Home > Short Stories > Short Story – The Picture of Britney Spears (A modern adaptation/bastardisation of The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Short Story – The Picture of Britney Spears (A modern adaptation/bastardisation of The Picture of Dorian Gray)


“Tremendous Britney!” said the sycophant in the suit. He had no real interest in her or her music beyond making a profit from record sales. He would, on occasion, gently remove the image of her face from magazine features and engage in self-gratification so that his result fell gradually upon the severed heads, but with that aside, he had no further interest.

He continued to praise her and whilst humbly she thanked him, in truth, she was deeply saddened. Being the daughter of a psychic, Britney was an excellent judge of character and knew what he said to be false.

What offended her most was his complete ignorance of her gift. Sadly he was not alone. There were many others; fans and media alike who worshipped her for her beauty instead of her talent.

She still trembled from the intensity of her performance: a medley of Mozart arias culminating with a virtuoso expression of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. It was, she said, her salute to the two greatest musicians of the ages. Most of the world was too ignorant to realise they were in the presence of the third.


Britney was a genius – there was no doubt – yet she seemed cursed too, by her intoxicating beauty. She ran from the sex-addled crowds that surrounded her and fled to her home where she wept intensely, soiling three magnificent silk tissues.

Soon her mother and loyal agent were by her side looking on with great concern.

“Oh mother, why do they do this to me?” she asked in despair.

It pained Mother greatly to see her child this way, but she dared not lie. “The world is a strange place my child.” She began. “The fools find greater reward than the wise. And yet…….. it was with forbearance that the gardener tended to his orchid……… He fought many a harsh winter, finally for it to reveal it to himself in all its glory.”

“Oh dear sweet mother” She exclaimed in between sobs. “Why must you talk to me now in riddles? Please…can’t you see….I need to know what to do?”

“There is no single thing you can do now my child” she lamented. “The world will not be changed in its attitudes in one night. You must educate them and show patience with them. The world is so very young.”

Britney shook her head in frustration but knew better than to argue with her sage Mother. Restraining another barrage of tears she ran to her room and locked the door. Here she could embrace her disgust at the outside world; their pitiful understanding and their sordid desires. She retrieved her Oboe from the corner of the room and played it discordantly; as loud as her lungs would permit. It was like the scream of Apollo.


By morning her tears had disappeared, but her artistic appetite had not. Her agent woke her, gently uttering her name.

Over breakfast, the announcement was made. She was to try again; to give the world another opportunity to see beyond her feminine shape. The agent had failed.! Despite his adoration of her talents he too was besotted with the physical. He had let Britney dictate the terms of her return and too much rested on this one event. In one grand display that surely none could ignore, Britney was to perform a one woman show of each Wagner opera.

And still press attitudes seemed not to have changed. They ran their hands through her hair curiously as Britney emoted, teary-eyed, over the significance of her next performance.

“My child I sense great danger!” warned mother. But her child was a stubborn beauty. She struggled on through promotional appearances on sitcom after sitcom, and chat show after chat show.

They would blather amiably about boyfriends and fashion. She just wanted to scream to the audience “I’m a dammed artist you fools. Get you perverted kicks elsewhere” but she wouldn’t. Her opera would show them, it would show them all.


It was the day of her performance and Britney rose early to watch the sunrise. There was a spring in her step, a marked difference from Mother who seemed to be suffering from some manner of supernatural affliction. Curled pitifully upon the floor she tried to reason with the prodigy: “I beg you child. Do not go to your performance on this night. Something grave awaits you I fear.”

“Mother that is preposterous” she exclaimed. “This is my day. Finally……..my day.” There was so much hope in her eyes; so much happiness in her sweet voice.

But no! It couldn’t be! Opera on Ice. “What deception!” she squealed upon seeing the title adorning the building’s façade. Her promoters had been touting the ‘Sensational Britney Spears Event’ all this time deceiving her of its true meaning.

And inside she confronted her nightmare. Circus animals dressed like people flanked the stage. Two monkeys were to play the parts of Tristan and Isolde. Stage-hands tied ice-skates to the monkeys as others wheeled out great wicker rings that soon would be ablaze. Rings of fire! What sick pantomime was this?

