Santa Barbara . She wasn’t invited or anything, she was there with the stalkerazzi. Another recent scoop was a rare post-Suri, Tom-free interview with Katie Holmes, conducted in the streets of Telluride. I’m not sure why Chloe didn’t spring the poor girl, offering safe haven and a coach ticket back home to Cincinnati. Then again, a good yellow journalist isn’t there to fight crime, only to observe it while hacking into Paris Hilton's BlackBerry and going through the Osbourne family trashcans.
A self-taught snoop, Chloe has developed a complex research methodology rooted in her enjoyment of talking to people and her interest in listening to their answers—two skills sets I admittedly lacked as a journalist. It occurred to me that our personal stories converged might make a good television series, sort of a harder-edged Pepper Dennis featuring a friendly, globetrotting gossiphound and her trash-talking, overweight, screenwriting sidekick with mid-level industry connections. What Nielsen viewer from the flyover states wouldn’t want to tune in for that brand of free-wheeling weekly exploits?
I scheduled a dinner meeting with Chloe to pitch my big idea, only to learn the following: 1) Some very thin women do eat whatever they want, in Chloe’s case hot dogs, fries and a chocolate shake, 2) Not all women wearing Daisy Dukes with heels look slutty but instead rather leggy and chic, and 3) The networks are loathe to mine the tabloid craze for comedy due to the poor showing of Courtney Cox's weird and scary FX drama, Dirt. Besides all that, Chloe had to sign an agreement with the magazine she works for not to divulge any “trade secrets.” Even if it weren’t for those damn dirty Cox-Arquettes beating us to the punch, a gag order by any name would surely preclude us from writing our own buzzworthy television pilot, The Stalkerazzi and The Screenwriter, starring Lisa Kudrow and Valerie Bertinelli. I wonder if it’s lonely when the paparazzi stops following you around town and giving you unpublishable nicknames, like Lindsay “Blowhands.” I mean, if you puke alone in the bathroom stall, does it make a sound?
Chloe called the next day, en route to join Nicole and Keith on their Fijian honeymoon tour, wondering if I'd been too upset by our meeting. She was sure, she said, that she'd seen a tear well in my eye. While I admit to being overwhelmed by emotion, it was certainly not brought on by another career disappointment, nor even by a new friendship forged with a kindred spirit who'd dumped a perfectly respectable life to follow a ridiculous dream. I was crying for the milkshake. With extra whipped cream. And a freaking cherry. She just tossed it all back like it was nothing, and walked her bony ass out the door in that sweet little pair of hotpants. There's just no justice in this town.