Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #320

Wallace Beery, right: “You seem a bit out of sorts, my pet.”

Joan Crawford, left: “Of course I’m out of sorts. Did you see how they treated me when we checked into this awful hotel?

Wallace: “My dear, this is one of the most exquisite hotels in the country. The staff is extremely professional and discreet. If you don’t want to flush your bidet, they will do it for you and leave a mint on the bathroom counter.”

Joan: “I’m not talking about candy in the john, you fool. I’m talking about the way they looked at me while you were signing us in. It was very clear that they thought I was useless and couldn’t contribute in any way.”

Wallace: “Well, at that moment, my dear, you couldn’t contribute. You don’t have any money.”

Joan: “They don’t know that. I can’t imagine why they would have such wicked thoughts about me when they don’t even know me.”

Wallace: “Hmm. May I make a suggestion?”

Joan: “What could you possibly say that would make me feel better about being treated like a tramp?”

Wallace: “Well, maybe next time, when you pack for our discreet rendezvous that my actual wife knows nothing about, you could make sure that your racy negligees aren’t hanging out of your suitcase, making it very clear that I’m not only paying for the room but for your hourly services as well.”

Joan, whacking at the suitcase with an outraged hand: “I don’t know how that happened. You know I usually have a tight and tidy suitcase.”

Wallace: “Oh, I certainly do know that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be in this hotel room. Or in a relationship. Now, let’s just tuck these things back in your… oh, this looks like one of my handkerchiefs… how sweet of you to… wait, these aren’t my initials.”

Joan, suddenly tensing: “Whatever do you mean, Big Daddy?”

Wallace: “I mean this isn’t my handkerchief. Has someone else been in your suitcase?”

Joan: “Not that I recall.”

Wallace: “That’s an odd answer. People generally remember everyone who has packed their suitcase.”

Joan: “Well, I think it’s an odd question. It’s the 1920s. People pack a lot more than they used to in your younger days when this country was founded. There’s a lot to remember, with all the packing that can happen after too many sloe gin fizzes.”

Wallace: “So you are sharing your suitcase!”

Joan: “I didn’t say that, at least not in a legally-binding way. Look, we’re making a lot out of nothing. Let’s go have a drinkie poo in the hotel bar. We’ll both feel better, especially once you remember that you’ve been packing a lot of suitcases that don’t belong to your wife.”

Wallace, momentarily subdued: “Oh, right, there is that angle. Okay, fine. Let me just move this suitcase off the bed and then we’ll go have that drink.” He hoisted the suitcase, only to have it pop open and a shower of baggage-claim tickets suddenly littered the floor.

Joan, re-tensing: “I have no idea how those got there or what they mean.”

Wallace, pawing at the tickets with his shoe and reviewing the dates and locations: “It looks like your passport has been stamped at every airport on the planet. I think we need to have a talk.”

In the adjoining guest suite, a shadowy figure lowers the glass she had been using to eavesdrop on the nearby conversation and lifts a phone to her ear, pushing a button.

Humberto: “Front desk. How may I help you?”

Shadow: “It’s me. It worked. Thank you for switching the suitcases while they checked in.”

Humberto: “Your pleasure is my pleasure.”

Shadow: “Speaking of, does your shift still end at eight? Because I have a clean page in my passport that hasn’t been stamped.”

Humberto: “I’ll be knocking on your door shortly, Mrs. Beery. Ciao!”


Previously published on Crusty Pie, revised and extended for this share on Bonnywood. Isn’t innuendo fun? Maybe it’s just me…


19 replies »

  1. The sight of Joan Crawford being blonde momentarily blinded me. O_o Being blonde (I was a card-carrying member in my younger days) has certain requirements, among them being ‘fun’, a good sport, and very discreetly and professionally plucked eyebrows, none of which Ms. Crawford (apparently) EVER exhibited, on or off the screen. Although (wandering up to peep again at the photo) she did have ‘good’ eyebrows in this film. But she was still really young (I presume) and the brows hadn’t had time to grow into the rather intimidating mess they became later in her career. Mrs. Beery was ahead of her time too. That sort of hypocrisy towards one’s marital vows didn’t crop up until the late 1950s when everyone got bored and the 60s were imminent. I’m glad she did get a stamp or two in her passport though. Everyone deserves at least one of those, as long as it doesn’t read “tramp” right? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it is a bit startling to see Joan with blonde hair AND appropriate eyebrows. Of course, this movie was in her earlier days when she still let the studio do her makeup. It wasn’t until later that she took over her “image” and the Bush Wars started, so to speak. (By the way, did you ever hear about what she had done with her teeth to change the physical structure of her face? Hoo boy. That was some dedication, right there. Of course, she wasn’t the only one who did it…

      Mrs. Beery may have been ahead of her time when it comes to the general population, but this was Hollywood, and there’s been double-passporting in that burgh since day one… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree. Great twist, more intriguing than the plot of Grand Hotel. LOL. I wonder how the story would proceed from here. Will Joan get her suitcase back? Will Mr. Beery accidentally bump into Mrs. Beery in the lobby? I wonder which I prefer, Joan fighting Mrs. Beery, or Humberto fighting Mr. Beery?

    Liked by 2 people

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