Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #539

Gary Cooper, left: “I’d really prefer it if you would stop clutching me in such a manner.”

Jean Arthur, center: “But darling, just because I’ve been convicted of manslaughter and you’ve filed for divorce doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends.”

Gary: “We might have to disagree on that. Especially since your manslaughtering was focused on my best buddy from college. After all, he was a fraternity brother. We had to dance naked in the town square during the hazing ceremony. That kind of commitment creates a bond that lasts forever. I still can’t look at a statue of a founding father without getting misty-eyed.”

Jean: “Well, as troubling as that initially sounds, I think I understand. But really, you have to accept at least some of the responsibility in this situation. If you hadn’t invited him over for cocktails, I never would have met him, and therefore things would not have transpired to the point where he annoyed me so much that I reached for the ice pick that some fool left sitting out in reaching distance.”

Gary: “I’m that fool. I didn’t properly secure the ice pick because I had just learned that you had been sleeping with most of the neighborhood association. I was a bit rattled.”

Jean: “See? You practically stabbed him yourself!”

Gary: “You seem to be overlooking the wanton sleeping angle. How did you have the time in the day to make it through the entire membership roster?”

Jean: “It’s all in the planning. If you create the right tracking spreadsheet, half of the work is already done. Personal software has been a huge boon to the trysting community. I’ll be doing a podcast from my prison cell. It would be swell if you could click the link and follow.”

Gary: “I don’t even know you anymore.”

Jean: “You never did, or we wouldn’t be playing out this scene. Now, I’m off to be incarcerated. Be sure and water the plants while I’m gone. The calla lilies on the lanai require special attention, just like me. Keep them satisfied or you might end up in another courtroom scene where you’re played for the fool.”

Gary: “Wait. I’m not the fool in this situation.”

Jean: “Really? Notice the man who is currently clutching me in a way that you don’t like to be clutched? He’s the new warden at Saint Margarita’s Correctional Facility for the Waywardly Damned, which is where you should forward my mail. He lives near us, two houses over, one up. He was my favorite experiment with the neighborhood roster, and he knows exactly what I like done with my lilies. I have a feeling I won’t be using the communal showers at Saint Margarita’s.”

Gary: “How do you get away with these things?”

Jean: “I backup my hard-drive every day. In more ways than one. See you at the release party!”


Previously published in “Crusty Pie” and “Bonnywood Manor”. Slight changes made. I tried to work in a new subplot concerning the Mona Lisa being stolen and poorly stashed behind the sour-faced man in the background, but I couldn’t get the logistics just right. Maybe on the next edit. Because you know another one is coming…


20 replies »

  1. Weirdly gripping, much like Jean. Also, the Mona Lisa angle you mentioned. That is not the way an easel should be used, surely? Another twisted alternate reality/backstory from your fevered imagination, well done and detailed as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And I completely forgot to mention the graffiti-scarred main mast of Columbus’ Santa Maria schooner, hazily presented behind the clutching couple. As we now know, Columbus never set foot in what became “America”, perhaps because he knew that Trump would one day rule such a land, and he didn’t want any part of that mess…


  2. “he knows exactly what I like done with my lilies” Oh my God. This is my new dirty euphemism that makes you grin that without knowing exactly what the hell it means sort of grin. Thank you for having such a potty mouth, Brian. Oh – Happy Holidays, too

    Liked by 1 person

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