ACT I: SETTING THE SCENE
Daphne was used to it. She got it all the time. “Wow, you look just like her,” they’d say.
It didn’t matter whether she’d bothered to put effort into her appearance that morning, or if she’d just rolled out of bed, thrown some clothes on and left the house without any make-up on.
Sometimes in winter, Daphne would show up to work wearing a beanie, with big sunglasses on her face and a scarf tucked up to her chin, and customers still couldn’t help themselves. They had to mention it, as if they would choke on the thought if they didn’t let it out into the open.
“Oh my god… you’re the spitting image of her!”
Daphne endured it every Tuesday, when she made the trip to Lake Tekapo for work.
As massive as the actual lake is, the lakeside town of Tekapo is home to a mere 368 people.
You couldn’t buy a pack of condoms without the whole town hearing about it, and knowing precisely who you planned on enjoying them with.
And yet, the population doubled every day at lunch time.
With Tekapo being the exact halfway point between Christchurch and Queenstown (and a beautiful halfway point at that), it was the ideal spot for all the tourist buses to pull over for lunch.
Every morning around 11am, all the Tekapo locals would tense up slightly as a stampede of tourists flooded onto the main street and made a beeline for Tekapo’s three cafés.
Every Tuesday, you’d find Daphne in the busiest of these three cafes. If she wasn’t making lattes, or toasting croissants, or waiting tables, she was in the kitchen scrubbing dishes. More often than not, she was doing all four at once. She absolutely loved it.
Unlike her colleagues, Daphne only worked one shift a week, and even the most unbearable of jobs is bearable once a week. So a semi-decent job like this one, with uninterrupted views of the stunning Lake Tekapo, was more of an excuse to socialise than anything else. You’d certainly hope so, for NZD $11 an hour.
Aside from Daphne showing up to work bright and early at 6am every Tuesday morning, and the tourist buses rolling into town for 90 minutes every day around lunch-time, there was only one other thing you could 100% count on in Tekapo – at least 1 in every 5 customers who laid eyes on Daphne would make a comment along the lines of, “Do you know who you look like?”
The ‘who’ they were referring to was Deedee Cara, the world famous superstar. Deedee was a household name celebrity, and had been since she was about nine years old. After becoming something of a YouTube sensation in the early days of viral videos, Deedee Cara’s rise to fame had been so rapid that her life had changed overnight.
Her YouTube song-and-dance performances won her a role in a Disney kids’ show, which had everyone under the age of 10 tuning in to watch her every single day after school for several years, until she released her first pop album and started to branch out on her own.
Deedee Cara appeared in a few musicals in her late teens, and then managed to secure numerous roles in Hollywood thrillers and romantic comedies. And these weren’t B-grade films… she was starring in box office hits.
She went from being the cute, innocent Disney girl adored by preteens everywhere, to the edgy, rebellious teenager with sex appeal. It wasn’t long before Deedee Cara had her own line of perfume, cosmetics and lingerie, on top of being a world-renowned fashion icon, movie star, singer/songwriter, dancer… you get the idea.
These days she was in her late twenties, and arguably one of the hottest names in music, film and theatre. She already had several biographies written about her, and apparently she was being approached by movie producers for the rights to a musical biopic.
In short, the world was very much Deedee Cara’s oyster. And not only did Deedee Cara’s world dwarf Daphne’s world, but it also intruded on it. Mostly because no one ever let Daphne forget what was happening in Deedee’s life.
Don’t get the wrong idea, though – Daphne didn’t hate her superstar lookalike. She actually quite enjoyed following Deedee’s career, and kept on top of all her latest achievements. Daphne knew every little thing about Deedee Cara, just like all her hard-core fans did.
A big part of Deedee Cara’s success was that she was such a down-to-earth person. Whereas many celebrities showed their true colours for the worse in televised interviews, Deedee won people over by being so relatable.
She always had such interesting responses to even the most mundane of interview questions. Someone once asked her in an interview what her favourite meal was, and Deedee responded that it was Bolognese Burritos.
You cook a big batch of spaghetti bolognese for dinner, and then for the next couple of days you use the leftovers to make delicious burritos, complete with melted cheese, baby spinach and beetroot chili sauce. She even used to crunch up a few corn chips to sprinkle through the beef mince for good measure.
This interview motivated Doritos to release a new flavour of corn chips called “DeeDee Doritos”, specially designed for adding to bolognese sauce. The lady could do no wrong!
