Stephen unlocked the door to his apartment. Ling Ling burst thru the door ahead of him still full of energy. The girls were all involved with various tasks. Judy was busily scraping that last few grains of a secodnal capusle she had found. Norma was carefully scanning an old yellowed review for anything she might have missed the first millions times she read it. Bette was lying in bed blowing imagianry smokerings muttering how bored she was in this godforsaken town. Marilyn was sitting at the kitchen table staring at a tabloid she had managed to sneak in to the house. Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed Ling Ling, said Stephen. You were a good girl and my hard little worker today. I brush mt teeth ! I brush my teeth hard!! cried Ling Ling. That child is an over adchiever, said Bette staring up at the ceiling . "There is nothing wrong with striving for perfection" , said Joan as she stabbed another peice of what seemed to be raw steak. " There all done," Joan cooed. "What is all done?" Stephen asked" Why I just finished my Christmas cards up to the year 2015. " replied Joan with a smile of satifaction. Is that why the studio had to do so many takes because you were striving for, what did you call it ? Perfection!! Bette taunted from the bedroom. Stephen knew this was a catfight in the making. Let it go Joan, stephen said firmly. I am going to bed anyway I want to get an early start on those kitchen cabinets. They are postively filthy! said Joan. I might as well turn in myself , Nothing ever happens here. Said Bette. Judy piped up I don't think I can sleep tonight . Well go lay down and close your eyes. said Stephen. Why does everyone try to tell me what to do Judy cried as she stomped into the bedroom. Norma was afast asleep. Ling Ling came running out of the bathroom. "I brush my teeth and already for bed," she crowed. Well come over here and give Marilyn and I a big hug , then scoot off to bed.
Alone with Marilyn Stephen pulled a package out of his backpack. I got something for you , he said. It was a 1000 piece puzzle of Marilyn on the postage stamp. Marilyn gave him a weak smile and whispered thank you. I 'll do the border , What part do you want to work on? Stephen asked. I guess I will work on my cleavage. They both giggled at the unintentional joke. Working Stephen asked timidly . Marilyn , what is wrong? you have been acting strange every since we got here. Marilyn looked up with eyes brimming with tears. She pushed the tabloid towards him. The headline read. UNDISCOVERED PHOTOS OF MARILYN In side where early photos of Marilyn takin at some park in Hollywood. Why these are beautiful!! you look so young and happy,cried Stephen. I remember when these were taken. Marilyn said with a wistful lok crossing her face. the phtographer and i were both just starting out in our careers. We spent the entire day in the park talking and taking photos. You know I wanted to be a star so badly. I never reliazed the price at the time. Stephen took Marilyn's hand into his. We never know the cost until its too late. You know I would have been 83 years old in a couple of days? Marilyn unlike the others had never reliazed the full potiental of her career. for all the ups and downs they had had they had all lived fulled lives. You know I did'nt do it Marilyn said softly." It had just gone to far." I never believed you had said Stephen gentley. I am tired I think I will just go to bed now. Sleep well dear and we will talk later.
Stephe sat alone in the kitchen going thru the mail and thinking of all marilyn had said. An envelope fall to the floor. It was typewritten adressed to Stephen with no return address. A cold chill swept over Stephen as he read the contents. It was an old newpaper clipping : BELLYDANCER/STRIPPER/COSTUMEDESIGNER DIES IN MYSERTIOUS FIRE the headline screamed. The article went on about the fire and services for Gladys Hearne marred by some socalled christian protesters who did not want Gladys buried in the local cemetery. But is was the last few lines that caught Stephen's eye and sent the article fluttering to Joan's newly scrubbed floor. Gladys was survied by a 5 year old child that was recused from the burning trailer.
Who sent this article? How did this connect with marilyn's strange behavior. Most important ! Why oh why did Stephen's hips twitch everytime he saw or heard the name Gladys Hearne?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Stephen came out of the shower drying his hair. "Happy Birthday! ,"exclaimed the girls. Ling Ling excitedly pulled him into the kitchen, Look what we did ! Look what we did!!! There on the kitchen table was a pie. A pie? , he said questionly. Yes said Bette I said Bake a cake it's his birthday and you bake cakes on birthday. Waving a nonexstistant cigargette in the air. But no, Joan said she could make a pie. Marilyn broke the tension by singing Happy Birthday in her breathless voice. Norma came out of the bathroom with a towel around her head and several scarfs around her waist and danced the dance of the 7 veils. Judy then jumped up and did Ballin in the Jack. It was one of Stephen's favorite numbers. He even joined in for the final chorus. They all fell on the bed laughing. Bette who could never stand it when they all were getting along sneered, Yes, a pie Joan said she could make a pie. Common that is what she is Common! her voice raising an octave. Our Joan a common baker ! You know she never speaks of her people or where she came from, maybe that that why ... Before she could finish her insult Joan had quickly cross the room and slapped Bette across the face. Ling Ling made a dive for under the table but not before snatching a piece of pie , to nibble on as the drama unfolded. You Bitch! screeched Bette. Or should I say Lucille! Joan countered I told you never to call me by that name! You were born Lucille and you will always be Lucille !! said Bette with a voice full of comtempt. Please both of you stop , pleaded Judy and Marilyn. It is a party and we were having so much fun. Fun ! ?Fun!? In a dump like this! I need to get to Chicago! cried Bette. Stephen having had enough for one morning said , No one is going to Chicago today. I am taking Ling Ling to the theatre and the rest of you are staying here today. As he walked out the door , he turned back one last time and exclaimed ," And try to behave! He did not notice that Marilyn had left the group. But will the girls stay home? Will Bette try to get to Chicago? Will Joan make another pie? Will Norma be content looking thru her scrapebook full of past glories.?Will Judy find a secret stash of pills? What of marilyn ? Why was she acting so strangely?