She could stand this depravity no more, and ran from the stage, barricading herself within the relative sanctuary of her dressing room.


Mother had never seen her in such fury. “I pray child that you will open this door.  Let your mother comfort you.”

“I will not Mother. You cannot help me” she accused and threw ever more into her barricade.  Now leaning her own weight against it Britney held off the demands of Mother and her agent.

As if taunting her, the stage show began. The circus tunes could be heard in the distance; the crash of a symbol and honking of a horn every time one of the ice-skating monkeys plummeted to the ground.

“I will not have my art belittled by these philistines!” she cried. Another honk in the distance; a cruel riposte from the show.

“I would rather sell my soul to the beast himself!”

And then silence. “I trust that you suitably regret that remark” said mother. There was no reply. She knocked firmly upon the door, and still nothing. Yet now she felt little resistance, as if the barricade had weakened. Slowly she ushered the door open and entered with the agent in tow.

Mother tried to scream but was starved for breath. There stood her dear sweet Britney shaking hands with the Beast! The god-damn Devil!

“What foul degradation!” she hollered still gasping.

The Beast turned to her with a genial smile and, taking another puff on his pipe, patted Britney gently upon her buttocks before addressing his audience:  “I’m afraid you are too late” he began. “We have reached amicable terms. Now I must away.”

In a flash he was gone. Another honk in the distance seemed to deliver the final blow. Mother collapsed.


Britney stood resiliently at the foot of Mother’s bed, stubbornly overlooking her convalescence.

“You must tell me everything” Mother begged urgently.

“I have taken my career into my own hands. The Beast and I have come to a deal.” She answered.

“I dunno Britney” chimed the Agent “I always figured the Devil for being a kinda’ tricky fella’.”

“That is my fear also Mervin” said Mother to the Agent. Then addressing her obstinate daughter added: “What was the exact arrangement?”

“That the world would finally recognise my true talents and find some other outlet for their more perverse fascinations!”

Suddenly the telephone rang and the Agent swept off to retrieve it. It was the Royal Opera House in the quant little Isle of the United Kingdom. They immediately offered to host Britney’s ‘One-Woman Wagner’ show in London for a three month tenure. Oh such a charming and flattering offer!

“Now I feels like an imbecile” said the Agent humbly.

“Don’t be so cruel to yourself Mervin” said Mother as she admonished her daughter psychically.

“You thinks we still might have some trouble with em’ even after this?” he probed.

A sombre pause hung in the room before she finally would answer: “We’ll see” said Mother. “We’ll see.”


“We’ll see…….. We’ll see” she continued to say. Britney grew tired of her Mother’s mysterious chanting and trotted off to her room, excitedly packing her bag for the grand adventure ahead of her.

So much was to be done before she could leave! Arrangements must be made for someone loyal and trustworthy to look after the house; her belongings too must be shipped to the Isle.

Time passed insufferably slowly to that fine day of departure, but what a magnificent day it was! Helios marched his chariot across the sky with great fervour and as Britney climbed aboard her flight that day she was gazed upon as one would a goddess. “First class is not fit for her” one passenger was heard to remark. How they loved her.

The flight was long and yet held no suffering for Britney. The crowd adored her, and furthermore, they adored her for her gift!

“Oh Britney the infernal humming of those jet engines is quite a bore” said one young boy. “Sing us a song. Please. Anything, we must hear your voice.”

The entire jet was roused with the call of “here, here” beckoning the prodigy to step forward and take her rightful place. And when she did, their gratitude was a rapt and awed silence. Never had they heard such beauty, and never had she felt so wanted. Dear, dear, Britney had finally found her recognition.


The morning after that fair flight Britney sat, gracefully watching International news and with a profound sadness, contemplating the plight of the world. There was such misfortune on this dark earth. She shed a tear and prayed that her music might bring some beauty into the lives of the unfortunate.

Slowly, slipping back into reality, Britney looked up at Mother who having returned from her morning stroll held aloft a copy of a contemporary gossip publication. This foul purveyor of non-news spoke wildly on the front cover of this and that, and things that were of no importance and then, in the far left corner sat, like some arrogant aside, a claim relating to Britney herself!

Wondering why this fair Isle was still so caught up in the past, she took a brief glance at the date and squealed with horror at the sight. Yesterday’s date! This cannot be true; the accusation itself was absurd: being rowdy on the streets of London!

