“Oh, hi, Phil. I was just working out in the gym.”

“Look, Michael. Your speech in New York last week was priceless. And drawing the horns on that picture of the record company exec? Pure genius. I’ve got to admit, I’ve planned some awesome publicity campaigns during my career as a celebrity persona advisor, but that was the best gimmick I’ve ever come up with. Furthermore, I think our next step is going to blow them all away. Now, first of all -“

“Oh, Phil, do we have to talk about that now?”

“What’s the matter, Michael? You sound upset?”

“Don’t you think it’s about time I started having a normal life? You know, something a bit closer to life on this planet? I mean, all those other acts, like Paul McCartney or Willie Nelson don’t act nearly as strange as I do, and yet, they still sell records.”

“Now, wait a minute, Michael. Haven’t I been advising your career for over 25 years?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Remember when you first came to me? You were just another former teen star who was into body building and picking up girls, but did I let that discourage me? Heck, no. I took over your career and gave you a public life that had never before been seen in the annals of pop history.”

“I know, but while I was pumping iron today, I kept thinking about all the other artists, like Jerry Cantrell and Alice Cooper. I’ll bet they never had to sleep in an iron lung.”

“No, and they never underwent extensive plastic surgery, or dated a chimp, either. And you don’t hear MTV calling them the ‘King Of Pop,’ now, do you?”

“No, but I miss having a normal life. I’ve been doing this Peter Pan thing ever since my Jackson 5 days. Don’t you think it’s about time I grow up? Make some normal friends instead of hanging out with all those weirdoes you keep matching me up with?”

“Weirdoes? There is nothing weird about Elizabeth Taylor or Uri Geller. They’re fine people.”

“They’re yesterday’s news, Phil. I should be hanging with Bow Wow and Luther Vandross, not some has-been movie actress and a second-rate slight-of-hand magician.”

“Oh, Michael, we’ve been through this before. It takes more than great songs and snappy dance steps to be a star. Take Ozzy, for example. He was just another heavy metal singer before I suggested that thing with the bat.”

“I know.”

“And where would Bruce Springsteen be if I had never designed the entire working class hero mythos around him?”

“But, I want a normal life, Phil. A home in the suburbs, weekends at shows by Melissa Ferrick and The Knack, a real wife and two gloves, not this larger than life monstrosity I’ve grown into. Dammit, Phil, I gotta be me!”

“Wait a minute. Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice, young man.”

“Uh? What do you mean, ‘don’t talk to me in that tone of voice?’ I think you’re forgetting that it’s you who works for me, Phil.”

“Please, Michael, don’t take it the wrong way. All I meant was, you shouldn’t let your voice drop down into that deep, Neil Diamond-like baritone of yours. You never know who might be listening. Now, reach down and cinch up your shorts until you get your public voice back.”

“Okay‚Ķ Like this?”

“That’s better. Look, Michael. Let me think about this ‘normal life’ thing. In the meantime, you know that seven million-year-old fossil they discovered in Africa last week? I’ve already made arrangements to have it flown in for your lunch with Hillary Clinton next week.”

“No way, Phil. I mean it. No more weirdness.”

“Just one more time, Michael. We’ll have a photog take some pictures and send them to the Enquirer. Then we’ll talk about you having a normal life.”

“You mean it, Phil?”

“Sure thing. Oh, and Michael?”

“Yes, Phil?”

“You might want to knock off on the body building. People are starting to talk.”