Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometime after Midnight.

Sometime after Midnight.

Sometime after midnight, the dark corner of a cemetery on the outskirts of town. The weather has been somewhat stormy for the last twelve hours. For the moment the rain has let up to a mere drizzle. A black sedan is parked within a grove of trees. Another black town car pulls up. The second car reveals a dark hair woman dressed impeccably. Out of the first car stumbles another woman dressed to the nines, with her blonde hair wrapped in a black scarf. 

Roxy: Alright let’s have it. Where is it?

Imelda: Over there. In the car. It was quite a lonely ride. He’s not much for company.

Roxy: What’s that supposed to mean?

Imelda: HE’S DEAD! Really darling, you can be so incredibly thick sometimes. And Honey, what is this?(Waving hands point at Roxy’s ensemble) This is not discreet. Your black sequin mini dress and hell-heartbreaker heels are not at all appropriate. What the hell is on your head? Looks like an overweight bird shit out chiffon on your hair.

Roxy: Well I’ve never done this before. You said dress appropriately for a cemetery. I’ve only been to funerals and obviously the color of choice is black. The only black thing I had in my wardrobe was this number. My hair is still setting and I didn’t want anyone to see so I wrapped it. Of course in style. They say this new wrap is the rage in Paris. Besides Meldy darling, you’re wearing a skirt and heels.

Imelda: Are you being serious right now? You had time to set your hair. That better not be why I had to pick up the body. And honestly Rox, I’m in a pencil skirt and last seasons throw away pumps. Over the top with the wardrobe dysfunction!

Roxy: Oh Meldy, you know I had to take Mr. Wallace home. Who’s to say I did or didn’t have time to set my hair? Let’s not fight. Thank you for helping me with this. Not to change the subject but let’s have a see at what’s left of him.

The pair walks over toward the car. Imelda checks her hair in the reflection of the window, which at this moment only mirrors a shadow without real definition. Funny thing was, just the shape of her head could give away the slightest indication of a hair out of place. Imelda had an eye for these things. Roxy looking a lot less comfortable in her midnight camouflage walks with her head facing straight down. Wide-eyed she examines her feet as they lift and fall. Without a warning she lets out a little whine. 

Imelda: What is it now? You’re simply one disaster after another tonight.

Roxy: My heels are getting muddy and stick when I walk. (Still facing downward and making an over-obvious movement to lift her heel to walk) I don’t like getting my shoes dirty. What a dreadful man! This is completely his fault. If he wasn’t such a awful person I wouldn’t have had to hit him with that frying pan. And…

IM: And your heels wouldn’t be dirty. Yes, honey. There there. It’s okay. They can’t all be prince charming. Wherever did you find this one? He certainly wasn’t a blue ribbon winner in the looks department.

RX: Oh, I had Phyllis introduce us. You know she has the best connections. According to page 5 if there’s an eligible man in the city worth knowing Phyllis knows him. She said he was a divorcee and looking to settle down again.

Imelda reaches out and grabs Roxy stopping her.

IM: PHYLLIS! How could you let her set you up? This is scandalous Roxy. He still had a wedding ring on. This is it. Your career is over. As soon as the papers get wind of this we are doomed.

RX: Calm down Meldy! I said she introduced us. It was at a party last month. Said he was the next big thing. She was sure of it. His movie was about to win some award on the West Coast. Since I had already been the last big thing and she insisted that we just had to meet. Destiny or something like that.

IM: As long as no one knows about this situation we’re doing fine. Besides what happened? You didn’t give me the specifics of how this Johnny-Come-Lately met his end on your kitchen floor while you ended up with Mr. Wallace.

RX: Meldy. I was double booked tonight. Johnny James Bollery was early. They call him J.J. Bing in the 4-0 club. I like it. J.J. Bing. Like a bell. It’s just the cutest nickname. Anyhow kitten; he was the runner up to my home run tonight. Mr. Wallace is loaded. He can do things for my career that… you can imagine? Knocking a ball like that out of the park would be…

IM: If I had a dollar for every time you’ve overcommitted yourself… So you’re double booked. What else is new? That’s no reason to off the plumber. 

RX: He’s an actor, not a plumber!

Imelda rolls her eyes and resumes walking to the car. Roxy sighs with a bit of frustration and follows.

IM: Still blue collar darling. Next best anything had to start from something. Bygones, sweetie. Proceed… J.J. is early and Wallace is the late shift. What happened with your early bird?

RX: Oh, so Johnny’s come over and I’m still getting ready. ‘Keep em’ waiting’, that’s what my mama always said. Johnny is out in the front making drinks and playing the radio. By the time I get finished, he’s pretty smashed. I don’t think I was that long. Maybe…? He’s says dance with me. I tell him we’re running late for the table. After a few minutes of disagreement I’m stuck dancing with him. Mind you, he can barely stand up. Dancing is more like a bad case of vertigo followed by a…

IM: Ok. He’s drunk. Staggering. How did a frying pan enter the scene?

