Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #308

Corinne: “Go to Hollywood, they said. Become a big star, they promised. And it all worked out for a while, and I got to go to all the right parties. Then some fool invented talking pictures, and overnight my career tanked. Now I’m stuck doing ill-advised publicity shots that make me look like I’m waiting for Stephen King to be born so he can write Children of the Corn.”

Photographer: “Since there’s no one else here, I’m regretfully assuming that you are talking to me. Why are you doing that?”

Corinne: “Because I’m not really happy about this situation. Do you have any idea what it’s like to learn that the thing you’ve been doing all your life is no longer valid?”

Photographer: “Actually, yes. That happened on my wedding night. I thought I knew exactly what to do with my equipment, but my blushing harridan of a bride had other thoughts on the matter. Post-shoot, she pulled a whiteboard from under the bed and listed ten ways in which I had erred during my processing of her film stock.”

Corrine: “Ten ways? That sounds like a lot of negatives. And a lot of experience. I take it this wasn’t the first time her film had been exposed.”

Photographer: “It was certainly news to me, but yes. I had thought she was a fair maiden. Turns out she had been fairly made at an alarming rate. She’d been cropped and rotated more times than an organic farm owned by Trader Joe’s.”

Corinne: “How wretched and unpleasant. I suppose I would feel sorry for you, if I had an actual soul, but this is Hollywood, and you’re required to hand over such a thing when you step off the bus from Oklahoma. What exactly can I personally gain from this conversation, as I stand here in this stupid cornfield and wait for my life to have any redeeming ounce of dignity?”

Photographer: “Well, there’s a lesson to be gleaned, for one. Sometimes life shucks us over, but we have to learn from our mistakes and plant another round of seeds and hope for the best.”

Corinne: “That sounds like something somebody would say in a Lifetime movie about lusty farmers during the Dust Bowl. But it’s still sweet. I kind of like you. Say, how goes it lately with your crop-dusted wife? Is she still waving that whiteboard around?”

Photographer: “Oh, we lost interest in each other’s portfolio a long time ago and we decided to seek out other agents. I’m not under contract to any studio right now.”

Corinne: “Really? Hmm. Do you think you and I could have a drink sometime? No contracts. Maybe we can just talk and laugh and wait for Stephen King to be born.”

Photographer: “That sounds splendid, especially if we throw in some random sunrise-watching. Now, can I get you to smile just a little bit more for this next shot?”

Corinne: “I’ll try. But you know it’s hard for me to trust people.”

Photographer: “Oh, I definitely understand. But you have to keep hoping that you can eventually get that perfect shot. Ready?”

Corinne: “Maybe.”



Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 09/22/15. Considerably revised and extended. (The first take consisted of just the opening paragraph.) Granted, there’s a bit of schmaltz with this one, but I also got off a bus from Oklahoma, and I still believe in the perfect shot…


16 replies »

  1. I choose to believe you included the Trader Joe’s reference for my benefit. Please don’t tell me otherwise.
    Also, I believe cornfields only appear in horror movies and porn flicks. You seem to have covered both, so kudos there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I promise not to tell you otherwise. And now you have me wondering if there has ever been a horror porn film. “Night of the Living Shucks”, perhaps. “Friday the 13th Gentlemanly Caller”? “Bordello on Elm Street”?

      Liked by 1 person

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