Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #137

Stephanie was not having a very good day.

She had arisen that morning later than she had planned, the unintended but not surprising result of having spent much of the previous evening on an ill-fated agenda of clearing the sexual cobwebs, so to speak. (It had been three months since her toes had curled, and that was far too long.) Sadly, none of the men at The Angry Button Speakeasy on West Fifth Street had paid her the slightest bit of attention. (The bartender, on the other hand, had a very satisfying orgasm when he totaled up her bar tab.)

Stephanie arrived at work two hours after she should have, fully expecting her boss to make an annoying fuss over the situation, because he was an idiot with control issues. Instead, she was startled to learn that The Idiot had finally listened to her claims that Stephanie’s co-worker, a wretch of a man named Harper, was completely useless. Idiot had sent Harper back to the valley from whence he came.

Stephanie was only allowed to revel in this glorious announcement for two minutes.

At the three-minute mark, Idiot informed Stephanie that she would now be responsible for all the job duties that Harper had been shirking, as the company didn’t plan to hire a Harper replacement since, as Stephanie had pointed out so often, Harper had never done anything. Surely Stephanie could handle both jobs?

At the five-minute mark, Stephanie was pummeling an innocent paper towel dispenser in the employee bathroom. (Said dispenser later filed charges, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)

During her lunch hour, which Stephanie still took at the regular time despite her tardiness, because a girl has needs, there was a misunderstanding at Antoine’s concerning the cobb salad she had ordered from the menu. She was presented, instead, with something the waiter deemed “The Nantucket Scramble”. It smelled of fish that had known better days. The lingering gin in Stephanie’s stomach did not react well to this pungency, and she fled Antoine’s with expediency, unsatiated once again.

At the end of the workday, Stephanie shut off her Underwood typewriter, signed out of the Pre-Internet, and fled the office building. She was about to board the streetcar named Desire, when her slightly-twitching eye caught the neon sign of The Angry Button just down the street. Surely she would have better luck this time, yes?

Stephanie took a seat at the bar and ordered a martini.

For some insipid reason, the bartender handed her a diminutive glass that could barely hold an olive, never mind enough gin to wash away the sins of the day. (Perhaps there had been an issue with the credit card she had used the previous evening? It was entirely possible, as such things were still relatively new and they were still trying to work out the kinks, what with the pesky Pre-Internet going down all the time.)

Determined to overcome the situation, Stephanie retrieved a tarnished but still decent cigarette case from her beaded handbag and plucked out one of the occupants. She raised said implement to her mouth and waited, hoping that there was still a decent gentleman out there who would light it for her and then light her later.

No one responded to her opening gambit, male or female. For a very long time.

Suddenly, a man straddled the barstool beside her.

Stephanie brightened.

The man ordered a seltzer with lemon.

Stephanie dimmed, but did not entirely give up hope. Buttons still needed to be pushed.

The man turned to her and said: “This is such a glorious day. My boyfriend Harper got fired this morning but by the afternoon he had been hired for twice the salary at a new job.”

Stephanie ordered a second tiny martini.

It was going to be another long night…


Previously published as just a snippet in “Crusty Pie”. Completely revised and extended for this post.


12 replies »

  1. Harper, no doubt, became Head of the “Harper Valley PTA” and was, apparently, unjustly profiled. There is mention in that old gem of a song about his liking to drink excessively and chase women. Freddy or Teddy (the man on the bar stool beside our woebegone Stephanie) would clearly contradict this unsubstantiated rumor. But then ‘in the day’ (and even today, in some parts of the USA) the closets are deep and peopled with folks who are misguided and unable therefore to freely fly their freak flags. Mr. Harper, I suspect, will have a short career. Because his secretary at his new ‘hi-tone’ job is related to Haggatha, lately of the Texas D.O.T. and those bitches don’t EVER play. Which may explain their attitudes. Stephanie is (apparently) shortly to join their ranks. A girl does need her oil changed regularly or all sorts of latent crabbiness blossoms..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this is a brilliant post-analysis, proving once again that you are incredibly savvy and witty. (Was that a bit much? Maybe. You know I mean well.) But your words do make me itch to finesse the ending to have a bit more of a sting. Perhaps we should find out that Harper was hired to run Antoine’s, and therefore he had a hand in the fishy malfeasance, a delicious bit of enforced happenstance I shall dwell on my thoughts, nocturnally… 😉


      • I treasure your responses to my sallies forth. You’re too kind dear sir, but like Blanche, I RELY on the kindness…. well you know! 😉 I’ll wait to see this piece rise again in the future, with that added zippiness. We solve ALL the world’s problems as we sleep, don’t we? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I see that she’s met my stylist. This explains why she has my hair style. The second thing that jumped out at me, though, was the size of the martini glass. Far too small. Martinis are my power drink, by the way. Please remember that when I twirl over to your place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The size of the martini glass is a wretched sign that life is intolerably unfair.

      More importantly, it is SO good to hear from you. I do check your site regularly, but if my cognitive skills are working in any semblance of order you haven’t posted since the Vikings discovered America.

      Why are you forsaking me of your words? WHY?

      Use this comment in a manner that you find satisfying.

      In the meantime, I will be stocking extra-voluminous martini glasses in the Bonnywood Manor Bar and Social Emporium, awaiting your eventual twirl… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephanie is a girl with many needs — that’s her main problem right there. She needs to find her zen, not to mention her comb. Though her eyeliner looks nice.
    Question: is seltzer with lemon proof a man plays for the other team? I had no idea.
    I learn so much at Bonnywood.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I must confess that I have no idea about the true significance of seltzer with lemon, but I thought the line served dual purposes, letting Stephanie know that he was both mindful of his spirit intake as well as unavailable. The lessons to be learned at Bonnywood are always murky and diverting… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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