RX: Well, I managed to break free. Drunks can be so incredibly clingy and inappropriate. He chased me around the room trying to get up my dress for nearly twenty-five minutes. Such a hassle. But I managed to get him settled while I went to the kitchen to regroup. After all that fuss, there was no mistake we’d never make it out of the apartment. There I am standing the kitchen using the stainless steel frying pan my mother sent over to straighten my face. My mother sends over the oddest pieces of cutlery and cooking ware. As if I ever use any of them. Practically speaking. They have the most magnificent reflective surfaces. So there I am smacking my lips together to fix my lipstick. J.J. sneaks up behind me and WHAM! With a reflex I didn’t even think I had, the stainless steel whacks him in the head. There was so much blood. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never seen a dead body. From the way his head was split open, I just knew he had to be dead. No one could survive that kind of damage. Since I was already running behind and Mr. Wallace doesn’t wait for anyone. Rather than be tardy I opted to leave him there and go to dinner. Then I called you from the restaurant,

The pair reaches the car and stops outside.

IM: Roxy. His head wasn’t that bad. And… he wasn’t exactly dead when I got there.
Poor schlump was a dreadful mess. But instead of just laying there he was making a lot of noise.

RX: OH MY! I’m so sorry Mel! What’d you do?

IM: Oh honey, it’s not your fault. I just gave him another whallop with that great big frying pan you left on the floor. That shut him up real quick. I almost felt bad for it. Then I came to my senses. And if that didn’t do it, dragging him down the stairs should have. I must have beaten his head against every step down four flights. 

RX: Then he’s dead. Cause I don’t think I could kill him again. The first time was scary enough.

IM: He’s quite dead and terribly awful just laying in my trunk. I had to use your sheets to wrap him up in.

RX: MELDY! You didn’t! Those were a gift from my mother. She always said I needed better linens.

IM: What else was I supposed to do? I’m pretty sure the trail of blood would have given me away. No one would say a thing about me dragging out the laundry even if it was at this ungodly hour.

Roxy sighs a little whine and pouts

IM: (Pats Roxy on the shoulder) Come on now Roxy. Let’s not fight over this stuff. I hate bickering over nothing. We have more pressing concerns…

Imelda motions to the trunk and hands Roxy the keys. The pair walks to the rear of the car. Carefully Roxy unlocks the trunk and pauses before opening it.

RX: Don’t worry about it, Mel. I would have just ruined the sheets another way. I’m never any good with anything my mother sends over. She expects that these gifts will somehow reinvent me. They never do. I’m never inspired to become anything other than me.

IM: You’re fabulous! Why should you be anything else? You know what? Your hair isn’t so bad, darling. If there weren’t rollers beneath your scarf I would most definitely be stealing your look. Perhaps for Phyll’s next bash. I can’t believe I missed you and Mr. Dead-on-Arrival setting up shop in the corner of the room.

RX: Really you think so? Those shoes are quite spectacular, Meldy. Throw-aways? They have a few more laps left in them. Don’t you think? And… that skirt really slims your waist down.

IM: I know! Don’t you just love Smith’s new line of casual! It makes even us fuller gals look divine. Such a darling! He sent over a few pieces last week. Oh, honey. I’m sorry about your heels. You really should have worn the Christian mules.

RX: That’s funny. I was thinking about wearing the mules. But, you know Tracy? Allen, right? Well last week at an open call she said they made my ankles look pudgy. It’s scientifically proven that when the eye starts at the bottom and reaches the top the initial image is what stays in the mind. Can you imagine that if you started with my fat ankles and then reached my bust? By the end of that journey the illusion of roundness would be planted. Now I can’t have people thinking that I’m round.

IM: Round? (laughsYou couldn’t possibly think…? Oh nevermind. What we need to do, is get AROUND to taking care of this fiasco. Open the trunk.

Roxy lifts the trunk open. Quietly she stands there looking wide eyed and a bit sea sick for nearly five minutes. Her face has taken on an even whiter color than usual. One hand remains on the trunk and the other hangs onto the car for balance.

RX: Mel?

IM: Yeah Rox?

RX: This isn’t him.

IM: What do you mean ‘this isn’t him’? This was the only man laid out in your kitchen. Who else could it be?

RX: I’m telling you it isn’t him. This is…? You know he really looks familiar. Where have I seen that face before? Those funny looking eyes? That chin? Meldy, this isn’t J.J., there’s no mistake bout that. But I think I know this guy. Maybe we met at the supper club? Hmm?

IM: Well he can’t stay in the car! Next time label your dead bodies. Get his feet!

RX: MEL! I know him! He’s the new night doorman at the building. What was he doing in my place? Oh my, that just awful luck.

IM: ROXY! We have bigger problems at the moment. (Lifting the upper portion of the dead man and motioning for Roxy to lift the feet)

RX: Like? (Still oblivious to the situation)

IM: What are we going to do with this body?

Sometime before midnight tonight. Repost. This is the spirit of the last one. Have you ever seen '7-year itch'? That's the idea. Which brings me back to this one. When it was created I'd been reading Truman and Tennessee and watching a whole lotta Marilyn. And it's something light. Anyhow, there is more new...  Enjoy if you've never read it. m. 

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