Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #337

The crime scene investigator was extremely puzzled as he reviewed this image captured by a security camera. At first glance, it did appear that the woman dancing on the desk was probably responsible for the corpse currently in the county morgue, and the primitive but heavy cast on her leg was most likely the source of the blunt-force trauma on said corpse.

But as he zoomed in on the odd sign in the background, his instincts went on full alert. “Do not remove newspapers from this room.” Who would make such a sign? Why were the newspapers so important? What was up with the water cooler in the corner that appeared to have radioactive plutonium floating in it? Clearly, there was more going on here than a drunken chorus girl attempting to high-kick her way to a better life. The investigator needed more information. He picked up the phone and called Oprah.

Oprah: “This better be good. The Chinese take-out just arrived and I need me an egg roll.”

Investigator:  “What do you know about Mitzi Gaynor possibly killing someone with her foot?”

Oprah gasped, and then recovered. “I don’t know anything. Unless there’s plutonium in the water cooler.”

Investigator: “There’s plutonium.”

Oprah gasped again, because it was kind of fun to do that. “Meet me at the secret place in one hour. Make sure no one is following you. And if I’m wearing a red dress, it means we’ve been made and you need to run.”

Investigator: “Got it.”

Oprah: “And whatever you do, don’t take any of the newspapers!

The line went dead.


Originally published in “Crusty Pie” on 12/11/15 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 05/05/16. No changes made. Well, except for the following questionable prize for those who keep scrolling…


One hour later, at the secret place, a greasy table in a seedy diner in South Chicago…

Investigator: “But you’re not Oprah.”

Gayle: “There was an incident with an egg roll and Oprah is momentarily unavailable for this booking. So she sent me instead.”

Investigator: “Hmm. That makes me a little nervous. But at least you’re not wearing the red dress.”

Gayle: “But I am wearing the red dress. Wait, maybe I’m not. I have a wee bit of an issue with color-blindness. I left that off my resumé when I was cast as Oprah’s best friend.”

Investigator: “So we have been compromised. What do we do now?”

Gayle: “We talk very fast. That security photo you have? Mitzi is leading with her right foot, but the coroner’s report indicates that the killer was a left-footed heifer.”

Investigator: “Don’t you mean hoofer?”

Gayle: “No, I mean heifer. The killer is Elsie the Cow. The notorious Bovine Gang does not play nice, and we are in terrible danger, even if I can’t see that danger coming in full technicolor.”

Investigator: “Then why are still sitting here? We’ve got to blow this joint and run for our lives.”

Gayle: “Agreed. But before we go…”

Investigator: “Yes?”

Gayle: “Can you pick up the tab? I’m money-blind as well and I grabbed an extra egg roll instead of my purse.”


21 replies »

  1. Are you sure that’s not mercury in the water cooler? Sipping the quicksilver would explain the weak bones and the dancin’ on the desk. So, the cow did it? Is the victim the fella who smelled of cheese? Maybe the heifer caught him k’noodling her latest batch of brie and the murder was nothing more than a crime of passion?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t kick that high when wearing slippers, so kudos to Mitzi. Also for being named Mitzi, which is as fine a name as ever there was, meaning she can kick her way over anyone she wants on her path to glory. And Oprah would have agreed with me had it not been for the egg roll incident.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So, let me break this down: You secretly wanted to be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall but things went amiss, you may have some misgivings about your given appellation, and you seek validation from talk-show hosts who seek validation from those seeking validation. Wait, I think I might be talking about myself here. I’ll get back to you after the next session with my therapist…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So much material, so very much. Mwahahah. I had something witty about Mitzi (whom I did not recognize, never having seen her in ANYTHING that I can recall…but her name? Has it’s own agent and is widely known, even to the entertainment challenged like myself). One relevant point the Investigator left out: Mitzi has obviously ingested laughing gas (nitrous oxide), a very great quantity, or cocaine or both together (here’s a list of possible Euphoriants:
    No I didn’t make up the word, it’s actually on the internet, so it has to be VALID, right?). Why else would she be ‘dancing’ (damn that cast has to be really heavy) on the desk. Sturdy damned desk too, to support all that weight. Um.

    Alternatively the shot is of Mitzi just as she’s slipped on those pesky newspapers on the desk that nobody is supposed to remove, and is in the act of falling on her assets…. um.

    More pressing: Why is the sign attached to a cupboard door (or refrigerator from the 50s..), why is there a spotted reptilian creature on top of that cupboard/frig (or is it a toad or frog…wowza)…why is the telephone checkered in that manner? Is this a Dali-esque dream sequence? Will the clock start melting? No about those weird photos in the background? Are THEY melting? Am I in Oz and someone’s thrown water on me? Augggghhhh.

    Your photo will no doubt have a starring role in an upcoming nightmare about submarines, Mitzi Gaynor (whom I still wouldn’t recognize by sight) and checkered telephones that someone could be clubbed to death with. And COWS? How did a cow get on the submarine? Wasn’t she (or her cousin) supposed to be setting San Francisco on fire by kicking over an unhappily placed lantern?

    told you. so much material…so very much… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am agog at your fever dream.

      I take a certain pride in my ability to grab minor aspects of a photo and run with the wind, but you have left me in the dust with this lovely menagerie of randomness. I am simply speechless. (In a good way, mind you.) I simply have nothing to contribute.

      Barely-related footnote: I need to dig a story out of the archives concerning “submarine races” in Tulsa. It is not what one would think, but it’s a hoot…

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m still poking about for that submarine story (right now I’m going under the assumption that I named it after the Tulsa Zoo, but this might be a failure on my part, as I’ve not found squat) but yes, the last few days have been trying, proving once again that we are on the same wavelength, even if they are different waves…


    • Yes, the bullish cows are justified, a phrase I never imagined that I would ever type. And yes, that ugly foot cast is mesmerizing in its primitive not-rightness. I can’t stop looking at it…


  4. I suspect the reason she is in that cast is because she banged her head on the overhead light and fell off the desk. The fact that her slip is showing is a scandal in its own right. I believe during that era, the penalty for something like that, was a moratorium on all social events.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, good eye. I totally missed the slip slippage, and it completely changes the story. I must immediately get to work on a revision. With “immediately” meaning maybe someday I will remember to do it… 😉


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