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Friday, February 16, 2018

WEP: STARDUST




{988 words|}

The old woman looked at the cup of pills.  "I used to be famous once."

The stone-faced nurse gruffed, "Everyone here used to be famous."

The nurse shook the tiny cup.  "Rita, take your damn pills.  They'll make you think clearer."

Rita pouted, "I don't want to remember.  I want to forget."

Another old woman, her hair so white it looked platinum, kneeled stiffly beside her.

"Honey, I know bad things happened. But I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go; things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right;

you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  

Rita sighed, "Better, Marilyn? Men fell in love with Gilda, but they woke up with me."

The nurse frowned, "We need you to remember where you stashed those millions you got from Aly Khan."

Rita snorted, "You're out of luck, sister. Everyone thinks that because I was married to him, I'm rich. I'm not. I never got a dime from Aly or any of my husbands."

The nurse turned to Marilyn.  "I guess you don't recall what you did with your diary."

The faux platinum hair bobbed once.  "I do.  I burned it."

The nurse said, "That's what I get for being nice to you."

Marilyn smiled sadly, “If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”  

The nurse tugged both women roughly to their feet.  "Then, it's off to the showers for you."

Rita ripped her arm away.  "This isn't Columbia. No one tells me what to do."

Marilyn patted her friend's arm.  "Your bruises still haven't healed from last time."

"You know no one ever comes back from the showers."

Marilyn became all eyes.  "I know.  We didn't have anything when we got here.  Now, we have each other."

Those eyes welled with tears.  "Maybe dying with a sister won't be so bad as dying alone."

Rita whispered, "We all die alone."

Marilyn reached down.  "Not if we hold hands."

The nurse rolled her eyes, pushing them towards the open door.  "Puh-lease!"

Rita squeezed Marilyn's hand.  "You know, dogs never bit me.  Only humans."

She turned.  "Basically, I'm a gentle person.  But I am attracted to mean personalities.  You sure we haven't dated?"

The nurse shoved Rita so hard that she would have fallen if Marilyn hadn't held her upright. 

Rita bunched up her fist.  Marilyn knew it never ended well when her sister punched the staff so she tried to distract her as they walked down the long hallway.


"Orson seemed like such a fun, brilliant man.  Why did you two split up?"

Rita shrugged, "I couldn't take his genius anymore."

With those words, the two elderly friends were at a strange door with sealed hinges.

"Strip!" snapped the nurse.

Marilyn hesitantly did as she was told.  "I never did this for free before."

Rita saw how frightened her friend was.  She nodded to the shriveled husk of the body for which millions once lusted.

"Old age -- that's when a woman takes vitamins A through G and still looks like H."

"Don't whine," said the nurse.  "You had everything."

"No.  I had too much."

Marilyn squeezed Rita's hand.  "Life has so much pain.  Maybe there's value in it."

The nurse opened the metal door with a hiss and shoved the two old women into the dark interior.


"Pray if you believe in that nonsense."
The door shut and sealed behind them.

Marilyn said, "I don't pray,"

She added, "I don't want to bore God."

For the first time, Marilyn didn't care if she bored Him.  'Oh, make it quick!"

The mists were icy.  Rita thought of her sister's prayer,.  "Spin around and breathe it in.  That has to kill us fast.  Don't give that bitch the satisfaction of hearing you cry out."

But except for tingling skin, nothing happened.  The mists thinned, the door opened, and the nurse's jaw dropped.

"Y-You're still alive? Of course, it would work for you two."

It was a quick shove/walk down the hall.  Marilyn and Rita slept in the same cot, holding hands.

Towards midnight, Marilyn whispered, "I think that nurse truly hates us."

The weight of a body pressed down on their cot,  "It's a sign of your worth sometimes, if you're hated by the right people.”  

Rita popped straight up.  "Bette!  You're all ...."
But Bette wasn't all right.  Half her face was young again.  The other was still wrinkled.

Bette sighed, "Not all right.  Guess I shouldn't have turned away from the mist.  Better off than Joan who died of a heart attack."

The old actress shivered.  "As soon as she did, she just mushed into sparkling stardust. It was a poetic end for that dame."

Marilyn took her by the arms.  "We have to get you out of here!"

"Half right.  You have to get out before they start those damn tests.  You must be the right type.  You already look younger."

Rita said, "We won't leave you."

Bette sighed, "Arguing will just cost us precious time.  I made preparations just in case one of their showers worked."

She dangled car keys.  "To Queen Bitch's car.  I even have clothes for the two of you."

Bette smiled wide.  "And I took her money."

Rita frowned, "But where do we go?"

Marilyn smiled wider than Bette.  "To Las Vegas.  They pay star impersonators a fortune."


Headline to VARIETY DAILY:

MARILYN M. AND RITA H. WOWS WITH THEIR STAR IMPERSONATIONS


Headline to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER:

Hal B. Wallis' film, TWO FOR TROUBLE, starring the famous Las Vegas impersonators, sets box office records.