But enough about Deedee Cara. For once, the story isn’t actually about her… this story is about Daphne.
ACT II: PRESHOW JITTERS
Naomi had never been “new to town” before. Well, perhaps apart from the day she’d been born. However, considering that Tekapo was essentially just one main street with a few cul-de-sacs stemming from it, she didn’t imagine it would take very long to find her place.
She’d had her supermarket job lined up before she even arrived, and her employment package included a room in a share house, with the rent automatically deducted from her pay check.
Just like that, Naomi didn’t need to worry about rent or bills, and she was told she’d have access to a very generous discount on groceries, too.
All she had to do was stand behind the check-out for eight hours at a time, five days a week, and she could spend the rest of her time reading books by the water, jogging along the water, or sipping coffee in the local café while she gazed out at the water… Not a bad life compared to what she’d been through in recent years.
Naomi’s third or fourth day in Tekapo, she headed to what was fast becoming her favourite café of the three in town, and that’s when she first noticed Daphne.
Her first thought was, Holy shit, is that Deedee Cara?!
Then she clocked on to the fact that, even though Deedee Cara was born in Wellington and raised in Auckland, she probably resided in Los Angeles now. Besides, the superstar had no reason to be working as a barista/waitress in a small-town coffee shop in the middle of New Zealand’s South Island.
The woman, whose name badge read ‘Daphne’, beamed at Naomi from behind the counter. It was a genuine smile; not a customer service smile. “Hi there, how can I help you?”
“Could I get a flat white, please?” Naomi pulled out her purse, but Daphne politely shook her head.
“You just started at the supermarket, right? Across the road?”
“Yeah, this is my third shift,” Naomi mumbled. “I’m just on break.”
Daphne waved Naomi’s purse away. “Don’t worry about it, first one’s on us. Welcome to Tekapo!”
Naomi flashed her a shy smile and said, “That’s really nice of you, thanks.”
Daphne glanced over at Naomi as she got to work making her flat white. “So where did you come from?”
“Up near Tauranga,” Naomi replied awkwardly. “Just needed a change of scenery.”
“I hear you,” Daphne chuckled. “Tauranga’s beautiful, but Tekapo is something else.”
“Are you from Auckland?” Naomi barely heard herself asking the question.
Daphne looked over at her knowingly. “No, I’m not from Auckland, and I’m not Deedee Cara.”
Naomi looked embarrassed.
“But don’t worry, I get that a lot,” Daphne added. “Here’s your flat white, enjoy.”
As timid and reserved as Naomi was, she couldn’t help looking back over her shoulder as she pushed the café door open, only to find Daphne staring right back at her. Naomi felt her entire face go bright red, and yet Daphne just kept gazing at her evenly.
ACT III: THE BLINDING OF THE LIMELIGHT
It was no secret that Deedee Cara’s life had begun to spiral. The paparazzi had been bothering her to no end, and she’d indulged them with a few screaming matches in airport arrival lounges and fancy restaurants in recent times.
The more Deedee fought the media, the more they lapped it up. It was exactly what they wanted, and she continued to give it to them as she became more and more unhinged.
Daphne always found it eerie to see a face so similar to hers in the tabloids and on the news, frantically pushing her way through persistent crowds of savages that refused to stop badgering her.
The first incident that started to unravel Deedee Cara was a sex tape that a jealous ex-boyfriend had released.
There had been rumours floating around that she was in fact a lesbian, and apparently this ex-boyfriend (a D-list celebrity) had caught wind of the following Deedee Cara quote:
“I’ve always identified as bisexual, but after the way my ex-boyfriend treated me, it was enough to tip me over the edge to full lesbian.”
In an act of vengeance, this ex-boyfriend had released an old sex tape of the two of them, only to learn a few days later that the quote was completely untrue – Deedee Cara had said nothing of the sort. Of course, the lesbian rumours persisted nevertheless.
The quote was completely discredited but by that point, what’s done was done, and Deedee had to accept the fact that the world would always have instant access to video footage of her doing things that now repulsed her.
A scandal is a scandal, and even Daphne couldn’t help herself – she looked up the video online, but never made it past the first few frames. The moment she’d seen a nude Deedee Cara on screen, Daphne had felt violated, as if it were her own body being publicly broadcasted on the internet. It seemed that it wasn’t just their faces that looked similar.
