Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #285

Edmund: “Here we go, love. Smile for the cameraman.”

Millie: “I’m so excited to be going on our honeymoon!”

Edmund: “Me as well. We finally get to consummate our relationship, my poodle.”

Millie: “Well, about that. It won’t be happening.”

Edmund: “But we’ve just gotten married, precious. We can do all sorts of interesting things. I now have legal access to your privy chamber.”

Millie: “No, not actually. The priest said some very fine words, and I quite relished the part about sharing our lives together, especially when it comes to your money, but he never said a word about you getting to do anything with your stick. Either one of them.”

Edmund: “But this is absurd, my kumquat. It’s what married people do, the slap and tickle. And what’s this about my money?”

Millie: “Our money, darling. Half of it is mine now.”

Edmund: “That’s absurd. You can’t take my money, petunia.”

Millie: “Pre-nups haven’t been invented yet, my pet. And you have some seriously crappy lawyers. I did my research. Do you really think that we just happened to run into one another in that speakeasy on 34th street?”

Edmund: “But that was the best night of my life!”

Millie: “Mine too, for different reasons. Momma told me there would be days like that, I just had to pay attention.”

Edmund: “So there’s no chance we can be together as one? Ever?”

Millie: “Do you see that bit of luggage behind me?”

Edmund: “Of course. You’ve always had it with you, I just assumed that you would tell me about it one day.”

Millie: “Precisely, that’s what’s happening now. It contains my chastity belt. And it goes on promptly every evening. Lock-down, solitary confinement, no visitors allowed. No parking in the white zone. Do we understand each other now?”

Edmund: “I’ve got to fire my lawyers.”

Millie: “I already have.”

Millie tottered off to do something else, an else that presumably did not entail privy chamber privileges.

Purser Bill tottered up, offering something on a small silver tray. “This message just came for you, Mr. Edmund.”

Edmund nodded and took the equally-small envelope, managing to sever the top of said envelope in that admirable way some people have of slicing paper packets without the aid of a letter opener, resulting in no rough edges or rude ripping. He perused the note inside. “Ah,” he finally said.

“I hope it’s not bad news from home,” sympathized Bill, in a tone that really said “whilst I really don’t wish wretched news upon anyone, I’m much more concerned with the possible size of the tip you might give me for tracking you down when I could have just shoved the little note under your stateroom door”.

Edmund slid the note back into the perfectly-sliced packet and tucked both into a pocket in his suit jacket, a pocket designed specifically for just such a type of tucking, because he had the kind of money that allowed him to request such things in his couture. “On the contrary. It’s rather fetching news. It seems that my recent marriage has been invalidated due to an arcane law in the state where we were married, an elusive bit of legislation that only applies if a marriage proposal is made in a speakeasy.”

“In that case, I’m very happy for you,” enthused Bill, in a tone that really said “my happiness would overflow my goblet if you would just toss me a buck or two.”

“Thank you for that. Say, what are your thoughts on slap and tickle outside of marriage?”

Bill, still proffering the silver plate upon which a tip had not yet been placed, smiled brightly, refusing to let the dream die. “I don’t understand why it doesn’t happen more often. Sir.”

Edmund nodded. “I’m beginning to think that I agree, despite what my saintly mother has always told me, may she rest in Greece.”

“She’s passed on, sir?”

“No, we have a villa there.” Edmund glanced around him to ensure that Hedda Hopper wasn’t within hearing range, clutching her gossipy notebook. “Say, if one happened to be interested in some slapping and tickling on this cruise ship, how would one go about it?”

Bill lowered the tray and leaned in, conspiratorially. “That depends, sir. Does the nature of your slap and tickle requirements lean toward a specific side of the menu, shall we say?”

Edmund sighed. “We can say that I was supposed to consummate my marriage this evening and things have been on full-charge for quite some time now. I would be perfectly content with the chef’s special, whatever that might be.”

“If I understand your order correctly, sir, my shift ends in two hours.”

“Splendid. I look forward to it with great relish.” Edmund plunked something on the lowered tray and then trotted away.

Bill looked down at said tray, where Edmund’s spare room key sparkled brightly in the setting sun. He smiled and slipped the key into a special pocket of his own, then he tossed the silver tray aside and tottered over to the nearby Tropicana Bar, where his sister, Millie, was perched upon a stool at the wooden counter, sipping a sloe gin fizz. “Well, I had my doubts,” said Bill, perching on another stool, “but it seems to be working.”

Millie grinned. “Perfect! I knew the two of you would hit it off.”

Bill signaled the bartender for his own fizz. “Well, only time will tell. And that time is happening in two hours. Are you sure we’re doing the right thing, Sister?”

Millie swigged the rest of her concoction and flashed her own signal to the bartender, who was suddenly very busy. “Don’t be silly, darling. Edmund is a really sweet man and I just want him to realize what his heart really wants. He just needed a little nudge. Okay, a big nudge, because he’s old-school and it’s hard for him to buck the expectations his family has for him. But if he can finally find happiness, then this whole mess was worth it. Especially if that happiness also makes my brother happy. And it just maybe might.”

Bill fiddled with his fizz, stirring things about. “How did you get so wise?”

Millie didn’t bother with any stirring and just kept sipping. “Oh, I don’t think I’m all that wise. Momma always told me there would be days like this, and I just had to pay attention. She’s the wise one.”

The cruise ship let out a deep base note from one of its horns, marking the hour, as it sailed toward the horizon…


Previously published in “Crusty Pie” and “Bonnywood Manor”. Considerably revised and extended for this post, completely changing the story. Despite my somewhat questionable insistence on reposting prior stories, I love the opportunity it gives me to take something old and make it new again…


15 replies »

  1. Ah. The old tale of boy meets girl, girl gets boy, girl discovers she doesn’t want the boy, girl gives the boy to her brother and plans blackmail because in that time when the photo was taken, the love that dare not speak it’s name really didn’t dare. People were flung into the cold, cold ocean as a result if it were let slip. The fog horn blew it’s mournful note. And the Titanic sailed on. On to it’s doom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, now. The tone of the story just went from “Golden Girls Episode” to “Bleak Charles Dickens House”. Not complaining at all, just respecting your injection of reality at the time.

      Speaking of “The Titanic”, have you seen “Downton Abbey”? We FINALLY started watching it recently (we tend to collect the DVD seasons and watch them once the series is fully baked and out of the oven), and the opening episode entails the sinking of the ship. We just finished season 3 and I am enraptured. I might have to do a whole post about it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thus far I have resisted the call of Downton. I think I watched one or two episodes, and was creeped out by the Maggie Smith character…she really isn’t THAT OLD is she? 😛 Good one too “Bleak Charles Dickens House”. bwahahahah! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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