Past Imperfect – #472

Joan: “Look, I understand that you are upset, but there is absolutely no reason for you to be shoving your hand anywhere near my bosom. You’re not a casting director.”

Cliff: “No, you don’t understand. I have been in the kitchen all day, sweating my ass off and trying to make the perfect Christmas dinner.”

Joan: “Perhaps I should point out that such imagery does not make anyone want to eat anything that you’ve ever made.”

Cliff: “Stop trying to divert the issue. Do you have any idea how much planning goes into making sure that we have enough food for everyone to eat?”

Joan: “Not really. I’ve never cooked a single thing in my entire life. Except other actresses who wanted the same parts that I did.”

Cliff: “You can’t add new people to the guest list at the last minute. It throws everything off. At the very least, I’ll have to make another batch of scalloped potatoes, and another tub of green bean casserole, and the dessert list is shot to hell. This is an outrage that should not happen in modern society!”

Joan: “I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth, but you appear to be more controlling than I am. Tell me your secret. Is it a vitamin regimen? I must know.”

Cliff: “I don’t know you anymore. Why would you invite two extra people?”

Joan: “Maybe because they’re my children? Well, the two that haven’t written a tell-all book about my lack of parenting skills.”

Cliff: “Your children? We’ve been married for four months now, which is an outstanding accomplishment in Hollywood, and you’ve never mentioned that you’ve given birth.”

Joan: “Well, if we need to get into the fine print, none of my children actually had a staycation in my womb. But a certain blogger in Texas keeps insisting on posting these horrid little stories about how I got all my children during a sale at Macy’s and implying that I only did it for the sake of advancing my career.” [Joan turns toward the camera and winks at the blogger, knowing full well that any publicity is better than no publicity.] “And I just want to prove that I love all my children dearly and they are the foundation of my very soul.”

Cliff: “Oh. I didn’t realize how important this was to you. Okay, I just need to add a few place cards to the table. What are their names?”

Joan: “Um…” 

Cliff: “Seriously? You don’t have an immediate answer for that? You have too many twisted secrets. Is Joan even your real name?”

Joan: “Um…”

Cliff: “That’s it. We’re done. I’m filing for divorce and I’m taking half of everything you own. Including your plastic surgery and one of your eyebrows.”

Joan: “Oh, I have an answer this time. This may startle you as much as it satisfies me to say. We aren’t actually married.”

Cliff: “Of course we’re married. There was a ceremony and we signed paperwork and there was that huge party afterwards with hundreds of guests. And before you try to get tricky with an annulment, don’t forget we consummated our marriage during our honeymoon at that Dude Ranch in Reno. Now that I look back, it was less of a consummation and more about me spelunking in a vast cavern that had seen a lot of tourists, but I got the damn job done.”

Joan: “How quaint of you to assume that you completed your duties. The ceremony was a scene in one of my movies, the paperwork you signed gave up any claim you might have on my earnings and possessions, including the eyebrows, and the party afterwards was merely the annual reunion for those who have spelunked before you and still have a special fondness for my echo chamber. My star might have a little tarnish but it still shines brightly in the eyes of many.” [Joan winks again at the certain blogger in Texas.] “So then, dearest Cliff, which is exactly where you are now standing, what do you suppose your next move might be?”

Cliff: “Um…”

Joan: “Thought so. Now, be a dear and work on those extra place cards. I’ll have my agent send you a text with the actual names you should put on them.”

Greta Garbo, wandering through for no apparent reason: “This is why I don’t care for the invention of spoken dialogue in movies. Things were so much simpler when all I had to do was look pretty whilst some morphine-addicted musician played a wistful melody on his violin in a local movie theater.”

Blogger from Texas: “Girl, I hear ya. Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end, we’d sing and dance, forever and a day.”

Garbo slaps the Blogger. “Did it ever occur to you that sometimes you push the trivia too far?”

Brian: “Um…”

Previously published, over-exuberantly so. (Some long-time Bonnywooders may have noted that I keep changing the mentioned holiday from Christmas to Thanksgiving and back, depending on the then-date of the reshare.) Some changes made this time around, including an extended postscript added just to make sure this questionable gift keeps on giving. Disclaimer: No green bean casseroles were harmed in the making of this production.

A short time later…

Brian: “Wait! I do have an answer. There are some lovely guests at Bonnywood who actually appreciate dated entertainment trivia.”

Tumbleweeds blow through the Echo Chamber. Somewhere in the distance, a lone coyote howls for a better life.

Brian: “Okay, maybe not. “

Gloria Swanson: “Don’t worry about it, love. You’ll get another chance to be a star. You might have to kill a screenwriter and have him float around your pool in an annoying manner for a bit, but it can happen.”

Brian: “Really?”

Gloria: “Um…”

Still later, after the sated and inebriated dinner guests have wandered out the door, including the two offspring with as-yet unconfirmed names. (Brittania? Cargo? Something ship-based, it wasn’t clear.)

Cliff: “Darling, I just received a memo from the director.”