“Why would you want to sully your prize” Mother asked, restraining emotion.

“Mother this isn’t true! I slept well last night, a good and full night’s rest!”

Mother looked deep into her child’s eyes and smiled sadly at what she found: “I believe you” she reported.

Then what could this be? Both minds suspected the same hideous deity but neither dare speak its name. Could this be the work of the devil? Mother tried to put the talk to rest for the time being; her child needed to compose herself lest she be burdened with further stress on her first day at the opera house. Perhaps that was what the devil wanted!

“I am sure this is merely a small complication” she said. “A result of your success. Ignore it, and work hard on your gift. I promise it will depart.”

A gentle nod in agreement was all the prodigy could muster. “I will mother” she said with trepidation. “I will.”


For the best part of a month no more scandal was uttered, the child was free to concentrate on opera and opera alone. The Beast had been true to its word also; there was a fine response to her work. Crowds would fill the house to capacity and standing ovations had become a splendid routine.

Britney became accustomed to such welcome reward yet although she never dared to voice her concerns, Mother was still wary that some trickery might lay behind the Beast’s uncertain transaction.

Week after week Britney’s reputation for greatness grew; the stage was hers! And now, with her voice at its finest and the crowd at its most receptive the insidious blow was struck.

Relaxing her precious voice before tomorrow’s event, Britney gazed out into the London twilight as her agent swept into the room. Trembling from anxiety he directed their attention to the current broadcast, and together they watched as another foul rumour was bandied about sweet Britney. Of all the possibilities, causing a ruckus in a local eatery was now the accusation!

“These lies again!” she screamed. “I have not ventured out all day, I’ll soon put these rumours to rest.”

And yet no sooner had she uttered these words with disdain and certainty than the most peculiar of images was thrust upon the screen. There stood Britney in the eatery; it was her and no mistake!

Her voluptuous body spread over the counter as she demanded the attention of the fearful staff. Her mouth too opened widely in contortion; a prophecy of illness more than discourse, and yet to the crowd’s surprise, words emerged from that intoxicated creature.

“Hey boyyyy” she began. “I ain’t geet yet, where’s my hoagie?”

Most were too shocked to respond. One or two within the crowd refused to grant an audience to such a display and left immediately but the doppelganger would not relent. On and on she blasted about her ‘hoagie’ until the manager brought her their finest sandwich. This, sadly was not to her liking.

The patience of the staff expired finally once Britney, still disheartened by her sandwich, assaulted the manager with the meal. Two of the eatery’s assistants seized upon her and forced her to the ground.

“Hah hah hah” she squaked with the laughter of the dammed. “What are you….the sherruf or the depudy?”

The eatery assistant calmly explained that he was neither.

Finally, with her restrained the manager quickly ushered the crowd and media too away from the restaurant. The show, it seemed, was over.


What foul simulacra was this? Over and over they gazed at the recording. Why they could be twins!

In both one could see the same deep, soulful eyes and long blonde hair. And hidden behind her monstrous deformation of the English language still was Britney’s sweet, sweet, voice.

A Spears family conference must be held! The combined minds of Mervin, Britney and Mother, poured other the evidence; debating and counter arguing; proposing and repudiating long into the night.

The next dawn had broken before the triumvirate had reached their decision. Their reasoning was sound and yet still anxiety harassed them. The actions of the beast had herded them dangerously into a corner. Their resolution leant poor Britney such vulnerability.

First, they could not claim that this malcontent before them was not Britney; who would believe them? Only the fools – that was who!

How could she confront the world with her hideous truth? Even choosing to omit her pact with the beast, she would but create more delicious hysteria. Twin Britney Spears’! She would never be granted another moment’s peace! Forever to be compared to her twin, always haunted by her. It would be of no benefit to oust her.

There could be no comment. Britney must trust that her performances would drown out her doppelganger.

And for a time this was true. Her displays were appreciated as profound gifts; the audiences would not wane. Yet now the congregation of reporters grew larger. They would wait for her after the show. The jackals!

She would prattle on with a baneful speech, thanking once again her marvellous audience, her mother, her agent, the gods of inspiration. In fear, she would leave in a dash. She would never take questions.


