Jesse McCartney Wants You and Your Beautiful Soul

by | Apr 24, 2021 | Wendy Day 2 - Group A | 4 comments

You can’t say you weren’t warned. He had a hit song about it. His siren song filled the mid-00s airwaves, imprinting on all the girls that would later flock to his mansion when adulthood proved to be a total letdown. When the front door opens, his music drifts out from the speakers. You’re in the right place. Inside the party is ramping up. The whole rainbow of hot girls is here dancing like this is their dream. As your eyes drift across the crowd, you see every kind of woman. They’re all there strumming air guitars, drumming and lip syncing like mouthing the words brings them closer to living them. Some are in fancy dresses and heels, others are in sweatpants, and no one’s out of place. You recognize the red apple bergamot notes of his perfume “Wanted” by Jesse for ladies, and sure enough you see the nearly empty teardrop bottle on a side table. On the wall are gorgeous jars shelved like books. The souls. Jesse appears, handsome as a Ken doll, and invites you in, explains how it works. You get to choose and decorate your own jar. The extraction machine is less than a pinprick. Then you can stay forever. “Leavin’” plays as you look at everyone. The girls singalong with the echoes. They’re his backup. Without their souls they’re devoid of negative feeling. You’ve never experienced so much peace and happiness radiating from a crowd. One girl bumps into another, apologizes and neither of them seem irritated. Accidents happen. You talk to several Ph.D.s, a few doctors and a whole mess of teachers. No one ever kept their promises to these women. No one except Jesse. You pick an old green apothecary jar and detail the base with gold filigree. You slap on your best Gwen Stefani smile. This is the best day of your life.

4 Comments

  1. Trent

    It’s quite intriguing, how the preface of the warning seems to dissolve among all the kinetic energy. Yet, I still wonder about Jesse and the price for this arrangement. My favorite imagery is the jar, like out of some Steampunk emporium –

  2. Constance Malloy

    Chelsea, I love the energy in this. I felt myself dizzy, swirling around from person to person as if I were actually at the party. This definitely feels inspired, and I too, wonder about the price of Jesse’s arrangement. Hmm. Glad to have experienced your work this weekend. Stay well, Connie

  3. Wendy Oleson

    Dearest Chelsea,
    This is only weird if you mean wonderful. I mean, my goodness, this is the kind of fiction that makes sense of life. “You can’t say you weren’t warned. He had a hit song about it. His siren song filled the mid-00s airwaves, imprinting on all the girls that would later flock to his mansion when adulthood proved to be a total letdown.” And adulthood will prove to be a total letdown, indeed. I totally feel the energy and dizzy swirling Trent and Connie mention—it’s such a pleasure to inhabit this alternate world so close to my own—and there are so many moments that resonate poignantly: “Some are in fancy dresses and heels, others are in sweatpants, and no one’s out of place,” “One girl bumps into another, apologizes and neither of them seem irritated.” “You talk to several Ph.D.s, a few doctors and a whole mess of teachers.” And because I so totally love smells in fiction, I adore this: “You recognize the red apple bergamot notes of his perfume “Wanted” by Jesse for ladies, and sure enough you see the nearly empty teardrop bottle on a side table. On the wall are gorgeous jars shelved like books. The souls.” Souls in perfume bottles! It reminds me of Ursula the Sea Witch! Her souls! But not in a beautiful custom bottle the soul’s owner got to decorate!!! It’s so good. And maybe worth it? I think the one thing that’s missing for me here is how the protagonist found Jesse’s mansion. Does it appear when a girl or woman reaches a certain emotional state? Does one hear about it and embark on a pilgrimage? What happened—maybe a long series of soul-numbing slights and cruelties or a particular precipitating event—prior to her arrival at Jesse’s place. “You’re in the right place,” so how does she know. And that great opening line, “You can’t say you weren’t warned.” Maybe a whisper more about the warning—just something that gives us a sense of how one gets to Jesse’s because it seems like once one is at Jesse’s there’s only one thing to be done and that decision has already been made.
    Ahhhhhh! Love it.
    My best,
    Wendy

  4. Alex Ruby

    Chelsea: I’ve been to this party. The imagination behind this is lovely. The realistic details make it seem close yet far enough to make you wonder what’s really going on. So much fun to rest and soak in the different sentences, each one layering another twist of young senses. Thanks for sharing.

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