the bad, bad things. Shall we move on.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was the childhood like?

Chet Tyler:
Great until my parents got greedy. You know, we travelled the world seeing all my fans. Can you imagine how amazing it is to be ten years old and you’re riding in all these private jets, getting to eat whatever you wanted and do pretty much anything you asked to do? Hell, they shut Disneyland for a morning so I could have a birthday party there. And then my parents decided they wanted to get all legal about what happened with the money I was earning for them as they saw it. It didn’t end well. I suspect you remember the court case and everything splashed across the tabloids.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Chet Tyler:
A bit of both I guess. I mean, I chose to take the role, and who wouldn’t, but I was forced into it a little by a shortage of cash. It’s like those other celebrities who go on those reality shows on islands and in jungles. The ones where they humiliate you for the public to laugh at. When they’re on a career high and the money is flowing they wouldn’t even contemplate those things. When the roles and the phone calls dry up then you grab whatever you can to keep in that public eye, to keep hold of the pretty things you’ve become so used to. Fortunately for me, Chet’s World was a runaway smash! But, you know what, Meghan, money doesn’t bring the happiness everyone thinks it does. You crave other things. Things that money can’t buy. You start to explore things, human nature, try to latch on to something to give your life meaning. Perhaps that was where destiny stepped in. Without The Game then I wouldn’t know myself quite as well as I do now. Perhaps my demons would have found a different outlet.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Chet Tyler:
Yeah, I’d have sacked my agent Donnie. On the cusp of super-stardom and it all came crashing down around my ears. Obviously I made it back to the top again, otherwise you and I wouldn’t be talking now. But I could have been here a whole lot quicker. He’ll blame it all on me and the drink and the drugs but you look at those other A-listers out there doing the same. They’ve done alright even with their little habits.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Chet Tyler:
My name is everything. It’s my brand. It’s known worldwide. Instant upgrades left, right and centre. Fans mobbing me wherever I go. Best tickets in the house for anything and everything. Plus the odd times where the police will look the other way for a signed picture of me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Chet Tyler:
I have a few tattoos, most of which have a story. Funniest one is this one here. Excuse me a second. Let me show it to you. Impressive, eh? Got it when I was over in Thailand on one of my spiritual trips when my career was in a minor dip. Now the wording beneath the dragon, that’s written in some kind of oriental language, right. I asked the tattooist to write strength. So they do their work. All looks decent to me so I pay my money and go on my way. Now a few months later I’m getting friendly with this Chinese girl, you know, mid-twenties, stunning as you like, and we’re in a bit of a state of undress. Well, she uncovers the dragon, so to speak, and then bursts into a fit of giggles. Now I’m not used to this. Especially when we’re about to get pretty serious. It kind of kills the mood. Well I ask her what’s so funny. She looks at me and blows a raspberry, holding her nose at the same time. Turns out the tattooist misheard me and thought I said stench not strength. So that beautiful beast you see before you is my stink dragon. Lesson learned! Always make sure you know what you are getting into.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your book and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Chet Tyler:
Everything yet nothing is real. A real mind twister, hey. Have you ever played The Game, Meghan? Did I ask you that already? Anyway, you can lose yourself in there for days on end. The folks who developed it did one hell of a job. I go on every now and then and even I struggle to recognize which is the real world and which is the fake. I’ve played as myself, you know. Get that, walking into a game and knowing you can do anything you want to your body and there’s no consequences, no bad things that can ever happen to you. Now that’s a crazy feeling of power right there. The best rush you can have but you always need one more hit. One more session just to try something new. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Chet Tyler:
Just like the rest of the world does. As handsome as the Devil and twice as charming.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Chet Tyler:
I don’t have any enemies. Everyone loves me! Other than the paparazzi. But they just hate everyone. Can you imagine that, being filled with so much greed that you don’t care what lies you write, whose life you ruin so long as you get your pound of flesh? That’s why I have my Vinnie. Keeps the vultures away from me, keeps them from picking at my bones. He makes all the bad stuff go away.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Chet Tyler:
Shallow, vain, broken.  Confused.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Chet Tyler:
I think they wanted to explore the world of celebrity and the loss of self. Take the biggest star in the world and let them dive into a world with no repercussions. What would happen if you had the opportunity to do whatever you wanted to anyone and no one would ever know about it? How far would you go? And all out of the spotlight that has encompassed your life for so long.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Chet Tyler:
I’m not really sure I understand it. I was hoping you might be able to explain it to me. Somewhere something shifted and I’m not certain which one was me. I don’t think I did those things. With all that blood. I mean, I couldn’t have, could I? Not me. But what if I did? I’m struggling with what is real right now. I mean, is this interview even happening? How do I know you’re real, Meghan? How? 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about hte story told? Did they miss anything?

Chet Tyler:
I think they did their best, but I’m not sure he captured my best side. There’s nothing in there about my charity work. Or the amazing parties I used to throw. Or anything about what a great people person I am. All about the messy stuff, the blacker stuff, the stuff I would rather forgot.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any of your authors' other works?  Any good?

Chet Tyler:
It’s all a bit dark for me. Stories about people descending into madness. Killers. I mean, that one he was nominated for a British Fantasy Society Award as Best Newcomer. Becoming David. Some cannibal killer in an identity crisis. Yeah, lots of people said some really nice things about it, you know, the people who like to read that kind of stuff, but not for me. Oh, don’t tell me you went and interviewed the guy from that book too. Really? Well, I guess this interview’s over then. Next time I’ll only be speaking to Esquire.


About the author:
Phil Sloman is a writer of dark fiction.  His novella Becoming David was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Society Best Newcomer award in 2017.
            Phil likes to peak behind the curtain of reality and see what might be lurking there.  Sometimes he writes down what he sees and his short stories can be found throughout various anthologies.
            In the humdrum of everyday life, Phil lives with an understanding wife and a trio of vagrant cats who tolerate their human slaves.  There are no bodies buried beneath the patio, as far as he is aware.
            Occasionally, Phil can be found lurking here or wasting time on Facebook - come say hi.

About the book:
What if you thought your family had been replaced by identical copies?  What if you could no longer trust the faces of people you met?  What if you saw someone who looked exactly like you?
            Dark Minds Press brings you an anthology of doppelgängers, clones, changelings, Capgras-delusion and pod-people, featuring stories from some of the best writers of horror and speculative fiction around.

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