There was but a brief hiatus in the scandal; oh how the beast was cruelly toying with her! Barely had her constitution survived the last attack when on the eve of her twentieth performance Britney was witness to yet another foul display by her twin.

Resting against Mother and slumped on the sitting-room floor, she watched as the demon-Britney ransacked a local beverage store! Drink was her desire and she would inform all who looked upon her of her mission.

“I’m fixin’ ta’ get me sum drink ya’ll!” she would spew amiably, never forgetting to smile asymmetrically.

Lower and lower sank the dear sweet Britney, and her dress too crept around her like a puddle of melancholy. Over and over those words would be repeated, over and over the footage would be replayed and the wry smiles too of the reporters would stab at her like a millions knives until finally………she could restrain herself no longer! Mother held her back as she yelled, exhausted at the disaster-box that beheld her double! “Make….make her stop….stop” she blubbed.

But there was to be no cessation. No mercy! Soon the twin was singing a ditty of great joviality on the joys of drink. With no success she would juggle the bottles on nearby shelves and engage others in duets of this song which none had heard before. She was for all, an utter laughing stock.


Burdened by humiliation, Britney’s performances continued. Yet for the first time her audiences failed to meet capacity, and for the first time, she felt the most terrible emotion whilst on stage. She hated the venue now with all her heart! All those faces, those accusatory faces whispering and conjecturing….. Perhaps somewhere amongst them were still the lovers of music pure and beautiful, but her mind could not relinquish the fear that this was now nothing more than a human zoo!

With another performance finished and ignoring perfunctory calls for encores, she dragged herself to her dressing room, head hung shamefully low. It seemed as if with one simple push one could topple that beauty and she would crumble upon the floor like the last atoms of her dignity. There she stood, precious and week in the centre of the room. Some ten frozen minutes had passed until her agent entered cradling the routine bouquet of flowers.

In an instant, that fragile beauty metamorphosed into a creature of vile contempt, leaping upon the agent, screaming words of incomparable cruelty. She tore at his clothes, his skin, bit at his face, pulled at his hair and beat him senselessly with her delicate, feminine fists.

“You fool!” she screamed in between strikes “You dammed, dammed fool! You are my agent and my career is in your hands…..oh why won’t you do something?”

He was forced to endure several minutes of the merciless beating before Mother ran to his rescue, dragging the incensed beauty away from him.

“My child what has become of you?” asked mother with tears near to expression. “You have a loving family and no just cause for retribution.”

Having found the moment to contemplate her actions dear Britney was now ambushed by guilt. She threw herself at the wounded body of the agent and begged him for mercy.

“It’s not you I hate Mervin. Oh you know that! It’s her…..I looked at you and I saw her……..she is destroying me Mervin and I want nothing than to do the same to her.”

“Silence!” screamed Mother. “I will not have you say such things!

“So you would have me withhold the truth Mother?” replied Britney with vigour.

And then there was silence, all except the tremulous breathing of dear Britney, still brimming with adrenaline. She would not let her fury overcome her again; she stormed past Mother and out of the room, leaving Mother to tend to the wounds of poor Mervin.


Mervin’s wounds healed quickly and his devotion to dear Britney was unchanged. Meanwhile Mother and Britney grew increasingly distant. It was now Mervin who would cradle her as she watched the twin ravage her reputation; Mother could only abandon the room as Britney’s exchanges with the television became heated.

Mervin and Britney too spent more time alone, entertaining discussions of an unwholesome kind. He would be her confidante for her most vindictive desires; her bitterness for her once great love of performing and her pitiless yearning for revenge.

The twin of course would allow dear Britney no time to rest!

A plenitude of footage blessed the media as they groped their way through the crowds of each and every celebrity party to see her being lead away by an officer of the law. And yet remorse seemed inconceivable for the beast’s creation. Indefatigably she would struggle, beaming with the greatest of satisfaction… and then…. would announce with glee to the crowd her proud situation:

“I’ll be out lickety split ya’ll. I’m Britney Spears!”

Oh how dear Britney would shudder when she heard those words. And yet these were not the cruellest to ever be spoken, those were reserved for one whom Britney had always adored, always longed for the respect of.

