August 6th, 1962.
Yesterday, Marilyn Monroe was found nude in bed, hand on phone; she had taken 40 pills, and she appeared at first to be quite out of it. When asked why she was nude Marilyn said she always sleeps nude, and asked, ‘Why have you broken into my hotel suite in the middle of the night?’ The journalist, who will remain unnamed, replied that he had a tipoff that she was to be found nude in bed, hand on phone, and that she had taken 40 pills. Marilyn replied that was very exact although correct information, but that he had just interrupted a phone call to her mother, and that yes she had taken 40 pills but that they were vitamins, and that was over the course of a whole day in accordance with her doctor’s advice. ‘Who told you I would be here?’ she asked. The journalist replied that answering that would get him and a lot of other people into big trouble.
But yes it is true, Monroe killed “self”. When the journalist asked her why she did it, she replied, ‘If you take that microphone out of my face for just a minute might you allow me to put some clothes on?’ The journalist said, of course, and turned around to look at the wall for what he was pretty sure was an exact minute. When he turned around he saw that Monroe had disappeared, and only the hotel window was open and a breeze blew in making the curtains fly up and into the suite like Monroe’s once famous dress when she stood on the vent, now in double vision. ‘Damn it,’ he said to himself. She had got away. Again.
Monroe meanwhile watched him from a chair in the corner of the room. She was wearing a long black satin gown, and she looked just smashing. Aha! No, she hadn’t got away, realised the journalist. ‘I hope you don’t mind. I opened a window,’ said Monroe, mid puff of a cigarette. ‘It’s so nice the breeze this time of night. Monroe then smiled, and it was a hauntingly mischievous beautiful smile. ‘You’re obviously a very eager boy, and I have something I want to get off my chest, so I shall permit you an exclusive.’
The young journalist wasn’t quite sure if she was talking in innuendoes.
Monroe insisted she was not.
‘I only have one question,’ said the young journalist, ‘Why did you do it? Why did you kill “self”?’
Marilyn smiled and replied, ‘Isn’t that two questions? I told you I opened the window to let the breeze in. It gets stuffy in here on warm evenings and I like to smoke.’
Fair enough, thought the journalist.
‘Secondly,’ continued Marilyn. ‘I killed self because well, how do I put it? I’ve been so frustrated lately I was near ready to kill my self when I realised that would just be stupid. I still have a lot to live for, and I’m quite enjoying my life thank you very much. Unfortunately, after John told me some rather alarming things in the throes of passion, there have been a number of people that have wanted to kill my self for me whether I like it or not. Realising this, I thought, well then stuff it. Before people kill my self I’m going to nip it all in the bud, and kill the self.’
At this point the journalist realised he was stupid to say he only had one question, because he actually had a lot of questions on his mind now. It was a rookie mistake, but he hadn’t been a journalist for very long and the phrase ‘I only have one question’ had sounded so good and assertive at the time, and his father had once told him that attractive women like assertive men, and Marilyn was certainly very attractive. He blushed, but seeing as he had already accidentally asked two questions already he didn’t feel so embarrassed asking even more. ‘How does one go about killing an abstract intangible philosophical concept? He asked.
‘It was quite easy,’ replied Monroe. ‘I asked myself a simple question: If I was the self, where would I be?’
‘And where was it?’
‘It was bloody well everywhere,’ she said. ‘So basically it came down to a stab in the dark.’
‘Yes, but also literally,’ replied Monroe. ‘I took a knife, turned of all the lights, and I literally stabbed the darkness,’ and said, ‘Aha! Take that you stupid self!’
‘Which means no one exists anymore?’
‘That depends,’ replied Monroe. ‘Does a tree falling in the woods make a sound if you don’t hear it? Does a robot that someone tells you has feeling but actually it turns out those feelings are just chemical reactions produced in a little metal canister have no feelings? If someone tells you that he once owned a dog named Sue but then tells you that he was lying and that he has never even known anyone named Sue do you still exist?’
‘Why did you do it?’ asked the journalist.
Something dark and ominous seemed to flash across Marilyn’s eyes then, and she said, ‘I did it because like all good actresses I can see into the future, and I saw that there would come a time when people would become infatuated with the self. That people would go to great lengths to take photos of the self. And call them selfies, and that people would become more and more selfish and that this would ultimately lead to the destruction of humanity. Why did people want to kill me? Because they were interested only in their selves. By killing the self, I have destroyed all selfishness. Now we are one hive mind, one selfless being, existing not for ourselves but for all existence!’
‘Fascinating,’ said the journalist.
‘Now if you excuse me,’ replied Marilyn. ‘My mother is still on hold.’
Of course, said the journalist, he looked down at his microphone for a moment to make sure he had caught everything on tape, and when he looked back up again to focus on the room he saw that Marilyn had disappeared. This time it seemed she really had climbed out the window. He turned around to face the door through which he had broken in. What an outstanding interview, he thought, this could really make the career of no-one, that is the self that once was of course, because he suddenly realised he, like everyone else, now had no self.
He then spotted Marilyn again on the bed with the phone once again in her hand. She lowered it slightly seeing the journalist still in the room.
‘Will you please leave?’