Monday, June 1, 2009
After the hubbub of getting settled Stephen discovered he had left the Harem dancer patterns in Indy. This meant a shopping spree at the local Walmart. ( it was the only place close that carried fabric and notions). He told the girls this was going to be a quick run in and run out. He located the pattern he needed without any problem collecting the girls was another matter entirely. He found Norma scouting out the movies. There is not a one of my movies in this 3rd rate shop she said with a air of distaste. Great, Stephen said , Then you will have no problem following me to the checkout. As they were looking for an avaiable cashier Stephen asked , Where was the rest of the gang? Oh Bette is over in the liquor department, Joan is looking at cleaning supplies, and Judy ,she said in a lowered voice, is trying to talk the pharmasist into free samples. Marilyn singled to us that she had found a line that was not too long. OOOOh look Janye Mansfield ghost was found living in a silcone implant. She cried with delight!!! Marilyn I have told you to stop reading that trash in the tabloids . It will turn your brain to mush. Reclently she put the rag back on the shelf. The cashier started to ring us up, Oh are you a belly dancer she asked? Joan and Bette put their hands over their mouths to cover the smirk . Norma looked on in horror. . Stephen replied I am a costume designer not some common carnie. The cashier not noticing the insult went on to say how she knew a famous stripper/ bellydancer turned costume designer . She disappeared after a mysterious fire at the carnival were she was performing 45 years ago this summer. Her name was Gladys Hearne. Marilyn let out a small cry and looked faint. Stephen felt the store grow dark and voices seem to come from afar. Then he felt Marilyns arm on his . Let us get out of here now she whispered in her little girl voice. It was odd for marilyn ever to take charge of a situation . However she paid the cashier and ushered us all into the car. She was silent the rest of the car drive home and most of the evening. That night Stephen dreamed strange dreams of belly dancers, carnival music playing crazily in his head and a strange women in a turban and stretch pants leaning over him saying she would always love him . Then shouts of fire, the smell of smoke , people running all around in strange and bizzarre costumes. He awoke with a headache and a strange desire to shimmy shake across the floor. What did it mean ? Who was the woman in the turban? Why was Marilyn acting so strange? Why did he have the feeling he had been in this house before and why oh why was there a jewel in his navel?
Ling Ling said happily , This place big !! Bigger than whole village I come from. Norma said in her haughty tone, Big!!! I was Big!! This place is small. Joan said brightly , Let's scrub the floor!!! Bette looked around around and coolly said, What a dump! Judy somewhat nervous from the journey and low on pills said , Can't we just get back to... the theatre? Marilyn was oddly quite. Stephen took controlof the situation, Listen girls we are in a new place with new people who not know or understand you. We will be here for 3 months and you will behave. Remember what happened in Indy.. Ling Ling wailed, It was not my fault !! That asian baby was in my way...... Stop Stop it !!! Stephen said with his no nonsense tone. The girls knew when he spoke like that playtime was over. Judy said meekly , We were only trying to help. Stephen sighed the sigh of the weary. Ok girls lets get to theatre and see what is in store for us. What indeed ? What of this small town?
The bus came to a halt, the doors opened and Stephen stepped out into the gloomy dusk of Warsaw. Knowing his luggage would arrive later with his equipment he made his way to the theatre office. Opening the stagedoor he was assulted my a smell he knew too well: Greasepaint and sawdust. Well, he thought welcome home. He saw a man... sitting by the door with a chart. He smelled of Southern Comfort and old reviews. You must be the stage manager! He said with a smile, Yeah who are you? I am Stephen R. Hollenbeck , The new costume designer!! Well you're late ! He bawled and most the housing as been assigned. Here is the address , take your baggage there then get your caress back to the theatre. Stephen sighed deeply ,nothing ever changes the theatre he thought . Following the directions the SM had scrawled on a piece of notebook paper he found his new home. It was a smallclapboard house . He was sure it had been some sort of color at one time or another.