The call was received late on some anonymous night. The days had long been ignored by name and were now known only as an abstract collection of humiliations and tribulations.

It was Sir John Osborne, head of the London Opera House. He said softly, with the greatest of solemnity that he would not do Britney the disrespect of embarking on hollow small talk; instead he ventured straight to the disastrous news he bore. Her tenure was to be withdrawn. The Opera House could no longer withstand the damage dear Britney’s reputation was bringing them, there was simply nothing he could do, then of course he wished her the best of luck.


That night, under the moonless sky, Britney and Mervin concocted a foul plot of solipsistic charm. There was no laughter shared between them, nor a smile of satisfaction; each of them held respect enough for that.

With the plan complete, the lawless pair returned to the sitting room where they watched with vindication, the latest debacle of dear Britney’s abominable twin.

The venue was a grand villa of spectacular proportions! Celebrity peers no doubt chatted amiably in every room of the house, with the exception of one.

Sprinkled throughout this shameless space were journalists and paparazzi. Together, once more, they cheerfully chronicled the demise of one of the world’s great talents.

There she was in the centre of the room; the polluted twin, the guest of honour, riding a topless John Goodman as if he were some manner of steed.

Perhaps that wasn’t really John Goodman, she thought…..perhaps he too had bargained with the devil and found himself cursed by some insidious doppelganger …whatever the cause, it mattered very little. The media had found the Britney they preferred and desired. Dear sweet Birtney was now the anonymous twin. Her gift was wasted and she knew that.

And then the doppelganger blasted from the TV:

“Giddy up, giddy up” playfully digging her heels into his cushioned abdomen. John Goodman galloped ever faster.

“Yee haw, I’m Britney Spears! I’m Britney Spears!”

The disaster-box was switched off.

Mervin and Britney looked at each other just once, neither saw reluctance, nor any trepidation in the other. The plan was to go ahead.

At the front door they were halted. Mother stood weakly in the doorway of her bedroom. She could be heard sobbing gently; murmuring too a host of pleas to the lord, begging for his assistance.

She called out to them: “More than one life will be scarred by your actions tonight!”

“More than one life has already been scarred Mother!” screamed back Britney.

Weakly, Mother eased herself back into her room, she could fight no longer.

The lawless pair continued.


The party still had much life in it. As of yet the twin had committed no actions worthy of police attention.

She wandered casually from person to person blathering about hoecake and possum pie and the delights of being Britney Spears.

Soon though, the deceitful Britney began to tire and chose to refresh herself. She made her way to one of the grand bathrooms with the intention of slashing some cool, refreshing water over her face. Mervin and dear sweet Britney followed her.

The grandness of the party was their camouflage. No one noticed the second Britney, nor the addition of her agent follow the twin into the bathroom and close the door swiftly behind them. Nor did any of the revellers hear the muffled screams.

The twin begged for her life. Dear Britney would say nothing. The only member of the group who would speak was loyal Mervin, so shocked and confused by what he saw.

Dear Britney allowed herself no time to consider second thoughts. She swept her knife across the twin’s throat and watched as she fell to the ground.

Britney had taken not a single breath before she too clasped at her throat, desperately trying to close the incision that had un-miraculously appeared.

“This is a trick of the beast!” screamed Mervin in desperate reassurance. “This is a trick of the beast!” he screamed again and again.

“This is a trick of the beast!” He did not stop until dear Britney herself had ceased breathing.

It was then, in that moment of calm, that the most profound and peculiar noise could be heard. It was dear Britney’s voice! She was singing the most magical of arias.

Such a sad and strange exhibition! Mervin cradled her body as the mysterious, faceless voice grew in strength.

Soon it could be heard around the party. The noise of every reveller was diminished and then, although they knew not why, every single guest, every man and woman in that hallowed venue burst into spontaneous tears.

They wept and wept ceaselessly until morning, and as the sun rose, each of them held within them the most profound loss.

No one saw her body that morning. Mervin claimed that none were worthy. And as the paramedics carried her covered body from the bathroom he found reason to smile and begged for them to stop just a moment. Kneeling down and moving his lips up to her delicate ears he whispered: “You did it Britney, you did it last night. If only you could have seen. Your voice is truly the greatest gift I have ever known!”

The End

Categories: Short Stories
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: