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" Natalie imagined the trouble her archrival would be in; a fashion show ban, a loss of sponsorship deals - probably a court case, too. Natalie smiled....'"

a model citizen
by paul freeman


Natalie Voss, one of the paparazzi's favourite supermodels, loved being waited on hand and foot. So once the manicurist had finished her fingernails, Natalie settled down in an armchair for the pedicurist (the manicurist's spotty understudy) to work on her toenails.

To while away the time, Natalie opened her laptop for an online chat with her publicist.

Publicist: Have you heard the news from the Milan fashion show?

Natalie: No!

Publicist: Briony Tamwell threw a cell phone at her makeup girl. The poor darling needed four stitches to her scalp.

(Natalie imagined the trouble her archrival would be in; a fashion show ban, a loss of sponsorship deals - probably a court case, too. Natalie smiled.)

Natalie: Briony always was a stupid cow.

Publicist: She's not that stupid. The story's all over the media. It's great publicity. When are you going to do something as newsworthy?

As the pedicurist applied purple nail polish to the supermodel's toenails, Natalie angrily closed the chat window on her laptop. Then, after a moment's thought, she peered at the pedicurist over her computer screen. Wondering how much more damage a laptop would do than a cell phone, she asked, “Are you nearly finished, dear?”

(illustration: dee rimbaud)


Paul Freeman was born in London, England, and presently works as a teacher in Saudi Arabia. He writes occasional short stories for The Weekly News, a UK newspaper. His debut novel Rumours of Ophir, a crime thriller set in Zimbabwe, has recently been translated into German, and will be an 'A' level set book in Zimbabwe from 2008 to 2012. He is married, and has three children.

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©2008 Paul Freeman • Smokebox
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