Headline to THE NATIONAL INQUIRER:

Limo for the stars of TWO FOR TROUBLE, found crashed into tree in Las Vegas desert.  No bodies found ... only what appeared to be sparkling stardust on the front seat.

And Rita could dance!

36 comments:

  1. Intriguing, gripping tale, but of course it does raise a few questions...

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    1. The actual flash fiction was longer, but I only had a 1000 words. There's a novel in there. :-)

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  2. Hi Roland - there's definitely a novel in there ... hope you continue to write it. Could reach into many corners of the world ... in too deep = for sure ... well done - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. :-) It's finding the time to do it that is the pinch!

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  3. Definitely the beginnings of a great novel in there Monsieur Roland. Life is very pleasing in looking forward to your life's Labour of love!

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  4. Yes, Roland, intriguing idea. A novel in the making for sure. Love those dames. And you've left us hanging...

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    1. Thanks, Denise. I grew to love Marilyn and Rita as I wrote them. :-)

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  5. Hi,
    I am guessing my comment got lost that I just posted. Anyway, I'll try again. As I read your story, I thought about the concentration camps throughout Europe in World War II. I personally had the chance to visit Dachau. I saw the gas chambers and many pictures of people old and young who were killed. Your story has the making of moving you further in the writing world.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. The concentration camps were horrific in ways that cannot adequately be described. Sigh. Mankind is seldom kind. Thanks for the vote of confidence in the novel my story could become. Now, to find the time to write it, Pat! :-)

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  6. It did bring to mind the concentration camps, but darn, I still want to know if you have a clue to the location of that mist. Great job, and definitely a much longer story! Good luck, and thanks for participating.

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    1. The mists are seldom successful and ... whoa! the testing afterwards. :-)

      America has its own concentration camps. But instead of barbed wire and armed guards there are hundreds of miles of desert surrounding them and the vile prejudice and hostility once you get to "civilization."

      Where are the Delaware, the Mohawk, the Mandans, the Karankawa, and so many others? When it comes to genocide, boy, did the American government pull it off without a single black eye. Sigh.

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  7. Who knows what the government
    does behind close doors.
    Not I said the duck.

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    1. Yes, my trust in the government is a shaky thing!!

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  8. Hahahaha...so well written and laced with good humour, Roland. I can see Marilyn, Bette and Rita in a pub, knocking em' back.

    My fav line: “If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.”
    Hahahahaha.

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    1. Most of the dialogue were direct quotes of the actresses. Stellar women.

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  9. I wish Bette had escaped with Rita and Marilyn. Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe are two greats. Rita Hayworth was very beautiful.

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    1. Actually, in the longer version of this, she did. But being only half successful, it did not end well. :-(

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  10. Such a fascinating tale! This could be an entire novel for sure. I loved it!

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    1. I think I may write it. Thanks, L.G. My flu relapse is slowing my replies down. I apologize.

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  11. I don't know if I would want to be young again. But, to have my youth and body back - its a quandary. I like the idea of turning into star dust though.

    And interesting story with a great beginning.

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    1. I think I would want to be young again if I could keep my mind as is! :-)

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  12. It was funny and quirky and also carrying a message. We are to leave the planet one day but let the hope never be out, right. Well done.

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    1. To go with style and wit is my goal. :-) Thanks for the nice words.

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  13. 'It's a sign of your worth sometimes, if you're hated by the right people.' I loved this line especially among the dialogues. They were all accomplished women.

    This was lighthearted and yet thought provoking flash. It did bring to mind the WWII camps for me too. Very Intriguing, definitely novel material.

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    1. Thank you so much for liking that quote, Nilanjana. It is something I tell myself a lot sometimes. This novel may take some time though! Sorry about my flu relapse slowing my comments. -(

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  14. Sure a story that could go into a novel indeed. That is a neat concept, going young and impersonating one's famous self. Loved the witty banter too.

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    1. I thought it funny and ironic to have them impersonate themselves. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Pat

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  15. I really enjoyed this story. The nostalgia of these great actresses is just one part of it. The connection to the idea of concentration camps was startling, but at least there was a light hearted twist. There is so much potential in this tale. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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    1. Toi, it means so much to me that enjoyed this tale. Thanks to your support and that of others, I may just write this novel. Hate that my flu relapse has slowed me thanking all of you sooner.

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  16. An interesting take on the theme. How beauty, vanity, and fame can lead someone down strange paths.

    from:christopherscottauthor.wordpress.com

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    1. Beauty is, indeed, a curse, but sometimes not in the way you might think, right? :-)

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  17. Loved it, Roland, Bette (Davis, right?) and Rita were favorites of mine, especially Bette, and I always felt that Marilyn was taken advantage of by many. And nasty nurses I saw in person when hubs was in the hospital. The good nurses are in the minority now. Well done.

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    1. Sadly, it DOES seem as if good nurses are in the minority now -- especially in state run hospitals. Great entry on your part, D.G.

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  18. Oooh, really interesting! I love how you wrote this one.
    "“If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty.” " -- I loved that!

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    1. That was an actual quote from Marilyn Monroe. :-)

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