The editor put out a cigarette in the ashtray. “Yeah. Sixteen weeks at number one, and a sold-out tour. Starlet’s on the up before the inevitable bullet train to the bottom and tabloid punch lines. Every performance, every song, every goddamn tweet devoted to this guy of hers, who’s so private none of the paparazzi can get a shot of him.”

“More or less what I was told,” Ransom said. “Your man in LA said as much.”

“He also said that you had something for me,” the editor said, lighting another Parliament.

“Yeah,” said Ransom. “I’ve looked and poked and prodded, and there’s no record of anybody by his name, anywhere, ever. The starlet’s muse? He doesn’t exist. He’s a delusion…a hallucination.

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