My Secret Billionaire

By: Imani King



* * *

Eager for a distraction while I waited on my terrifying job interview, I snatched up the top issue of a nearby stack of tabloids – and it wasn’t any surprise who was dominating half the front page.

Blaine Winguard.

Of course I knew who he was. Everyone did.

Blaine Winguard was the most strikingly handsome billionaire in the entire Northeast. A known flirt, big-shot film producer, and effortless seducer, he was notorious for three things: his fantastic wealth, an endless string of high-profile sexual conquests, and a penchant for strange, downright peculiar behavior. He might be the most eligible bachelor around, but he was sure as hell the most eccentric, too.

From the looks of things, Blaine was embroiled in some antic again. Apparently, the billionaire playboy had been caught by the paparazzi in the back of a secluded black sedan with Sophia Pains, a starry-eyed upcoming supermodel. While there were only a few usable photos snapped in the ensuing chaos, they were given all the page space they needed.

In the cover shot, Blaine was smoking a cigarette with lipstick smears on his cheek, standing behind the car and unknowingly staging himself for the camera. Less photogenic shots were included inside, along with the article proper.

A female palm with fingers outstretched, barely visible from behind the window tint.

Sophia, laughing and trying to cover her face, her foot flirtatiously kicked out.

Blaine, clutching at his dropped trousers and furiously shoving a hand towards the camera.

Some people have all the fun.

I wondered why he had staged a photo for the front cover, as I set the tabloid back down on the stack, but this was just par for the course for Blaine Winguard. His image was almost a cultivated parody of billionaire culture; constantly rocked by scandals that would dethrone lesser men, but with just the right sense of humor to always come out of top. Intentionally or not, the stunts he pulled gained national attention, but that attention was seemingly a complete afterthought to him.

Celebrity caricature. Sexual liberator. Wild philanthropist. Blaine Winguard was a lot of things, but what was clear was that he was always going to be a wild card; impossible to predict, and sweeping anyone in his presence up for a ride.

Well, this was a nice distraction and all…but he has his life, and I have mine, I thought to myself as I checked my time. It was still another ten minutes before my surprise interview, and the nervousness was finally starting to creep back into my head.

The cute, warm receptionist smiled pleasantly at me again as I smoothed my miniskirt, suppressing another troubling wave of nervousness. Get your shit together, Sierra, I quietly thought to myself as I returned the polite gesture. No time to be anxious anymore…you’ll either get it, or you won’t.

But I knew that I had every right to be on edge. It’s not everyday that a veritable golden ticket shows up out of the blue in your freaking junk mail. Instead of an invitation to a borderline magical chocolate factory, mine was a little more practical: a surprise job offer. Not just any job offer, either. This was a shot at interning for the most respected news station in four states.

Even with a recent valedictorian Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State, I’d expected to have to claw my way up local media before getting the chance to just deliver mail to this building, let alone intern for them. Clearly, they had someone at the university to give a nod towards upcoming journalists who showed demonstrable promise.

I wasn’t about to argue with my good fortune.

While I waited for the interview, I quickly removed and unfolded the sheet of paper that could radically change everything for me. Smoothing it over my thigh, I glanced around suspiciously before reading it for the thousandth time:

Dear Sierra Simmons,

We would like to inform you with great pride that you have been selected as a pre-qualified candidate for placement in the PBN (Philadelphia Broadcasting Network) internship program. For over twenty years, PBN has been tirelessly dedicated to pushing the envelope on the forefront of reporting, by leveraging the latest in technology to produce high quality, breaking news segments and more. Our award winning, critically acclaimed content is consistently seen by an average of five million viewers per night, and we regularly create engaging external media for our partners in surrounding states and national television.

To express your interest in this valuable position, please report to 1211 Cabbot Boulevard on Tuesday, April 27th at 7 o’clock AM to interview with one of our esteemed workplace coordinators. Come prepared to supply two (2) forms of government-issued identification and fill out the appropriate paperwork pertaining to this role.

If you are unable to reach this appointment, please reach our front desk through the enclosed telephone number so that we may move a more qualified candidate into your interview slot.

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