Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #337

The crime scene investigator was extremely puzzled as he reviewed this image captured by a security camera. At first glance, it did appear that the woman dancing on the desk was probably responsible for the corpse currently in the county morgue, and the primitive but heavy cast on her leg was most likely the source of the blunt-force trauma on said corpse.

But as he zoomed in on the odd sign in the background, his instincts went on full alert. “Do not remove newspapers from this room.” Who would make such a sign? Why were the newspapers so important? What was up with the water cooler in the corner that appeared to have radioactive plutonium floating in it? Clearly, there was more going on here than a drunken chorus girl attempting to high-kick her way to a better life. The investigator needed more information. He picked up the phone and called Oprah.

Oprah: “This better be good. The Chinese take-out just arrived and I need me an eggroll.”

Investigator:  “What do you know about Mitzi Gaynor possibly killing someone with her foot?”

Oprah gasped, and then recovered. “I don’t know anything. Unless there’s plutonium in the water cooler.”

Investigator: “There’s plutonium.”

Oprah gasped again, because it was kind of fun to do that. “Meet me at the secret place in one hour. Make sure no one is following you. And if I’m wearing a red dress, it means we’ve been made and you need to run.”

Investigator: “Got it.”

Oprah: “And whatever you do, don’t take any of the newspapers!

The line went dead.

Previously published, considerable changes made, especially in the following questionable prize for those who keep scrolling…

One hour later, at the secret place, a greasy table in a seedy diner in South Chicago…

Investigator: “But you’re not Oprah.”

Gayle: “There was an incident with an egg roll and Oprah is momentarily unavailable for this booking. So she sent me instead.”

Investigator: “Hmm. That makes me a little nervous. But at least you’re not wearing the red dress.”

Gayle: “But I am wearing the red dress. Wait, maybe I’m not. I have a wee bit of an issue with color-blindness. I left that off my resumé when I was cast as Oprah’s best friend.”

Investigator: “So we have been compromised. What do we do now?”

Gayle: “We talk very fast. That security photo you have? Mitzi is leading with her right foot, but the coroner’s report indicates that the killer was a left-footed heifer.”

Investigator: “Don’t you mean hoofer?”

Gayle: “No, I mean heifer. The killer is Elsie the Cow. The notorious Bovine Gang does not play nice, and we are in terrible danger, even if I can’t see that danger coming in full technicolor.”

Investigator: “Then why are still sitting here? We’ve got to blow this joint and run for our lives.”

Gayle: “Agreed. But before we go…”

Investigator: “Yes?”

Gayle: “Can you pick up the tab? I’m accessory-blind as well and I grabbed an extra egg roll instead of my purse. It’s my understanding that soy sauce-drenched pasty is not acceptable currency in this country.”

Investigator: “Oh. Well, I don’t have any money, either. Or an actual name in this story.”

Gayle: “Hmm. It seems we have a moral dilemma. Which is more important? Running for our lives or properly supporting local businesses in our community?”

Investigator: “I’m thinking we shouldn’t spend a lot of time on that dilemma. Let’s motor.”

Gayle: “Hang on.” She whips out her soy sauce-drenched cellphone.

Investigator: “Are you calling for backup? I’ve always wanted to do that.  But I can’t afford a phone, so…”

Gayle: “Big O? It’s me. We’re in a bit of a pickle. Things went south, I wore the wrong dress, and we might be killed at any moment. Thoughts on the matter? Uh huh. Uh huh. Yes, Fred is here.”

Investigator: “Fred? Is that my name? I really need to quit drinking vodka from the bottom shelf.”

Gayle, briefly covering her cellphone with a soy sauce-drenched hand: “No, you’re not Fred. He’s the bouncer at this joint. And stop talking. We can’t have any cross-chatter on a secured line.”

Investigator, apparently not Fred: “I’m so lost right now. Especially the part about a diner needing a bouncer. What is going on in that kitchen? All I wanted was a nice patty melt and some decent conversation.”

Gayle, removing her hand: “No, O, I’m not ignoring you. I’m just dealing with some C-grade talent in the Green Room, you now how it goes. But I’ll put the plan into action. We’ll debrief later.”

Investigator: “And that plan would be?”

Gayle, standing up and speaking much more loudly than someone who should be invested in not being noticed by hired thugs who might want to kill them: “Well, I declare. I just found a hair in my prosciutto salad.”

Immediately, a burly man appeared at the table: “Password acknowledged. How can I help you?”

Gayle: “Hey, Fred. We need immediate transport to the Harpo studios in order to prevent our untimely demise.”

“Right,” said Fred. “We should proceed to the kitchen, wherein you will both need to change into different dresses for the extraction maneuver.”

Investigator: “Wait, I get to wear a dress?”

Gayle: “Honey, let’s come out of the closet later. Our itinerary is pretty tight right now. We’ve got to move.”

They moved.

Two minutes later, the helicopter arrived, hovering above the diner, blowing things about, including the delicate chiffon of Investigator’s dress, a delicious development which made him feel like Marilyn Monroe in “The Seven Year Itch”. He would never forget the moment.

What was forgotten? The patty melt. The cook placed it on the warming counter, dinging the little bell, and an expert but under-tipped waitress snatched it up immediately. But when she arrived at the designated table, she found it unoccupied, except for a small splatter of soy sauce. The patty melt was never eaten, despite it just wanting to be loved.

And that, my friends, is the saddest part about this story. Other than the fact that this story was written in the first place.