Joan: “Darling, is it? Last I checked in this script, we weren’t really all that fond of one another, what with my minimalist child-rearing skills and your sweaty ass in the kitchen getting dangerously near the whipped potatoes. Those images will die hard, except on certain fetish websites where you have to pay a fee if you want more than just the unsatisfying previews.”

Cliff: “That’s just it. The director wants us to show more love. Especially since our story will be this year’s Christmas post on a certain Texas blogger’s website.” [They both turn to the camera and wink.] “Perhaps we could work on that before the screen fades?”

Joan: “Well, I suppose we should say something vaguely endearing in a yuletide way. You go first. Just don’t make yours better than mine since I have the higher billing in the credits.”

Cliff: “To this day, despite it all, the thing that makes me happiest during the holidays is having my good friends around me. Even if they are far away, they are still with me. I know them and I can feel them and I love them. That’s the best present, ever.”

Joan: “I told you not to-”

Cliff: “Stop. It’s not about you. What is in your heart, right now, when you think of the holidays?”

Joan: “How it used to be, before I was a star. Before I was anything. When there was that other star on the tree that promised I could be something. I didn’t know what that might be, but I hoped it was true. Is that what we’re missing now, the Hope?”

Cliff: “Not now. Not today. Today we hope. We’ll deal with the rest of it tomorrow.”

30 replies »

  1. Happy Christmas, Brian, and thank you for all the support you’ve given my blog. Just one question, though: how the hell did Mary Hopkin get in there? All together now: 🎶 Those were the days, my friend, The Beatles helped no end…🎶

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Clive. I think your blog is terrific, so the support is honest and well-intended. As for Mary Hopkin, well, she can be a bit pushy (just like another certain woman in the Beatles milieu) so I finally relented and gave her a cameo…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your kind words are much appreciated, Brian. Mary was positively reluctant to push herself compared with those others, but she had a lovely voice that would allow her to be forgiven anything 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    • The gravy has, indeed, been lump-less. And I raised a glass to you as well, although I spilled part of it. (Naturally, I immediately topped things off and made another, more-controlled tribute.) Perhaps I was affected by the heat. Not to rub it in, but it was 82 degrees here in Dallas, today. There’s nothing quite like having to kick off the air conditioner on December 25th. But climate change isn’t real, doncha know…

      Merry Christmas, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A very Merry and Peaceful, no Joans need apply. (Cliff showed admirable control in not knocking that old bag over the moon). A vast cavern, where in the unlucky spelunker might get lost unless they had the foresight to tie a 2×4 with sturdy cable to their leg so they can always find their way home again. As we all (secretly or not) wish to do. No faded from view movie stars were harmed in this comment. And to all a good night! 🎅🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, one has to question why Cliff was involved with The Bag in the first place. He must have known about the cavernous angle, intel that was easily available from the vast array of previous spelunkers slinking about Hollywood at the time. Then again, he’s a man, and you can’t teach them a dang thing. They have to learn it on their own, and even then they never take adequate notes and they still fail the test the next time around.

      Meanwhile, Tossed Aside 2X4 in the Prop Room: “You won’t believe the things I’ve seen…”


  3. I hope Santa brought you something good, and the hangover is mild or non-existent.🤞

    All the Casa Cuckoo plans changed approximately every 5 minutes, Santa still managed to bring magic to one 13 year old boy, so it was worth the stress😉

    Texas seems to have our SoCal weather, and I’d like it back please. My fingers and toes have been numb for days 🥶

    Liked by 2 people

    • No hangover, glad to report. Just lots of quiet and reflection, as I spent the weekend alone, and I rather enjoyed it. Don’t feel blue about the “alone” part. With our extended circles of family and friends, and the constant changing of schedules and destinations (and Dang Covid), it just worked out that there was a gap wherein I manned the Manor whilst Partner was in Houston. But there was lots of revelry, otherwise, just not on the typical dates. And really isn’t that how we should do it? Love when you can, not just when you should….

      Good to hear that King Ben was sprinkled in magic.

      But I think we’ll keep the weather, if you don’t mind. Ben can warm you with some of his leftover sprinkles.

      Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Spelunk is a real word. How interesting. I just googled. “I’ve never cooked a single thing in my entire life. Except other actresses who wanted the same parts that I did.” Haha. You just lend new meanings to my concept of cooking, which can be utilized to advance one’s career in many different ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know you can depend on me for interesting words and my admittedly-questionable definitions and usage of such. I love words. I also love twisting them just a tiny bit. If we can’t have fun with things here and there, then we’re doing something wrong.

      I’m not sure of the holidays you celebrate, but I do hope you’re doing well and that you are as constantly satisfied with the joys of life as I am…


  5. It doesn’t feel much like Christmas when the days are more like Spring. It was close to eighty here and supposed to be warm most of the upcoming week. I’m not complaining mind you, I prefer the warm. I do hope your Christmas was amazing. and yes, for the rest, we’ll worry about that tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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