Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #136

  Lupe was startled when she learned that the censors objected to her performance in this scene. After all, this was years before that horrid little man, Will Hays, came up with the insipid Production Code that edited anything remotely naughty out of the movies. Interestingly enough, the censors weren’t bothered by the panties with the elegant but still easy-access pull cords, or the brassiere fashioned out of perkily-crocheted doilies. No, they were more concerned about Lupe having strapped a diaphragm to the side of her head for no apparent reason.

Lupe was not impressed by this ruling. She tracked down the censors as they were dining at The Brown Scurvy and confronted them at their table. “First, of all, it’s not a diaphragm. I’m a devout Catholic and it would never cross my mind to own one, let alone parade about with it on my head. Second, who the hell cares if it is a diaphragm? I may not care to use it, but women in this country should be free to choose their own accessories.”

Myron, Censor #1, stopped poking at his Cobb salad and set his fork aside. “This is Hollywood. Hollywood is about perception. And the perception is that it appears to be a diaphragm. Surely you can see the logic, even with all that overdone mascara.”

Lupe: “No, I don’t see the logic. And you still haven’t answered my question. Maybe you didn’t hear it, what with your head in all that sand.”

Enid, Censor #2, shoving her own Cobb salad (hold the bacon) to the side. “Perhaps I can better help you envision the tableau. You’re already prancing about on the set wearing essentially nothing but a tassel and some heating pads. That alone had me incensed, but my male counterparts on this board, bulging with testosterone as they are, convinced me that your lack of attire could be considered an artistic statement. But once we spied the diaphragm, it became clear to even the Neanderthals that this was not artistry but rather a shocking promotion of wanton infidelity, craven lust, willful carnality and the concept that people can just fornicate with complete abandon as long as somebody has a mini-Frisbee in the picnic basket.”

Lupe: “Wow. You got all that from seeing a diaphragm that isn’t really there? Perhaps you can introduce me to your pharmacist.”

Bill, Censor #3, shoving aside his own version of a Cobb salad (a gin and tonic, hold the tonic). “I might have a solution that can solve all of our problems. Well, at least the problems concerning the scene in this movie. Myron and Enid are going to be in therapy until they die, as there’s no way around that.”

Lupe: “Pray tell. You seem to at least have a bit of sanity.”

Bill: “Well, what if we rework the script so that, in the scene just before you frolic with the Frisbee, you just happen to be walking by a pasta factory when it suddenly exploded. That would explain why most of your clothing is missing and you have a wad of ravioli smacked up against your head.”

Lupe: “Apparently I spoke too soon about your sanity. That is never going to work.”

Myron: “Actually, I kind of like it. She’s not dancing for lust, she’s dancing for lasagna.”

Enid: “And it provides a cautionary tale about the dangers of carbohydrates! I love cautionary tales. I’m the woman I am today because my mother scared the hell out of me on a daily basis with her Bible stories and random surprise enemas.”

Lupe: “You poor thing. I could almost feel sorry for you, but no, not really getting there.”

Bill: “So, Lupe, I think this is your best offer if you want to keep the scene in the movie. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices.”

Lupe: “I think I made the sacrifice when I walked into The Brown Scurvy.”

Waiter, nameless because he didn’t have a decent agent, scampering up to the table: “Sorry for the intrusion, but I’m afraid I have to ask all of you to leave the restaurant.”

Enid, indignant, just as she had always been since that first surprise intrusion many years ago: “What on earth for?”

Waiter: “This is Hollywood. Hollywood is about perception. And the perception is that this scene is out of control and we need a rewrite. You all need to go. Except for Lupe. The master chef would like to study her ravioli to see if he can recreate it for a new signature dish which he has temporarily christened La Carbonara Contracepta. Her meal is free, as if we couldn’t discern that by her lack of an outfit. The rest of you will have to pay.”

Myron: “But that’s absurd. You always comp our Cobbs.”

