Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #409


As Mrs. Shawn rounded the corner into the living room, she finally began to realize that her son might never marry. Still, there was hope.

Mrs. Shawn: “Darling, must you?”

Ted: “Yes, Mother. I must provide an output for my muse.”

Mrs. Shawn: “I’d rather you not be shoving your output, so to speak, against my living room wall. I just had it painted. And I don’t like seeing stains where stains shouldn’t be.”

Ted: “Why do you always assume that I’m going to get things wet?”

Mrs. Shawn: “A life of experience with you, my dear. The damask on the dining-room chairs still hasn’t fully dried out since you surprised us with your interpretation of ‘Swoon Lake’ during afternoon tea last Tuesday.”

Ted: “The crumpets were stale. I had to do something to save the situation.”

Mrs. Shawn: “In the nude?”

Ted: “Apparently you don’t understand muses.”

Mrs. Shawn: “I understand that they cost me a lot of money, what with all those dancing schools that you never manage to attend for longer than two months. Have you ever considered a career that will both support your lifestyle and require that you sport more appropriate attire?”

Ted: “So, now it’s about my couture, is it? I assure you that this is a perfectly respectable ensemble, if you knew anything about art.”

Mrs. Shawn: “I don’t think you’re wearing enough to call it an ensemble. People are going to assume that I ingested startling amounts of peyote during my pregnancy. It’s not a good look, my pet.”

Ted: “Mommy Dearest, we all know it was gin and not peyote. The doctor couldn’t even smoke in the delivery room, what with all the alcohol wafting from your pores. One spark and they could have lost an entire wing of the hospital.”

Mrs. Shawn: “You’re really starting to irritate me now, my little Switched at Birth. Just like that demonstrative strap you have running through your two-moon junction. Are you getting a rash?”

Ted: “I am feeling a little chafed, but mainly because you won’t go away and let me finish choreographing my flourishes.”

Mrs. Shawn: “Fine. But this conversation isn’t over. And I need you to quit humping the wall within the hour. Reverend Slickworth will be joining us for dinner. He wants to discuss my opportunities for charity work at Our Little Chapel of Pretension and Misdirection, and I’m rather him not experience your sordid cabaret before cocktails.”

Ted: “I never cared for that Preacher Man. He smells like the opposite of redemption.”

Mrs. Shawn: “Well, I’m sure he has some thoughts about you as well. No matter. Oh, he’s bringing his son along, so I expect you to engage him in conversation, a discussion that hopefully will not involve your rampant nudity.”

Ted: “His son will be here? I’d best run upstairs and change into something less comfortable.”

Mrs. Shawn, seizing the opportunity to explore her late-night contemplations: “So, are you interested in the son of a preacher man? He’s been here before, you know.”

Ted: “Yes, he was, he was.” (Oh, yes he was.)

Mrs. Shawn, tenderly stepping further out on the branch: “Does this mean that you find him… fetching?”

Ted: “Not at all. But I understand that he knows Dusty Springfield, and he might be able to snag me an autograph.”

Mrs. Shawn sighed and turned to leave the now-stained room, grabbing a bottle of gin on her way out…


Previously published, massively revised and extended. (The original was only the opening line, and I even fiddled with that mess.) And yes, the ending only works if you get the references, but I can guarantee that some of you were humming the song by the end. Even more trivia: The man in the photo is Ted Shawn (in a performance of “Gnossienne”), who was actually one of the forerunners of the modern-dance movement in the very early part of the last century. He had an interesting life, but I still can’t get past that butt strap…

Cheers.


27 replies »

  1. Yep, the twisted balloon dog he has wrapped atop and around his ’60s print boxers is beyond odd. With that headband I can at least see where 1980s Richard Simmons got ideas for keeping his sweaty locks at bay as he had a fit- sorry, worked himself into a frenzy of fitness, and all on glorious VHS!
    Perhaps the excitement of his dancing got the best of Ted, judging by the yellow stain running fluidly and freely down his left leg. Mother will NOT be pleased.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ted or Shawn or whoever could be posing (against a wall that apparently was repainted by someone with poor vision and now it’s got a yellow river *snicker* to add to the non-existent luster – Thanks Obverse for the visual! 😉 ) anyway Ted could be posing for an instructional type poster about why some people shouldn’t attempt bondage or S&M frolics. Some folks (apparently) haven’t got a clue about it. Even if they CAN dance.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Well Mel, it’s still late winter here; so It’s more Frank Zappa’s ‘Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow’ And sadly ‘Yellow River’ is in my mind and in my eyes.’ And that don’t bear thinking about.

        Liked by 2 people

    • When all is said and done, the lasting impression I have with this photo? I will no longer feel awkward about past couture choices in my sordid past. Based on photographic evidence from said past, I clearly didn’t understand what looked good, but I certainly understood that I should never hump a wall whilst sporting circus-based bondage gear.

      And now I understand that I should never hire the contractors who painted Mrs. Shawn’s wall…

      Liked by 1 person

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