Jasmine Zhu debuts our new Fiction series with a behind-the-scenes interpretation of what exactly happened after Miley Cyrus‘ infamous MTV VMA performance.
By now the white noise over her VMA performance was finally simmering down to a slightly less irritating buzz. Lounging supine in a white robe in her sprawling Los Angeles mansion, Miley let out a small sigh of relief. Her dutiful employee Liam Hemsworth massaged her shoulders, helping her relieve the tension from the vigorous twerks that haunted her still to this day.
“Does that feel better, ma’am?” he asked her anxiously in a small squeaky voice. He looked a little more dead in the eyes with every passing day.
“Yeah, Liam. Remember that tomorrow we have that photo-op with E! News. Let’s make it convincing this time, shall we?”
“Yes, Ms. Cyrus. I will try to perform my part more convincingly as your loving fiancé. Now, about that upcoming Michael Bay movie you said you could help me land…” his voice quieted as she held up an imperious hand.
“Enough. We’ll talk about that later. Think of tomorrow’s photo shoot as a screen test. Now, foot rub.”
Someday my chance will come, Liam thought longingly while gently massaging Miley’s bunions. Someday I’ll be free.
“Can’t believe people are still talking about this,” she muttered indignantly. “What do they mean by ‘white privilege’? I bought The Blueprint on iTunes just last week. I think Men In Black was a good movie.”
“Yes, Ms. Cyrus. You are the real deal,” Liam intoned from his memorized script. “In no way are you responsible for the propagation of blackface minstrelsy. You’re just a young girl, trying to have some fun. You’re incredibly authentic, and furthermore—you can’t be tamed.”
She sighed and relaxed into the white original Eames that her interior decorator had procured for her last week at an auction. “I’m just a down girl, y’know?”
“That’s Ms. Cyrus to you,” she snapped sternly at her sham of a fiancé.
“Apologies, Ms. Cyrus. It won’t happen again.”
He made a little bow and as he did so something slipped out of his pocket.
“Ah, it’s nothing you’d be concerned with, Ms. Cyrus.”
She picked up the artifact with bemusement. It was small and compact and plastic.
“It’s a cassette,” he said apologetically.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Radio People,” Miley read. “The fuck is this? Play it, Liam.”
“I’m not sure—”
“Just play it.”
With trepidation he took out the portable tape player from his other pocket. He handed her the tape in the player and pressed play. She sat in a stunned silence.
“This is good,” she finally said. “Maybe I’ll try making music like this sometime. How do I get more involved?”
“Well, what do I need to wear? Chains? A headdress?”
“You don’t have to do any of that. You never had to do any of that,” Liam said calmly. He smiled for the first time in a year. “You can just wear a t-shirt. You can just be yourself.”
“Miley Cyrus goes Off the Deep End, Spends a Quiet Evening Listening to Ekin Fil” the headlines would scream next week. But for now, there was peace.
Illustrations by Laurent Hrybyk.