The little boy asked his mother if she would take him downtown where they were filming a scene for Cameron Diaz’s new movie, The Cougar Trap, and she told him that she would if he finished his homework, and wouldn’t you know the little boy finished that homework so fast. In fact, he finished his homework so quickly that his mother thought he was lying, and he had to show her his sheets of long division and the paragraph summary of his reading assignment for English class in his English class notebook. She told him to go put on his shoes, and then sat at one of the stools at the kitchen island finishing a glass of white wine while she watched her only child cut a yellow rose from the front garden and stand by the car, bobbing on his heels. She wondered if there was some deep failure she’d made as a parent to have such an odd child, but then decided he was just chasing his passion, which she had always encouraged, and OK, his passion was Cameron Diaz, but there were worse passions in the world, and in any case she loved her son to death.
The mother dropped the little boy off downtown at the corner of a street lined with trailers and electrical cables and people in headsets saying things into them, and she told him that she would pick him up in an hour. He had a cellphone for emergencies, like most of the kids in his class these days, and she made sure that he had it, and he did, and she drove off, and he stood looking around until he found a place to stand and kick at the sidewalk and wait for Cameron Diaz, the flower held low against his leg, gently tapping out a silent beat.
Near the end of the alloted hour, when the little boy thought that he would never get his chance to meet the great and wonderful Cameron Diaz, and he felt the nervous prickle of anxiety as his eyes darted back to the corner, expecting to see his mother’s car pull up, a chariot of disappointment to take him back to failure land, he noticed a rustle of commotion in front of one of the trailers, and there she was. Cameron Diaz! She was trailed by a woman in black with a walkie talkie pressed to her face, and a young man with a clipboard, and she was coming right towards the little boy. He knew this was his chance! He held out the rose, his face contorted into a complex wrinkle encasing his entire life’s hopes and dreams. “Cameron!” he called out. “Cameron, I love you!”
Cameron Diaz immediately stopped. “Hi!” she said, taking the rose. “Thank you!”
It was much easier than the little boy had anticipated, and now that he was standing there, face to face with Cameron Diaz, his mission accomplished, he mostly just wanted to run away. His eyes went immediately to the corner, desperately hoping that his mom’s car would be there, idling. It wasn’t. Sweat ran down the little boy’s t-shirt. His skin was sticky and cold. Cameron Diaz was smiling. Her face was covered in thick makeup, almost like a clown might wear. Her hands looked like talons.
“I love this rose!” Cameron Diaz said. “My number one fan!”
The little boy had never said anything about being her number one fan, but he took it as a compliment, he supposed. They stood for another moment, facing each other on the sidewalk. He looked at the two people who were accompanying Cameron Diaz, but they had turned away, pretending to be busy with something. The relief they felt at not being the subject of Cameron Diaz’s intense, needy focus was palpable, or would have been if the little boy wasn’t a little boy, and therefore unattuned to the palpability of complicated adult emotions.
“Well, um, you’re probably busy, or something,” the little boy said. “I should probably let you go.”
“Are you kidding?” Cameron Diaz said, her eyes sparkling with madness and self-doubt. “I’m not doing anything. Let’s hang out!”
“But my mom is coming to pick me up,” the little boy said. “Also I’m a little boy.”
Cameron Diaz just grinned at him. For a long time. The little boy heard a car horn and he turned excitedly to see his mother’s car idling at the corner.
“I’ve got to go,” he said, joy surging through him.
Cameron Diaz grabbed his arm, tightly. “I just need someone to talk to!” she said through gritted teeth. “And I love you. We’re best friends now.”
The little boy struggled, but Cameron Diaz had animal strength, such was the gravitational pull of the gaping hole of emotional lack where her heart had once been. The little boy looked at Cameron Diaz’s entourage again and the woman with the walkie talkie shrugged. The man with the clipboard was crying. He turned to see his mother standing with the car door open, leaning over the roof. She was calling out to him making sure that everything was OK. Cameron Diaz was waving at his mother.
“Let’s get married!” she whispered in the little boy’s ear. “Let’s stay together forever, caring about each other like human beings.”
The little boy broke free from Cameron Diaz’s demon grip and ran with all of his strength towards his mother, towards safety. He could hear the hoof-falls of Cameron Diaz in pursuit. He ran with everything he had as she cried out behind him “but you gave me this rose! You sweet boy, I love you. I need you.” The little boy ran. “I NEED YOU!” Cameron Diaz shrieked.
No photographs of the event were taken.