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!