Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #515

Henry: “I told you that I don’t want to talk about it.”

Anais: “But Henry, we are both progressive writers who have challenged the world to let us speak freely and openly, without hesitation, about our basic carnality and the ways in which we pursue and express it. Didn’t you just spend 200 of the 300 pages in your last novel celebrating the fact that women have a nexus of pleasure?”

Henry: “Of course I did. It’s one of my famous literary quirks. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to analyze my… issue.”

Anais: “But that’s just it. You are not issuing. Your little soldiers are not marching forth. But there is no reason for you to feel ashamed in admitting that you are in the throes of erectile dysfunction.”

Henry: “Are you really saying that out loud as we promenade on the Rue de Testosterone in the City of Lights?”

Anais: “I don’t know why you just said that, considering we are actually stumbling our way down Degradation Avenue in Detroit, but I think I understand. Despite being revered by the counter-cultural fringe of literary society, a small part of you, and I’m not making fun of your anti-tumescence, still adheres to the American notion that manliness is based on virility.”

Henry: “How French of you to sublimate my situation into a critique of western values.”

Anais: “Oh, please. I’m not sublimating anything. The American airwaves are filled with advertisements about the sundry ways in which rigidity-challenged men can easily get their medical-insurance providers to cover the cost of raising the Titanic. We’ll put aside the fact that those same insurance people blow a gasket if they are expected to assist women in any way with their reproductive situations. The base line here is that American men who can’t get the ball in the basket should no longer hide in the closet of limp linguini limbo.”

Henry: “Okay, fine. My pasta has not been al dente lately. Are you happy now?”

Anais: “Yes, I am. Because that now allows me to address the other definition of erectile dysfunction.”

Henry: “Are you suggesting there’s more to the story?”

Anais: “Indeed I am, and I relish the opportunity to add another chapter to the saga. Just because you can get your infantry to salute, it doesn’t mean they get a free pass to invade foreign territory. You have to push the right buttons or France will not throw her legs asunder.”

Henry: “Ah, so this is a reference to foreplay.”

Anais: “It’s a reference to the fact that you don’t know what foreplay is.”

Henry: “This conversation sounds like another one of our books is going to be banned by people who like to pretend that sex doesn’t actually happen despite the eventual appearance of offspring.”

Anais: “Precisely. Now, let’s go find you some Viagra and an instruction manual.”

Henry: “Are you implying that I need to take a pill that will make me feel better about myself?”

Anais: “Oh, please. We both lived in Bohemian Paris in the 1930s. We know all about taking things just to see what would happen. Would Picasso have painted the things he did if he hadn’t been taking things?”

Henry: “Good point.”

Anais: “Splendid. Let’s trot off and see if we can make your own point just as good.”


Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 04/24/17. Some changes made, including an extended ending. I realize that archaic literary references may not sit well with certain folks, but I’m a firm believer that we should all be reading more, everything you can, even if the work is old and dusty and shoved in a barely-visited corner of a used bookstore. Therein awaits magic…


22 replies »

  1. I read a novel by Anais Nin once. ‘Little Birds’, was I believe, its title The cover was excellent but the content was extremely disappointing. For the most part, it consisted of rather intelligent people playing unconventional games of ‘ladies & gentlemen*

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anais Nin NOTICED less than al dente linguini? And here I thought she was keyed into loftier things, such as fictional lust, which can be ever so much more satisfying than’s partner always says the right things, does the right things and gets lost when the pinnacle of pseudo happiness has been reached. Conversation can be so overrated.. I looked up Ms. Nin on Wiki and realized I’ve never read a single thing she ever wrote, I’m familiar with her through meme generation… horrors!! But apparently she did have a big thing (good thing one of those two did) for Henry Miller…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, they were an item at a point when both of them were at considerable peaks in their careers. I guess if you’re going to write explicit fiction, you might as well be in a relationship with someone who understands the process. Of course, I suppose there would be a downside as well. Anais: “Wait, is the character in this chapter based on me? Henry: “Not at all. Why would you say that?” Anais: “Because she has a birthmark in the same place I do and her name is Anusetta.” Henry: “Oh.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read a considerable amount of both, especially in college when they were required reading in some of my courses. (Yes, it was a liberal arts college, sure was.) I even quoted both of them in a term paper about sadomasochism entitled “Chains of Love”. (File THAT in your trivia cabinet…)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha! Limp linguine limbo! Perfectly alliterative! Well, linguine is a little thicker than vermicelli, but al dente is so vital.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.