Waiter: “That was ten minutes ago when you were famous and we were desperate for you to give our establishment a shout-out on social media. Since then, our advertising director has decided that censorship is no longer trending and Lupe represents our new branding concept. Now scoot, you hypocrites. Lupe? Please follow me to the private dining room so the master chef can figure out what sauce would go best with your couture.”

Lupe, smiling at the censors: “Well, then. Karma is a bitchy Cobb salad, eh?” 

Previously published as a single paragraph in “Crusty Pie” and a longer version in “Bonnywood Manor”. Revised and extended for this current post.

Later, on the sidewalk outside The Brown Scurvy…

Edna: “I cannot believe we were just treated that way. The nerve of that wretched waiter, telling us what we can and cannot do.”

Bill: “Interesting. Perhaps you’re missing the irony, in that you are a movie censor.”

Myron: “Well, I’m not going to stand for it. I think we should sue, which is what every decent American does when they can’t get their way. Don’t you agree, Edna?”

Edna: “…”

Bill: “Leave her be. She just noticed that fire hydrant over there and she’s having a flashback to her childhood.”

Myron: “I’m not following what you’re saying.”

Bill: “Probably because you instinctively cut out all the critical scenes based on some insipid Old Testament taboo you learned about at Bible Camp when you were ten.”

Myron: “I sense that you are failing in our commitment to protect the morality of this country. I may have to report you to the Regulatory Committee for the Proper Enforcement of Traditional Values.”

Bill: “The Committee? Yet another group of people who think they are the only ones who can decide what is best for everyone else despite their narrow minds. Morality is subjective. And no one has all the answers, least of all people who keep ordering the same thing from the same menu every time.”

Myron: “I don’t understand this change of heart. You used to be the best movie censor out there, insisting on cutting any hint of social deviancy.”

Bill: “Let’s just say that I finally woke up from a long sleep in a bed that I no longer like. Now, you run along and do what you need to do and I’m going to go find another liquid Cobb salad.”

Myron: “So it’s the demon hooch that’s affecting your mind?”

Bill: “No, it was a diaphragm that wasn’t really a diaphragm. And a sudden realization that what’s right for me may not be right for someone else. If only certain people in this country could figure out the same. Cheers.”

Edna, shaking her head and dissipating the flashback trauma: “Where did Bill go? Did I miss anything.”

Myron: “Maybe. I’m still processing.”

And that’s how we get there, folks. One tiny step at a time.

14 replies »

    • I think it’s best that we ignore the cataract. After all, if Trump can ignore the rumors of the Russians having possession of a certain lusty video wherein Trump is involved in cataract kinkiness, then we should probably do the same. There are some images that shouldn’t be released to the world… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! I tried explaining to one and all that the tortellini in my hair was merely explosive fallout, but they didn’t believe me and just assumed I had been trysting with Chef Boyardee…


  1. I’m a little confused… (understatement of the decade) about Enid becoming Edna when we rejoined them outside. Was that an oopsie or a nod to Sybil?

    Contraceptive Facinator aside, I love the message of this story. All the Judgey McJudgeypants need to mind their own business. Hypocrisy is not ironic or cute, and Jesus wouldn’t approve.😉.

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU for noticing that abrupt change, as I was wondering if anyone would catch it. Truth be told, it WAS originally a snafu on my part in the previous version of this story, when I first added that “post-dialogue” section. (I didn’t catch it and nobody said a word.) When I found the discrepancy as I was prepping this new version, I first thought, well, hell, THAT looks real professional. But then I thought, hey, let’s just let this ride and see if anybody notices. I even added MORE dialogue to that section, intentionally using the wrong name. So, it turned into an experiment. A pointless experiment, granted, but at least I had fun with it. And you got the gold star for your careful attention to detail.

      And yes, the message of the story is one I’ve been preaching for decades. Outside of the parent/child dynamic (and even then there can be infractions), no one really has the right to decide what’s best for anyone else. Just let people live and find their own path…


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