Day 84: The talk-show host.

Phillip Carter, the eponymous character of Late Night with Carter, has jet black hair. It is obviously dyed, but that only adds to his charm. He is a man who is not going gracefully into the night, but has decided to grudgingly allow its little victories. The lines around his eyes, forged into being by the hammer of his smile, are a testament to his true age. Any time that anybody dared to ask, he’d smile his talk-show smile and say ‘I can’t tell you. All I can say is that Dorian Gray learnt everything from me.’ He always kept them guessing.

He has met hundreds, if not thousands of celebrities through his shows. There was the infamous incident with Karina Mitchell’s dress during the live show, where the blue fabric had got caught under the feet of her chair and had ripped completely off. Karina, as was her want, had been talking about her spiritual journey and how she’d shared so much of herself with the world. She had stood up, about to give Phillip a hug at the end of the show when the sound had echoed through the mics in the studio and she was stood, stark naked, in the middle of the set. The rest of the studio had gone silent, but Phillip Carter just stood up, covered her with his suit jacket and told people to stop staring.

And they had.

Phillip Carter, the eponymous host of Late Night with Carter, smiles as he walks off stage. He passes his suit jacket, when it isn’t being worn by a naked actress, to the harassed intern waiting in the wings. He pulls of his tie, laying it delicately on the couch in the brightly lit dressing room and looks into the mirror.

Phillip Carter, the man, looks back at him. He has jet black hair, but it is obviously dyed. Tinges of grey appear at his temples, crows feet appearing like arrows around his eyes, guiding people to the tell-tale signs of age. He reaches for a half empty bottle of single malt whiskey, pouring a generous measure into the crystal tumbler by the open bulbs. He sighs, and knocks it back in a gulp.

Phillip Carter, the talk show host, calls for his assistant, a bright young woman named Jennifer. She smiles at him, makes irreverent small talk about children and husbands between planning for guests.

Phillip Carter, the man, wishes he could compare notes. All he has is his conversations with celebrities. He is lonely. He is tired. He watches Jennifer leave, and sits in the wide leather armchair, watching the amber liquid that he swirls around his glass. He closes his eyes, listening to the bustling world outside the door, and lets the calm wash over him. He prepares to put the mask back on, to let Phillip Carter, talk show host, leave the room to face the world.

 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

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