Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #475

Celeste, left: “I’m really not impressed with how this evening has been going so far.”

Bette, middle: “I hear ya, sister. We haven’t had a fresh cocktail for at least an hour.”

Hugh, right: “Do either of you even realize that we are not on the Upper West Side and therefore we are no longer insulated from the common people? The folks from PETA are going to egg this car any second and if that happens then nobody will be getting any cocktails.”

Celeste: “Why on earth would they do that?”

Bette: “PETA? Wasn’t that the name of my first husband? Or maybe it was Oscar. Making ten movies a year can mess with your head and wear you out, unlike those actresses in the future who can make one movie every decade and still remain at the top of the charts.”

Hugh: “Well, the PETA people aren’t really fond of other people who wear the carcasses of dead animals as fashion accessories.”

Celeste: “That’s just ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with abusing wildlife if it can score you a glossy spread in Vanity Fair. And according to my therapist, I shouldn’t harbor any guilt about taking advantage of the less fortunate as long as it makes me feel pretty.”

Bette: “So that’s why your hairdo looks like roadkill? Some kind of tribute to the animal kingdom?”

Celeste: “I really don’t like your tone.”

Bette: “I really don’t like your hair.”

Hugh: “Ladies, please. We are not going to accomplish anything by turning on one another. If we are going to survive this night, you might have to ditch your Bambi-killing couture.”

Celeste: “I’ll do nothing of the sort. The American Indians wore fur. Why should they get away with it and we can’t?”

Bette: “I sense the direction the writer is going with this piece, so I choose to be noncommittal at this point and hope I still get a Vanity Fair spread.”

Hugh: “There is a huge difference between survival and fashion. Things change, and we should be on the right side of that change.”

Celeste: “You sound like you’ve been reading too many books.”

Bette: “You also sound like you are trying to get your own feature in Vanity Fair. I’m not really happy about that, because there are only so many slots in a monthly magazine. Still, I’m remaining noncommittal until I see where the wind is blowing.”

Hugh: “I sound like someone who is trying to make a point, despite the obvious fact that I am competing against both of your egos and this huge steering wheel which is threatening to steal the scene.”

Celeste: “Wait, an understudy is getting uppity? That sounds like a movie I was in once.”

Bette: “That’s the movie you’re in now, you twit. Although nobody reading this is going to get the subtle reference unless they are ancient and decrepit like we are or they are one of the two young people left on the planet who bothers to watch movies that are black and white.”

Hugh: “I think we are seriously getting away from my underlying message of how we should treat animals with more human decency.”

Celeste: “I think we got away from that a long time ago. At least I did. Then again, I have no soul, and I freely admit it.”

Bette: “Human decency? It’s the humans that are the problem. Maybe we should call it animal decency. They seem to have figured out things better than we have.”

Steering Wheel, quietly whispering into the bug planted under the dashboard: “Unit 54 to home base. Mission accomplished. Sort of. We have one conversion to the cause, one possible conversion, and a Republican. We are now arriving at the 21 Club. Please advise of new directive once subjects have freshly-imbibed and returned to vehicle.” 

Home Base: “Roger, Unit 54. Be advised to continue working on the possible second. Forget about the third one. They haven’t changed their mind about anything since 1892, especially on the Upper West Side. Over and out.”

Previously published, slight changes made.

27 replies »

    • Thank you muchly. For me, dialogue is critical in a story, so it pleases me greatly when folks notice the detail…

      Of course, Bette could read the phonebook with snarky precision, so it wasn’t that hard to channel her innuendos… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve decided that “ancient and decrepit” should be considered a badge of honor, delusional as that may seem. We’ve survived a lot and we’re still here. Good on us, right?

      That snippet of dialogue is one of my favorite exchanges in the whole bit… 😉


  1. I am smiling but also wondering Hugh who? Obviously I missed that movie. Actually I missed most of those old B&W movies unless they had Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Abbott and Costello, Frankenstein or Dracula in them. The middle child never gets to pick the movie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s fair to say that most folks are unfamiliar with Hugh Marlowe. He had a decent career and appeared in several popular movies, but he never managed to break that critical ceiling.

      I’ve always been a fan of B&W movies, even as a young tyke. Of course, no one else in my family had any inclination to enjoy such so I was often vetoed. I usually only got to watch them after everyone else had gone to bed, thus establishing my life-long tendency to be a night owl…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bette looks like a cat who’s swallowed a rotten mouse. On the other hand, that steering wheel looks like it belongs on a boat, but maybe that’s the point. Set Bette adrift in a boat, mouse and all, and let her figure out how to steer. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Serious note from bitchy grumbling old git; Da kids will watch some tired sad Zach on a four inch screen and laugh their asses off, but stick a black and white movie on a sixty inch screen and they shut down… If it don’t got the a Marvel logo on it or stars the Rock in 3D and SuperDuperSound they fall asleep. A generalisation, sure, but what the hell. Frivolous note; Pulling up outside a PETA picket guarantees to get the fur flying.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. There’s a tendency among “the kids these days” to only accept things in a certain, pre-packaged way. If it’s trending on social media, they’ll watch it. If it’s not, they won’t. To be fair, all they’ve ever known is social media as a guidepost for life, taking cues from others as to what is “cool” (anachronistic term, admittedly) and what is not. In OUR youthful days, we often didn’t know squat about what anybody else was doing, so we explored on our own and found the things we liked or didn’t like. We made choices. Now? The choices are made by a rarefied contingent of Influencers who decide, often with one post, the next direction of youth culture. At least until something else starts to trend…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hadn’t thought of it from that perspective. True what you say about the kids only knowing Social Medea. It- Facetwittokagram- is less of a way of individually addressing your POV and more a potential peer-shaming tightening and restricting of your outlook; and what teen doesn’t want /need to be liked by their peers? Old fart again; You wanted to learn something pre-Google, hit the books. It was called a library.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Celeste: Whose hand is that?! Obviously I’m hoping for the hunka hunka driving this heap and not that smug floozy with the bedroom eyes.
    Bette (in thought): Oooo. Creamy thighs! Just so kneadable…
    Hugh: Okay who let the air biscuit fly? You gotta do that, give us some warning. My eyes are stinging so badly now that I’ve almost missed our stop at the 21 Club…
    Bette: Oh NOT THAT! Oh the humanity..
    Steering Wheel: I’m not getting paid for being the straight stick in this mess. I really need to fire my agent! It might be amusing to suddenly seize up and make them all miss the 21 Club. ‘Cept I’m fairly certain that broad in the middle there will implode if she’s not doused with some serious alcohol soon…

    Liked by 1 person

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