Final note, for now: Another obscure music reference was tucked in this travesty. Scroll back, if needed…

37 replies »

  1. My offering for the music reference: Right Said Fred, a 1962 UK hit for Bernard Cribbins, adopted as a band name by the 90s boys who were too sexy and also deeply dippy…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Elsie’s lawyers were contacted as she has initiated a lawsuit against anyone who profiles bovines. “Bovine” is now considered politically incorrect and a species slur word. It ought to be noted that nothing slathered with soy sauce is acceptable as payment, as cows don’t acknowledge the brown sauce of tang. They leave that up to their brethren across the ocean, the oxen. There was collusion it might be noted, as a certain feline (pussy being a species slur word as well as vaguely obscene now) who goes by the code name “Leo-Cay” who was responsible for giving Elsie the name of the animal lawyer who takes any and all cases, however odd. No animals were harmed in the writing of this comment. The dogs, you’ll note, prudently said nothing. They hadn’t drunk from the plutonium water vat and were too sly to be kicked in the head by women who indulged in certain recreational drugs ‘back in the day’ and didn’t know that they hadn’t made it to Broadway (even in the chorus line), but thought they could make it anywhere. Even on sad desktops in grim offices tucked away behind the printing presses of yesteryear.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is wonderful. I’d continue the inspired madness, but I sense that I cannot do it justice. But know this: Elsie and Leo-Cay once had an affair in St. Tropez, and it was the talk of the town for at least three minutes. In an interesting aside, their indiscretions were discreetly noted by an insurgent group of felines and canines who had their own Facebook group, “Fight the Two-Legged Power”. Before one could blink, a warning had been sent to all pets on the planet, advising them to avoid plutonium water, which is why, to this day, some pets remain unsatisfied with the contents of their water bowls.

      Okay, I apparently lied about not continuing the madness. So be it…


  3. Addendum to previous comment (which was too long, but what you gonna do?): Mitzi or Gayle or whoever was wearing the unsightly paper mache like mess on her leg, got so excited by her ‘Broadway” debut that her hair caught fire. Being under a rather ugly hat, little puffs of steam or smoke were all that escaped (see photo). Having one’s head catch fire is not motivational, even if one has tried to quash the spread of said flames with a beret that belongs on someone named Desiree or some other vaguely French-sounding name. Especially if that fire is in a sad little office behind the printing presses where all the newspapers that were considered ‘subversive’ were stored. It’s an American tragedy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wait, I hadn’t noticed the (presumably) radioactive effusion billowing out of Mitzi’s head until now. This TOTALLY changes everything. I hereby redact my previous response to your previous comment, wherein I mentioned the St. Tropez trysting. Something nefarious is going on here, and I don’t relish the thought of anarchistic four-leggers seeking vengeance in the middle of the night. I already have enough of that mess going on here at Bonnywood, no need to up the ante…


  4. Meghan breezed into the room, dragging a stumbling Harry behind her. “Oprah called, so I’m here to help you, Brian,” she said, huffing and puffing as she reached under her ponytail and pulled out a vegan sandwich. “Just as long as you respect my privacy, agree with everything I say, and do what I tell you.”
    “You’re going to help me with my story?” Brian asked, a little nonplussed.
    “Will it make lots of money? Because I have security issues, you know. They cost money. You can’t just get me here for free. And besides, I’m an author now.”
    “Ummm. No, probably not.”
    “Oprah!!!” Meghan shouted, her brow knitting into a temper knot. “How many more of these stupid trips do I have to take before we’re even??? I mean, I know you helped me out, but I helped you out, too!!!”

    The End.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You get the prize for the best wrap-up (save for Brian’s of course). No I want my fifteen minutes of fame dammit! twerps were harmed in the writing of that astounding finish, were they? If they were, I’m sure that Elsie/Leo-Cay lawyer will contact you shortly! 😉 Hehehehhe! Amazing..

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lynette: The vegan sandwich under the ponytail slayed me. (In a good way, of course.) I have my pros and cons about the Meghanarry duo, but really, it’s time for them to put up or shut up, so to speak, without the assistance of Oprah’s publicity team.

      I had no idea Meghan was an author. Did I miss something? Or is she talking about her pre-nup?

      Melanie (and Lynette): Isn’t it fun when we all jump in on a twisted comment thread and warp it even further? I love the smell of chaotic sarcasm in the morning… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot begin to tell you how much I worship a good patty melt. It just does something to my soul. Sadly, there are a lot of restaurants out there that don’t have a clue, screwing around with the basic recipe by adding things that are not copacetic with the original vision. My fave patty melt at this particular moment is served by a chain called “Whataburger”, which used to be just a Texas thing but they’ve been branching out. If you see a sign with that name on it whilst motoring around Cali, pull into the parking lot immediately. They do a burger right, in various incarnations…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Visual Medium Magnetizer Sophrologist * Pereira Jonas. * Hello, I offer clairvoyance sessions in office or remotely (WhatsApp +15186203625) but also magnetism and sophrology sessions.


  5. OK: you caught the plutonium in the water cooler, the slowly molding patty melt, and the sign forbidding the removal of newspapers. But what about the photograph of Jack Ruby next to said sign? What of the case of Coke trying to disguise itself with a safari hat? And what of the telephone trying to confuse the issue with a useless chess board on its side? Surely further clues linger here. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are exactly right. Now that you’ve pointed out these additional head-scratching tableaus, I realize that I don’t have all my ducks in order with my thesis concerning the goings on. I must revise this entire story. But I’m keeping the Patty Melt in one form or another. The pathos of its abandonment simply cannot be ignored…. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, yes, the Patty Melt must remain. But perhaps you will discover that Ms. Gaynor and her highly suspicious ankle cast (topped with a crocheted ice-cream-cone holder in place of a sock) was using the pseudonym “Patty Melt” to evade capture. J.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Visual Medium Magnetizer Sophrologist * Pereira Jonas. * Hello, I offer clairvoyance sessions in office or remotely (WhatsApp +15186203625) but also magnetism and sophrology sessions.


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