A desperate woman caught in the corner of celebrity martyrdom fights her way out tooth and nail as all of America is watching. Notoriety is a tough and stark account of one woman's life taking an unexpected turn after a desperate act is mistaken for heroism. Notoriety shines a spotlight on the vicious cycle of media-driven celebrity, and in consequence, the trouble fame inevitably attracts. obooko.
The Bronx, New York, nineteen fifty-nine, stark white slate skies overcast a storefront-lined street. Across the shifting waters of the Hudson stand the skyscrapers on the island of Manhattan, drearily nestled. Of those few working-class people managing to get on with the urban monotony of the early morning, one stood out. She was Miss Betsy Burkes. An attractive young woman, tall and healthfully slender, she made a call from within a telephone booth set adjacent to the sidewalk of the storefront-lined street. The plainly dress she wore in no way distracted from her effortless beauty. A pair of nylons hugged her legs. Dark seams ran a straight line down the back of her calves--the only portion of her legs visible below the opening of her molted skirt. Motionless, she lingered. Her eyes focused absentmindedly past the glass on some unseen point outside the booth.
In silence Betsy held, gazing. The phone rang in her ear, a hollow, repetitive drone. She remained for a short duration, entranced, pensively awaiting an answer. An autumn breeze threw up dry, dead leaves brushing them along the curb outside the glass box. The call went through, she turned away sharply, mumbled a few indistinguishable words, and hung up. She exited, sliding the booth's folding door open as she stepped out onto the sidewalk.
Betsy approached the imposing entrance to a modern, newly built bank, a towering expanse of solid plate-glass. Her mirrored image walked steadily in pace beside her, a reflection in the bank's windows. The narrow-waist fit of her dress glimpsed in the glass accentuated her figure. Beyond her dim image, a uniformed guard was positioned within the lobby at the entryway. He was armed at the hip with a holstered revolver, his back turned to the window. The blank stare of Betsy's face gleamed at her through the glass entryway doors as she casually reached out to open them.
Betsy patiently waited for a teller, last in a long line of customers. She went about preparing a check that she had removed from her purse. At the central island, in her place where the queue ran, she used one of the cheap ballpoint pens secured to the desk by a chain to methodically fill out her deposit slip. The first letters she formed were without ink. She had to scribble at the margin before she could write.
There was a sharp break in the silence. The definitive sound of the glass entryway doors being knocked open echoed loudly throughout the lobby of the bank. Betsy, engrossed by the task at hand, was caught completely unaware. The disturbance came as a shock; all attention was drawn toward the bank's entrance. There, a man brandishing a pistol wrestled the security guard's gun arm, denying him the removal of the holstered weapon.
Those with an inkling of what was about to transpire froze in place, unable to react in time to thwart it. Any in the bank not so attentive awoke with a jolt. A brief outcry had arisen only to be cut short by the piercing cry of a woman and the deafening crack and sudden white flash of a single gunshot. What was to follow eventuated in the twinkling of a second; a sequence of jumbled actions addled together to form one barely cohesive picture.