From there, it was all downhill, and Daphne would follow the news with a heavy heart and much empathy as Deedee Cara descended from the top of the pops to damsel in distress.
To be clear; she wasn’t washed up, and she wasn’t a has-been. Deedee Cara was very much still in the limelight. She was just drowning under contractual pressure, unwanted paparazzi attention and the usual Hollywood pitfalls.
As Daphne sat by the lake and watched all the latest “Deedee Drama” news on her smartphone every few weeks, she felt more and more grateful to be the ordinary lookalike, rather than the extraordinary one.
As much as they shared the same facial features, they didn’t share the same life challenges.
ACT IV: SPILT MILK
It was 12:52pm and Naomi hadn’t come in for her flat white yet.
Daphne had already made it, and as busy as she was with all the tourists coming and going, she kept glancing over at the takeaway coffee cup she’d prepared for Naomi, complete with a little love heart instead of a dot above the last letter of her name.
Just as Daphne was about to pour the coffee out and make a fresh one without the love heart to save herself the embarrassment, Naomi came bustling through the door. Her hair was wet with sweat and she was out of breath.
“Sorry Daphne, one of the pallets tipped over and split all the milk cartons open,” she panted. “We’ve been in a mad scramble to clean it all up before it soaked into the rest of the produce.”
Daphne chose this moment to take her half-hour break, so she could sit with Naomi by the lake’s edge and hear all about it.
ACT V: THE 27 CLUB
What is it about the 27 club? Is it that celebrities die all the time, and we just happen to fixate on the ones who were 27 years old? Or is there some kind of gravitational pull that motivates 27-year-old celebrities to take their own lives?
Deedee Cara was 27 years old when she committed suicide. She’d had an amazing 27 years. She could’ve had an amazing 50 more. But she’d decided to give in to the bullying, the criticism, the harassment… the pressure.
Deedee was over it, and she checked out. Sayonara. The only thing more spectacular than Deedee Cara’s life was her death.
She didn’t slit her wrists in the bathtub, or take a bunch of pills. She was being helicoptered from Waiheke Island to some red carpet event in downtown Auckland, when she suddenly had some kind of psychotic episode.
She started screaming and pulling her hair out as she ripped the door panel open and jumped out of the helicopter near Takapuna. They had expert forensic divers scouring the harbour for days but they never found her body, nor the backpack she’d been wearing when she jumped out.
What’s even weirder is that, upon investigation following her untimely end, the media learned that Deedee Cara had been completely broke, which seemed bizarre because she’d been making so much money from movie deals and other endeavours at the time.
There was talk of suspicious off-shore bank accounts, and there was even a conspiracy that gained traction around the fact that Deedee Cara was never seen or even available on Mondays and Tuesdays.
To be fair, that is quite odd for a celebrity, right?
ACT VI: A CAREER-ENDING PERFORMANCE
Daphne didn’t actually live in Tekapo. She lived in another small town called Twizel, about 60km south-east of the bottom of the lake. She’d inherited some farmland from her parents, just outside of town.
No one ever saw her in Twizel or Tekapo any other day but Tuesday. It was as if Daphne didn’t exist any other day of the week.
Every Tuesday, she’d drive 40 minutes to Tekapo at 5am. None of the locals ever understood how she could justify the cost of the fuel to get to and from work, one day a week, with only one person in the car… for NZD $11 an hour?!
Her farm must be making a killing, they’d all say. She just does the café job for fun.
And they were right – Daphne did just do the café job for fun. And what fun she had!
The country was still in shock over Deedee Cara’s outrageous suicide – she was a national treasure! And yet, Daphne seemed as chirpy as ever.
The Tuesday evening following Deedee Cara’s death, several locals recalled seeing Daphne’s car heading back to Twizel from Tekapo, and they all could’ve sworn they’d seen two people sitting inside.
The following morning, Naomi laid tangled up naked in Daphne’s sheets, still trying to recover from her fifth orgasm as she stared at the ceiling in awe. Who would’ve thought I’d ever have a chance with the beautiful Tekapo café barista girl who looks just like Deedee Cara?
As she smoked a blissful cigarette out the bedroom window, Naomi caught a whiff of tomato and red wine sauce… quite a strange aroma to fill your nostrils first thing in the morning.
She rolled over to see Daphne, standing naked in the doorway, looking like a super model as she held two breakfast plates.
She was beaming at Naomi. “Have you ever tried Bolognese Burritos before?”Add a comment