Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #505

Detective: “Do you know why we called you down to the station?”

Woman: “I have no idea. Is this something to do with the parking tickets? I really did mean to pay them, but I get distracted easily. I lived in Montana for a while and that messes you up a little bit.

Detective: “Yes, it says that here in your file.”

Woman: “I have a file? How did I get a file?”

Detective: “Well, you must have done something at some point. We’re too busy around here to create files on people unless there’s a reason to do so. This isn’t the FBI.”

Woman: “The FBI? How did the FBI become involved? I’m feeling really flushed right now and I might have to do something frantic in the near future.”

Detective. “I didn’t say the FBI was involved, I merely said… that’s really not the point. The point is that I’m investigating The Case of the Maltese Falcon and you have been identified as a suspect.”

Woman: “The Maltese Falcon? That sounds vaguely familiar, and it reminds me of the word ‘dashing’ for some reason, but other than that I have no idea what you’re talking about. What happened to this falcon?”

Detective: “So you’re aware that something happened to the falcon?”

Woman: “I’m assuming something did. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a case, correct? That still doesn’t explain why I’m here. Is this the point where I need to hire a down-on-his-luck lawyer who suddenly redeems himself by dramatically saving me in court and we eventually get married and have a rather swell life in Connecticut?”

Detective: “That doesn’t happen in real life. That only happens in the movies.”

Woman: “And that’s why I want to be in them.”

Detective: “The movies? Are you an actress?”

Woman: “Well, not exactly. Right now I’m a hat model.”

Detective: “So you do admit to wearing hats?”

Woman: “Of course I do. As if my rather-fetching mugshot doesn’t make that very clear. Are you sure that you didn’t live in Montana as well?”

Detective: “Very funny. Almost as funny as the fact that you are wearing incriminating evidence on your head.”

Woman: “I’m doing nothing of the sort. Wait, perhaps you could flesh out the details of your statement. Another thing I’ve learned from the movies is that the screenwriters will create absurd plot developments that don’t make any sense but work perfectly with a Max Steiner score.”

Detective: “We have several eyewitnesses who spotted you leaving the Tramp Tower at the very second that the Maltese Falcon went missing. Would you care to flesh out those details?”

Woman: “The Tramp Tower? Why, there are thousands of people who go to the Tramp Tower every day. Are you interviewing all of them?”

Detective: “We don’t need to. You’re the only one who left the tower sporting a dead bird.”

Woman: “That’s a baseless accusation. Wait, did I say that right?”

Detective: “Perhaps you should look at your mugshot again.”

Woman: “Oh. Oh! How on earth did that get there? Is this the missing Maltese Falcon?”

Detective: “Well, it was. The falcon has moved on to the aviary in the sky. And I’d like you to tell me how and why you helped it fly away home.”

Woman: “I’m at a loss. It’s very possible that I may have done something without really thinking it through. I have a tendency to do that. Can I call my best friend? She was with me at the time and she takes much better notes. Her name is Ethel.”

Detective: “Yes, we already have Ethel in the next room. But before I run fetch her, I need you to state your name for the record. This conversation is being recorded.”

Woman: “Recorded? You know how to record things?”

Detective: “Of course I do. It’s part of the job. And I run a nightclub on the side, where we often record the show and send the tapes to Hollywood, hoping for a big break.”

Woman: “Can I be in your show? Please? It’s all I’ve ever wanted, to be in a show.”

Detective: “We can talk about that some other time. Just state your name, please.”

Woman: “Lucille Ball.”

Detective: “Wonderful. Now, I’ll just run get Ethel so we can-”

Lucille: “And what’s your name?”

Detective, pausing, then: “It’s Ricky. But my name is not important. I’m just here so the other three people in the sitcom can use me as a setup for their jokes.”


Previously published in “Crusty Pie” and “Bonnywood Manor”. No changes made since the original version, which should stun some of you considering how much I piddle with things over the years. And yes, Lucille Ball was a hat model (and she also lived in Montana) before she got her big break…


28 replies »

  1. People are always stealing falcons from Malta. I didn’t know that they were so valuable, or so apt to wind up as hat corpses on women from Montana who wear necklaces made out of breath mints and go to the Trump Tower. Er… Tramp Tower. 🙂

    An inspired piece – I loved it, especially the part about the Trumps. Tramps. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At least the dead bird on that ‘interesting” hat is explained. I was wondering why she would wear a dead bird, but didn’t think it my business to point that out. Those cops leap on ANYTHING verbal and use it against a person at a later date. And it might have been considered rude to point out the dead creature, because that could get confusing, given all the players in this one are dead themselves. Maybe that hat is haut couture (*snicker*) in Beyond The Grave land…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely and witty comment, but let’s focus on how you know so much about police procedures. Have you also found yourself in a situation where you had to explain something amiss with your couture? 😉


      • I admit I’ve had brushes with ‘da law’ in my day, but only once was it because of some unsanctioned nudity in a place I never should have been (didn’t get caught, but they (cops) sure saw more of me than was seemly. Heh.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I approve of the no-changes angle you took with this one. If I remembered what I commented the last time, which I assume was clever and beyond reproach, I would follow your lead.
    I have failed as your follower.

    Liked by 1 person

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