A celeb, a new career & a situation


(My selections from the choices offered: Lady Gaga, mechanic, in line at Starbucks)

Lady Gaga wiped the axle grease from her hands onto her silver lamé bib overalls. It was tough being a superstar auto mechanic—especially in this economy—but as long as she had a venti macchiato in the morning, she could put up with the stresses of the job.
     She worked in a small repair shop in SoHo, so small that the gyro vendor’s stand out front was almost as big as the garage door. Chickie Milazzo ran the shop. He always had music blaring in the shop, especially on Saturdays when the Texaco opera show was on NPR. He wasn’t just a Puccini freak—he was a sucker for pop superstars. (Of course he’d already tried to hire Madonna, but she was always on holiday with this or that  backup dancer.)
     Chickie ran into Lady Gaga at the Starbucks on Broadway. He liked a girl who was not afraid to venti macchiato. At first she ignored him, thinking he was a stalker, but when he said, “Hey, give me a brake,” she responded “Disc or drum, hon?”
     It was a quirky boss/employee relationship and of course they had their bad romance. But once they got past that, she discovered that this was her true vocation. She loved the smell of motor oil in the morning—it smelled like, like … well better than Chanel no. 5 poured slowly on a mail carrier. (And she knew what she was talking about.)
     Her manager and record company were furious. There was the European Tour—already sold out. There was the new album sample due on iTunes by the end of the month. Lady Gaga ignored their pleas. She traded her mic for a monkey wrench. She loved her days spent repairing the dark underbellies of rusted Neons and gassy Volvos. And all the time she worked, she sang her heart out. Not for a stadium of adoring fans this time, oh no, she was singing for Chickie alone and he just loved it.
     Of course there were plenty of job perks: She could get her tires rotated as often as she liked. The real perk was discovering her true identity—realizing she wasn’t just a mere superstar, she was more—a grease monkey superstar.
     That was how she felt until that Thursday morning at Starbucks. They’d hired a new barista and when she ordered a venti caramel macchiato from him, he hissed at her.
     “What a waste of perfectly good lamé!”
     She looked down at the oil-stained overalls. Ohmigod, he was right. Such exquisite Italian lamé fabric should never be soiled with 10W30! How could she have been so blind? She tipped the barista and walked up Broadway, figuring out how she could make her next career possibility come true: Lady Gaga, shark whisperer.

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