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Like P. Diddy
Theodore Carter

I woke up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.  Sustaining that sensation proved extremely difficult.  I got out of bed and went to the bathroom.  My bathroom tile is yellow accented by mildew-stained grout.  P. Diddy's, as featured on MTV Cribs, is real modern.  Lots of white, silver, and black.  Everything sleek.  Beautiful grout work.
I looked in the mirror.  I had this huge zit forming on my chin.  The way I looked, no way Proactiv would ever put me in front of the camera as their spokesmen.  Jessica Simpson would look at me crooked if I showed on the set looking like this.  Realizing that was a blow, I tried not to let it ruin my swagger.  I went to my closet, put on the powder blue Sean Jean sweatsuit, and felt a little better now draped in velour.  I got a toothpick from the kitchen and let it dangle from my lower lip.
I stepped outside. Though not yet nine, the sun was bright.  Fonzworth Bentley should have been rushing up beside me with an umbrella and a Aquafina.  He wasn't, but he wasn't around for the pre-mogul Diddy either, that guy you hear in the background of the B.I.G. albums.  Puff Daddy, not P. Diddy.  The sweatsuit and the toothpick were enough.  I went back in the house for a spritz of Sean Jean cologne.  I felt better, and in this state of mind, I was even okay taking the subway to work.
I walked into my office and my coworker, Megan, looks me up and down and says, "Nice sweatsuit, Steve."  I pulled on the collar with hands and said, "thanks," even though I knew she was hatin'.  I sat down at my desk and booted up my computer, and as I did it, I thought how un-Diddy it was to be sitting in a cubical in front of a computer.  I tried to think of how Diddy's day would start.  Maybe writing some rhymes?  But when I stopped to think about it, Diddy didn't have many songs.  What I really needed to do was sign talent and throw a big party.  I logged onto Evite, but realized that I was falling into Steve mode.  Diddy parties started with exclusive A-listers, not Evite.  I didn't have any A-list friends.  In fact, it was hard to get my regular friends to come to my parties.  I began feeling more and more like Steve.  Something had to be done.
There's a custom tailor a block from my office.  I walked there and went in.  Just the smell of that place made me feel rich and important, and I thought what a good decision I'd made to seek the place out.  I told the tailor I wanted a white suit with black pinstrips, a black shirt, a white tie, and a fedora.  He started taking my measurements, and I looked at myself in the mirror, in my blue Sean Jean.  I felt good. 
At the end, the tailor said he'd have my suit ready in about a week, which I thought gave me a good time-line for my party planning.  He had the hat ready for me though and rang it up.  $300.  I'd just paid $1,800 to repair my 1998 Honda and the hat would send me over my $2,000 limit.  I said, "Let me try it on one last time," which is the kind of indecision that I'm pretty sure prevents you from being a Hip-Hop playboy. 
I stood there looking at myself, draped in velour, white fedora with a black band, toothpick dangling.  I looked closer.  The zit had formed a white cap.  The white hat accentuated my pale skin.  A lace had come undone on my Sketchers.  I looked at my Timex and thought about how I should get back to my cubical before my boss noticed how long I'd been gone.  That feeling, that conquer-the-world P. Diddy feeling, was completely gone.  Once you've lost something like that, once you've had it and let it slip by you, there's no amount of Sean Jean cologne that can bring it back.   


Theodore Carter's fiction has appeared in The North American Review, Potomac Review, and A cappella Zoo. He has also published in genre mags and themed anthologies focused on humor, horror, erotica, super powers, and Jimi Hendrix. He has an M.A. in creative writing from The Johns Hopkins University. You can see a more complete list of his publications at www.theodorecarter.com.
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