In All Fairness

Hands are tangled in his graying hair as he remembers that one of his stars is going to be in Keller’s talk show for a segment pertaining to her growing foundation. The clips are vital to the documentary, since any recorded material pertaining to Doctor Celeste Gonzalez is valuable to his work. The visit is last minute, but thankfully Henley recently had studio put into his home with proper equipment to record and store data. Everything in it was top quality, too. Henley demanded it.

At some point, Henley can’t be sure when anymore, he became a bit of a Director/Producer for his work. This allowed him to become more familiar with the equipment and technical work behind a movie – not just the aesthetic of it all. And as of late, he’s also become more familiar with the acting part of the work too. Being that his daughter, Ithaca, has been taking Hollywood by storm – and not just for her acting.

Even though Henley could have given her a great career with his money and reputation, Ithaca refused to use him as a reference; refused to work with him; and constantly turned down jobs that she felt were degrading to her personal character. It took her longer to make it into the limelight, but after doing a dozen or so B-rate fantasy movies – she did it. Henley isn’t sure how, really, but she emerged victorious without ever doing a project that was criticized too terribly.

In fact, many critics applaud his daughter for being selective about her work. She has only ever worked under female directors. She has played doctors, scientists, professors, and war heroes – and she has done it in a way that empowers women to pursue similar career paths. It was never easy, though, because Ithaca took the roles seriously. The young lady has a hodgepodge of medical, science, education, and military skills that she actually learned through universities and training facilities. Her work ethic is envied by many of her peers.

And Henley couldn’t be more proud of her, or the fact that she was voted as one of the top ten most influential women in the last decade.

Midway through his thought, he flicks his hand at the television – ensuring that everything was in place to record the interview. As soon as he turns all his knobs, checks all his cords and lights, and verifies that he’s on the right channel at the right time; Henley takes a seat and tousles his hair once again.


Nearly fifteen minutes go by before the segment for Doctor Gonzalez comes on, but it is certainly worth it. Keller introduced her with a commercial produced by individuals who use the services offered by the Mental Illness Awareness Foundation. It was provided to the company (for free, Keller emphasizes) as a ‘thank you’ for the help provided by her company.

“So – do I understand this correctly – M.I.A. is a not-for-profit company?”

Of course it is, the doctor tells Keller. It was never anything but that – she always intended for those in need to receive the help they deserve without concerning themselves with cost. She goes on to explain that mental illnesses are easily the most ignored medical affliction because many people who suffer cannot afford proper treatment.

“This woman is magic,” Henley comments to himself, “She is literally the embodiment of feminism!” Of course, that is true for all ten women on his list. Each woman has done amazing things by creating a generation of awareness. Doctor Gonzalez ranked the fourth most influential woman behind only Disney stars and politicians. It’s hard to beat the following of a politician or a Disney star. Both have pretty well nabbed the two most active parts of the population.

The clip-clop of stilettos in the hallway alerts Henley that his daughter must be home. Well, not home. She has her own condo in town, but she often spends her nights in his mansion because she hates knowing that he is there by himself. At least that’s the excuse that she always gives him. Secretly, he thinks that she gets lonely in her condo. It really was more or less a convenience while she’s promoting her work. At best, it’s a vacation home.

Ithaca, predictably, walks in without an announcement and sits herself next to him on the couch. They watch the screen together in silence. Keller questions Doctor Gonzalez about her plans for the M.I.A. Foundation – to which she assures him that right now they’re trying to expand down into South America. The conversation is brief, but she believes that if M.I.A. Foundation can get a strong foothold there, then perhaps their company can also start specific center for drug rehabilitation focusing on the aspect of addiction that stems from mental illness.

Neither of them speaks until the end of the interview, and it is only in response to Keller’s question to Doctor Gonzalez that makes the conversation relevant… and apparently pertinent…

“An honor was recently bestowed upon you, isn’t that right Doctor?”

            The honor to which he was referring was being named in Henley’s list of influential women. Of course, she already knew this was going to happen. Henley had contacted the women personally as soon as the top ten were determined. Doctor Gonzalez is presently reviewing her contract for the documentary, which she explains to Keller. Although, she confirms in no uncertain words that once terms are agreeable for both parties – she will undoubtedly participate in the documentary as needed. Henley already suspected as much.

Once the interview ends, Ithaca stands with the remote in her hand; “I refuse to be a part of your documentary, papa.”

If he’s honest with himself, he’s not perplexed when she declares this to him. Why would she change her deliberate decision to work with only women to date just to work for her father? Ithaca has been extremely vocal about the fact that she wants to use her fame to bring attention and positive light to up-and-coming women in the industry. Henley is neither up-and-coming nor a woman. The criterion was not met, so he shouldn’t have predicted anything but rejection.

“You were voted. It would be a violation of the voters if I do not place you in this documentary.” Henley remarks passively, still hopeful in his mind that her love for him would make her compliant. It isn’t even that he wishes her to be compliant but rather that he wants her to receive the honor she deserves. Suggesting that she is anything but worthy would be preposterous, but he’s sure Ithaca will manage.

And with a tapping foot and arms folded neatly behind her back, she does exactly that; “If you do not voluntarily remove me from the list then I will publically refute the contract for your film. You know my terms, and you know that I will not budge.” Her stony gaze falls from the ceiling to his eyes. They remain locked this way for an unnecessarily long period of time before Henley, ultimately, must look away. It was silly of him to be even so much as hopeful that she would willingly participate in his documentary.

But she would be just as daft to think he would let it go so lightly. So he offers her the alternative; “You may refuse my offer, my darling. But remember that your public display is also a public commodity. I can put you in my documentary just the same. You are deserving, and no more than you will I budge.” His announcement brings a grin to her face, albeit an angry one.

“And you will prove why I refused. Be prepared, and remember…” Ithaca proclaims only before leaning in to kiss his cheek. Even standing on opposite sides of an argument, she is polite and loving to her father. Henley isn’t sure he raised her that way but is nonetheless grateful. At least he is until she proves that Henley is very much her father, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Little need exists for them to argue the matter any further, and as such Ithaca leaves the room. Although, not before she designates that she’ll be making lunch for the two of them shortly.

“All is fair in love and war, isn’t it?” Henley laughs.


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