I shan’t lie to you. I RESPECT you too much to lie to you. Readers, I shan’t. I shan’t look you in the eye and tell you a lie.
There’s very little Rock news this week.
There. I said it. Last week we learned The Rock charges people if they want him to tweet about his own movie; the week before that we learned that he goes down on his wife but DJ Khaled does not. But this week? This week we are thirsty, for the well has run dry. There is a PAUCITY of Rock-relevant juice. The big man is doing little but promoting Skyscraper, talking to basketball players about tearing his pelvis, and slagging off Jason Statham. I do those things week in, week out, so what’s the big deal?
Given this sorry state of affairs, it falls to me to embark on something I have hitherto never even attempted: I shall pen an incredibly short story about The Rock.
The jacuzzi is hot, the evening air warm.
“Hey, jump in, Ralph,” says the man in the jacuzzi. It is The Rock. The Rock is the man in the jacuzzi.
“I don’t know, Rock,” I say, looking back at the kitchen full of guests. “Is it all right to be in there?”
“Given that it’s a funeral and all.”
The Rock points at me. “The only thing dying here –” he points at the water – “is my respect for you, man. Get in!”
I look at him, half of my conflicted mind thinking I ought to go back to the kitchen to speak to the people who have made the effort to show up, the other half thinking: The Rock is inviting me to sit in a hot jacuzzi with him.
“Get in!” he says again, this time throwing his drink over me – a White Russian, which I slurp thirstily as it drips down my face and onto the artificial grass. With one last glance at the house, I mutter, “Fuck it,” and leap into the jacuzzi. I mistime my jump slightly and trip into the pool, my face hitting the water with some force. This The Rock finds hilarious.
“That is hilarious,” he says, throwing another drink into my face. “I found that hilarious.”
I clamber to my feet, sopping wet and already a little drunk. In my suit I get comfortable and sit, arms splayed and legs akimbo, as the steam rises up and disappears into the night sky above us.
“You know, Rock,” I say, pouring some champagne into a stay flute, “It’s good to be here with you.”
“You too, man.”
As I’m looking at The Rock – the water dripping down his bald head; his breath visible in the air between us – I realise I don’t know what we’re doing here. He smiles.
“What you thinking, man?” he says, pulling an olive off a tooth pick and chewing on it, his milk-white teeth beaming at me in high definition.
“Who…why are you here? Why are we out here, and my family are inside?”
I begin to shiver, the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. The Rock looks dead at me. He smiles but says nothing.
“Whose funeral is this?” I ask, feeling inexplicably close to tears. All of a sudden, the guests in the kitchen – only now do I realise that they consist of only my family and friends – turn as one towards us and raise a glass in unison. The Rock, too, is holding his flute of champagne aloft. A tear falls down his cheek. This, I realise, is the first time I have ever seen him cry.
I look into his eyes and I understand. I know. Suddenly I realise whose funeral it is.
The Rock stands up out of the water and I notice he’s not wearing any swimming trunks, which ruins the moment somewhat, to be totally honest.
Stay hungry, stay humble.
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