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Cameron Diaz is my life coach by Cole Beauchamp

Updated: Jan 31

Strapped for cash, Cameron Diaz sold her digital image rights to a start-up called GeneTech. Back then, no one really knew where it could go, what a monolith GeneTech would become. Back then, no one had a clue.


Thanks to Frank, I got in on the ground floor. The hairy-nosed boob may have been wrong about Chinese robots, but he was spot on for this one. Fifty dollars a month for life, and Cameron whenever I need her.


The first time she appeared, fine lines around her china blue eyes, about eight months pregnant, I could barely get my words out. It didn’t seem right, talking to a Hollywood star about boy trouble, especially when she was preggers. But my friends always gave me the same shit advice. I wanted a new perspective. 


In a snap, she was in skinny jeans and a t-shirt, short bob like Something about Mary. This was a girl who knew how bad things could get. I told her how Lennie oozed sexiness in his slouchy leather jacket, the way he pinched a cigarette. She asked if he was faithful. I told her how he adored my “uptown” ways. She asked how often I picked up the tab. For the first time I saw the illusions I’d been painting about our future. Bye bye Lennie.


In my thirties, when I was a bit down, she appeared as Fiona in Shrek. Honestly, that green face with its protruding ears and snub of a nose. We chatted about my new boss, how her fearsome intellect and clipped vowels struck me dumb. She cupped my face with those big sausage fingers and said, “Maybe you shouldn’t judge people before you get to know them.” She told me to put the work in, keep playing to my strengths. Who knew you could get such good advice from an AI? 


There was a bit of a rumble about my low monthly fees when I hit forty. GeneTech tried to back out of my lifetime plan. The company realized what a money spinner it had. People were falling over themselves at 500 dollars a month. I called Cameron for advice. She appeared in a black crisscross halter top, blond mane shining, plucked eyebrows creasing as I conveyed my worries. “They don’t call me Balls Out Natalie for nothing,” she said. Her advice was to concede nothing and lawyer up. I kept expecting some override to disconnect us, but I guess GeneTech hadn’t stooped to eavesdropping on its AI’s advice. Cameron drilled me about my career, what I wanted from my employer, from the future. She laid into me about financial planning, investing, owning my own home.


Now I’m in my fifties, I wonder about Cameron, the real Cameron. The story is that she sold her likeness to GeneTech to stock the coffers for some family time. I hope she got what she wanted. I can see her, eternally blond, that megawatt smile but with a buttoned-up Mom cardigan, pushing her kids on the swings, shouting from the sidelines at their games, giving them sage advice when their teenage hearts were broken. I can see her in the movie she was never asked to make, the eighty-year old sassy grandma who did it her way, Balls Out Natalie to the end.




 

Cole Beauchamp (she/her) is a queer writer based in London. She’s been shortlisted for the Bridport, Bath and WestWord prizes, with stories in The Phare, trampset, Citron Review, Janus Literary, Ellipsis Zine, Free Flash Fiction and others. She lives with her girlfriend, has two children and an exuberant Maltipoo. You can find her on Twitter at @nomad_sw18 


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