Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #366

The narrator intones in a soothing baritone, a velvet-gravel mix enhanced by aged whiskey and pungent cigars, neither of which he has ever mentioned to his physician, lest his insurance premiums go up…

“Once upon a time, before the invention of video games and the Internet and Fox News, people actually had to come up with their own entertainment. In this recently discovered documentary photo, we can see that clever folks could turn something as annoying and mundane as a broken water main into an opportunity to wear festive clothing and engage in impromptu but well-choreographed acts of hygiene. The lady in the lower left center seems to be especially pleased about having her cobwebs whisked away… “

[There is a pinging noise in the sound-booth, and the narrator pauses his recording to try and figure out what that might be. Eventually, as in “much longer than it should have taken him”, the narrator discovers that his laptop has just let him know that he has a new email. The narrator is still very untrusting of his laptop and email and anything that pings, as he is old-school, trained in the art of communication when such a conception involved physical people physically interacting. Still, he is aware that emails are important in some way, and he realizes he should take action.

He opens the email, eventually. He reads the entire thing before passing judgement, a rarity these days. His eyes widen, processing the fact that he has breaking news, albeit news that is a tad less pivotal than military coups or a new flavor of Kit Kat bar. The narrator restarts the recording.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have breaking news. It appears that one of our cub reporters, name of Yogi, has just located an audio clip that captured a conversation between the three lasses in this photo who are artfully arranged around what appears to be a hormone-activating palm tree.” [Pause in the narrative so readers can scroll back up and thereby note the logistics, staging, costume-design, and 1930s subliminal sexuality that may or may not be important to the rest of this story.] “I am now going to play back the conversation, with the firm advisement that said conversation has not been edited to remove any impropriety, street language, or ill-advised tattoo design and placement. In other words, you can’t sue our station, claiming some form of aural-violation, because I have given you the chance to change the channel and you were too lazy to do so. That’s on you.”

[The narrator, eventually, figures out which button to click and the primitive forerunner of a podcast begins.]

Busterina Keaton, left: “Damn it, I knew this was going to happen. Girls, we’ve been in the water too long and now there’s fungus in my eagle’s nest. I hate it when that happens.”

Charlette Chaplin, center: “Well, I don’t mean to disavow your personal emotional needs, but at least they have you in profile for this shot. I’m facing the cameras directly, and it’s all I can do to keep smiling when that trollop in front of me thinks she’s the star of the show and is trying to upstage me with her third-rate, beauty-pageant pose. I could do better than that when I was in the second grade. She needs to understand that we’re all prancing around with sparkly clamshells on our clams. She ain’t no Frances Gumm.”

Haroldine Lloyd, left: “Trollop in front of you? Check out this mess over here. Felicia the Farmhand just had a gastronomic event of epic proportions. Apparently, Felicia didn’t get the memo that only the cows should eat that much roughage. My eyes are burning, and there’s nothing worse than wet toots.”

Busterina: “It never ends. Here we are, trussed up like Fifty Shades of Republican Trophy Wives at the National Convention, unable to complain at all or our husbands will move on to the next trophy. And now I have a Chia Pet in my chi-chis. I clearly went to the wrong finishing school.”

Charlette: “I hear ya, girl. We had it all, just like Bogey and Bacall, until we didn’t. They really don’t teach you much at Miss Chatelaine’s Emporium Expounding Chaste Acceptance of High-End Wifely Duties. If only we had schooled somewhere else. Like someplace with books. I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another we could have been messing around instead of instantly betrothing ourselves to someone with a high-yield stock portfolio.”

Haroldine: “Books? You think a book is going to get us out of this mess? I beg to differ. My eyes are still watering over here from the Felicia fumes and we need to take drastic action to get back to where we once belonged. Busterina, you still got that shiv from our stay at the Margaret Thatcher Reformatory Repository for Girls Who Don’t Have Big Enough Hair?”

Busterina: “Indeed, I do. I treasure it always.”

Charlette: “Well, maybe you can use that shiv to trim the breeding grounds on your special parts.”

Haroldine: “No, I have a better idea. When the director isn’t looking, here’s what we do…”

[The narrator pauses the recording, lest we learn more about things we really don’t need to know, should we ever run for political office. Instead of giving his signature sign-off on the broadcast (“And that’s just the way it is, there’s nothing I can do”), he simply turns off the lights in the studio and meanders his way to the Human Resources department down the hallway.]

Theda Bara, former silent-screen star but now reduced to secretarial duties due to the invention of sound in movies: “Oh, hello. How can I help you not want to hurl your outdated ass off the top of the Hollywood sign in a frenzy of misunderstanding about relevancy in modern society?”

The Narrator: “I’m not certain you can help at all, considering your whiff of bitterness. But I’d like to look at my retirement options.”

Theda: “Well, you have two choices. You can either retire now, but the math is against you, and you won’t be able to ever again afford that personal waxing you are so fond of, or you can keep dancing and smiling when somebody more-powerful wants you to do so. Then maybe you can retire comfortably when it takes three digits to write your age.”

The Narrator: “I’m not really fond of those avenues.”

Theda: “I can understand that. Have you ever considered being a trophy wife? I missed that plane when I had the chance, but you’re still young enough that there shouldn’t be any fungus issues. It’s a tricky game, but sometimes you end up being the spouse of an American president.”

The Narrator: “I can’t afford to rule anything out. Do you have a brochure?”

Theda: “Of course I do. But for the record, you didn’t get it from me. None of this ever happened.”

And perhaps, none of it ever did.


Previously published (just the opening paragraph), massively revised and extended. Personal shout-out to MisterMuse, as I think you might appreciate this one. For everyone else, this one is crammed with trivial references, worthy or not, and I hope you enjoyed the one-offs…

30 replies »

    • Yes! I’m a fanatic when it concerns the various flavors that the Kit Kat Klan puts out, so I keep a close eye on the developments. The newest taste sensation is “Key Lime Pie”, and I found it mid-range satisfying. Sometimes the company gets it right, sometimes they don’t. For example, and we’ll stick with pie flavors just to keep things organized: The “Apple Pie” offering was poorly-concocted, in my book, with a hint of maybe-apple but no essence of pie or crust, which is critical. But the “Pumpkin Pie”? Delicious. Sadly, that one only comes out in the Fall and I have been forced to hoard my stash…

      And yes, I possibly have a problem that requires therapy. Then again, when do I not?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Somehow this has totally escaped my attention. I will have to try the Key Lime Pie Kit Kat. As a rule, I tend to avoid all things pumpkin in the fall aside from actual pumpkins (since most “pumpkin-flavored” items are actually seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg, not with pumpkin at all, but that’s beside the point). About the only improvement to Kit Kat that I could have imagined was a dark chocolate covering instead of the traditional milk chocolate. But I guess I would have driven a Model T only if it was black. J.

        Liked by 1 person

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