At the start of the photo shoot, Clara had been very excited about being aboard a sailing ship on a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the seagulls were making delightful gull noises, the gently bobbing waves were soothing, and the refreshing salty breeze reminded her of many festive nights spent drinking margaritas at the Cocoanut Grove.
But as that first glow of the day slowly fell victim to the increasingly scorching sun, things began to go a bit awry. The clever and amusing seagulls suddenly weren’t so much anymore, when they made a group decision to stop gulling and start dropping unsatisfactory things from both ends of their streamlined bodies. The bi-polar waves went from happy bobbing to angry swells, sending the caviar overboard and shattering the gin bottles. And the refreshing air? Well, it soon became clear that the local citizens of this harbor had become accustomed to throwing anything they didn’t want any more into the harbor and letting it rot.
This simply wouldn’t do. Clara sprang into action and tracked down the captain at the ship’s wheel, dispensing with any conversational formalities. “All of the alcohol on the deck is gone. We need more.”
The captain turned to look at her, and his eyes blinked in surprise. “Good God, woman. What happened to your hair?”
“It’s this never-ending wind, you fool, but that’s not important. Alcohol is. Where do you keep it?”
The captain was perplexed. “I have no idea. I just stand at the wheel and wear a hat until people get off the boat.”
Clara sighed. “Somebody has to know, right? Somebody brought the gin on the boat. Are they still here?”
Captain: “Oh, you mean the bartender? Um, I’m not sure where he is. And speaking of, I’m not sure where we are, either. I seem to have forgotten to bring my maps. Do you have any? Maps, that is. Not alcohol. I think it’s clear that you don’t have any of that.”
Clara sighed again. “You are going to get the worst review ever on Yelp.”
Then she turned and fled from the Cracked Captain, running along the upper deck with no real destination in mind until she nearly slammed into the photographer for the shoot. They both took a second to recover and adjust their clothing because, even in a crisis, you have to make sure the couture pops.
Then, Photographer: “Is the horrible rumor true? Have the spirits flown?”
Clara: “What is it with you gay people that you can’t just say ‘the booze is gone’? Is that so hard?”
Photographer: “Now, now, love. Don’t take out your frustration with the inebriation cessation on me. You know damn well I would have given my life to save the gin, if I had better reflexes. Still, before we sober up, we need to finish our session. And there’s really only one shot left.”
Clara: “The one where I throw myself overboard?”
Photographer: “Very amusing, Ophelia. No, we need to get a snap of you adjusting the riggings for the sails.”
Clara: “Why on earth do we need that?”
Photographer: “Something to do with your next movie. I understand that you’re sailing around the world and trying to save your lover from an opium den. Or maybe a Catholic school. I don’t remember the details, but it’s essentially the same thing.”
Clara: “Fine. Let’s get this done. I’ll fire my agent later.”
Positions were taken, and drunken groupies were cleared out of the background. (One of them was the elusive bartender, but no one would find this out until J. Edgar Hoover initiated an investigation years later, a pointless bit of research that was kicked off mainly to distract from the rumors about J. Ed wearing a cocktail dress to certain swarthy bars in Washington.) Sadly, despite the taking of positions, nothing seemed to be happening, at least not to Clara’s satisfaction.
Clara: “I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m hanging on for dear life here while you keep screwing around with every knob on that camera. Could we maybe take the picture today?”
Photographer: “But Clara, I’m just trying to make sure you look glamorous.”
Clara: “Honey, that ship has sailed. Just push the money button.”
Previously published. Slight changes made for this post.
Categories: Past Imperfect