"The real secret," said Plasky, drawing on his thin cigarette with grim reaper intensity, "is to shorten their names. Make them more familiar. So, Robert DeNiro becomes Bobby DeNiro. Robert Duvall becomes Bobby Duvall. Marlon Brando becomes Bobby Brando."
"They're all Bobby?"
"They're all Bobby." Plasky blew some smoke out across the skyline. The middle of the Chrylser Building disappeared for a moment behind the haze, then hastily reassembled.
Yves, whose last name was also printed on his name badge, but it wasn't even near being spelled correctly, leant back against the side of the building, balancing on the balls of his feet and his wrists, performing curious backwards push-ups while Plasky watched with evident interest.
"So," said Yves, "I just go right up to—I don't know—the Alphabet Lounge, and I say I'm a friend of Bobby Gyllenhaal, and they'll let me in?"
Plasky laughed, a gaunt, weedy laugh. "There's something more to it than that," he said. "But, if you put your mind to something, there's nothing really stopping you except yourself."
Yves waited tables, like they all did. Pushed up his sleeves the moment the last customer left the door. They were the real kings of this town. They propped up the powerbrokers: fed them coz they couldn't feed themselves. Al Pacino was in last week. Yves got his table, not realising who was there until his black leather pad was out, taking orders. Bobby Pacino, he kept hearing, Bobby Pacino. Pacino ordered a house salad, talking on his phone the whole time. Yves' mouth went slack every time he came back to the table. Extra water. Extra rolls. Bobby Pacino.
Backstage, fame was a surname:
"You've seen who's out there?"
Yves knew that was real fame. Not even needing a first name. Sucked that no one could ever spell either of his names right. Maybe that changed, eventually.