Archive | October 2012

An excerpt from “Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame”

This is an excerpt from “Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame,” published last month by Pantheon Books and written by Ty Burr.  It’s an interesting read about dead stars and just how long their star will shine.  Enjoy!!

 

~~~~~~Whenever I visit Los Angeles, I make a point of dropping into Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, just to see how everyone’s doing. It’s tucked behind Wilshire Boulevard three-quarters of the way along that street’s long march from downtown LA to the sea, a pocket-size burial ground in a lot that could be the footprint of a good-size office building. The place doesn’t announce itself as does, say, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, 7½ miles to the northeast. Grauman’s has the handprints and footprints of the stars preserved in concrete — proof they once walked among us. Westwood Village just has the bones, remnants of people who have stopped being stars. I visit anyway, as do others. At any given time, there are four or five of us silently walking around.

Marilyn Monroe

Decades after Marilyn Monroe’s death, admirers of the late actress still leave flowers at Crypt 24 of Westwood Village’s Corridor of Memories.

Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are both here, though not bickering side by side as the 10 movies in which they costarred would make one hope. Lemmon lies near his great director Billy Wilder, though, and right next to Carroll O’Connor, whose TV character, bigoted Archie Bunker, lives on even as the politically left-wing actor who portrayed him molders. Pop Caruso Roy Orbison is buried here, close to the unmarked grave of rock polymath Frank Zappa. Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck lies too far from Natalie Wood to make a pass.

Decades after Marilyn Monroe’s death, admirers of the late actress still leave flowers at Crypt 24 of Westwood Village’s Corridor of Memories.

The cemetery, in fact, represents a final collapsing of the hierarchy of fame, with murdered actress-model Dorothy Stratten buried near Beach Boy Carl Wilson, whose remains are near strapping movie idol Burt Lancaster, who’s not far from tart character actress Eve Arden, who’s catty-corner from historians Will and Ariel Durant. In a corner by the entrance, maverick actor-director John Cassavetes, author Truman Capote, chicken-necked comedian Don Knotts, industrialist Armand Hammer, “Green Acres” star Eva Gabor, child actress Heather “They’re heeere” O’Rourke, and singer Mel “the Velvet Fog” Torme all cluster together, as if they were comparing notes during a coffee break from celebrity.

No, that’s a pointless metaphor. They’re just dead. So is Marilyn Monroe, who’s in Crypt 24 in the Corridor of Memories, second vault up in the corner of a wall of interment slots in the northeast section. When her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio was alive, he arranged for flowers to be delivered weekly to the gravesite, and every time I come to Westwood Memorial there are fresh roses left by one admirer or another. Monroe’s death and the industry surrounding it spill over to the Internet: Her page on the “Find a Grave” website has 14,000 digital “flowers” and notes posted by fans. By contrast, the Durants have a combined 78. Unlike Marilyn, they never let the wind from a subway grating blow their skirts up, or maybe slept with a president, or died young and beautiful, which is the only way to ensure that fame lasts forever, or what we want to believe is forever.

Star death represents a functional paradox. It immortalizes figures we have already assumed are bigger than life, and it does so by proving without a shred of doubt that the people in question are, in fact, mortal. But isn’t that how it should work in the metaphysics of fame, since the human being, the thing that can die, is always secondary to the image he or she projects? When the persona is what we cling to, the person who created it becomes dispensable.

This is especially true for stars who have naturally aged past their most potent popular image — who have, in essence, retired behind the public scrim of themselves. When James Stewart died in 1997, at 89, or Katharine Hepburn in 2003, at 96, the mourning was genteel and accompanied by clips from “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “Adam’s Rib,” freezing the icons at their peak moment of accessibility. The obituaries and public conversations surrounding timely movie star deaths work as summings-up, final assessments of worth before the dirt hits the cultural coffin lid.

Stars who outlive their glamour but are still working when disease or accident or a bad heart takes them off prompt a different sort of public mourning, one that acknowledges the whims and cruelties of fate. A long battle with cancer — Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Zappa, Dennis Hopper — gilds a persona with the tragic nobility of suffering and the honor of fighting a good fight. Conversely, what the British so piquantly call “death by misadventure” can taint a star’s image in perpetuity. William Holden drunkenly hitting his head on a coffee table and bleeding to death, David Carradine dying in a Bangkok hotel closet of autoerotic asphyxiation, 1960s sitcom star Bob Crane murdered in mysterious sexual circumstances, Sam Cooke shot dead with no pants on by a motel manager, and so on up the chain of escalating misfortune — these deaths alter who we think these stars are by introducing a note of unfiltered reality, the secret no one really wanted to know. Because they couldn’t control that secret, the stars’ images are subsequently revised to include personal weakness, but in truth we downgrade them for letting the mask slip and giving the game away — by reminding us they’re flawed and human. Crane’s redefining was so drastic that in death he became an altogether different kind of star, one doomed by his sex addiction, and so served as a cautionary tale in the 2002 biopic “Auto Focus.”

The dead stars who matter most, of course, are the interrupted. Those who die in youth by their own devices or at the hand of cruel, uncaring fate we solemnize only in hindsight. James Dean racing his career into a head-on collision at 24. Rudolph Valentino succumbing at 31 to appendicitis and gastric ulcers and peritonitis and an infected lung, the public mania around his funeral attempting to make up for the dull medical catastrophe of his death. Marilyn Monroe, at 36, ending her love-hate relationship with fame by swallowing pills — or was it murder, and was it the CIA?

Star death saves careers by immobilizing them, preventing an actor from aging out of his or her primary persona. Whether or not they would have moved on to more interesting work once they were free of bondage to our expectations becomes a moot point. If Dean had lived, would he have kept following Marlon Brando into self-pity and bloat? Or would he still be lithe and crazy and creative — just an older version, without the dreams of millions of kids propping him up? Would the drugs have gotten him as they did his “Rebel Without a Cause” costar Hopper, and would he have come out the other side? Would he be a grand old man of indie movies or just another “Celebrity Apprentice”? It’s immaterial. Death spared Dean the “problem” of turning ordinary, froze the persona in mid-stride, and gave us someone to worship forever.

What would Monroe have made of the cultural and cinematic freedoms of the late 1960s? Would she have flowered or fled? One can see her working happily with the Scorseses and Coppolas of the New Hollywood, and one can just as easily imagine her holed up out of sight like a latter-day Mary Pickford.

One thing is certain: Marilyn’s role as the premiere Dead Star of the 20th century made her more commercially and culturally successful than ever. In life, she was mocked: Journalists looked down on her, women sharpened their claws, men leered. Death not only ennobled Monroe but also exposed and codified the culture’s mistake in not seeing the sensitive, unhappy woman behind the pneumatic facade. The current pop attitude is that we all wronged her by perceiving her wrongly, so it is up to us to atone for our sin by renting her movies and growing misty when Elton John sings “Candle in the Wind” (so powerful a work of public keening that it was later retooled for Princess Diana). If you direct your Web browser to MarilynMonroe.com, you will find that it is the site of the late actress’s licensing resource center. In 2004, according to Forbes magazine, Monroe’s estate made $8 million.

Which, honestly, is a pittance compared to what a dead star can earn. Per Forbes, the Elvis Presley estate made $55 million in 2009; during the same period, the still-living Britney Spears made only $35 million. And when a star’s death hits every major cultural pressure point on the spectrum, the response can be as profitable as it is emotional. Michael Jackson made $90 million in the four months following his death, in June 2009. Early the following year, Sony paid the singer’s estate $250 million for the right to distribute his music until 2017, the highest contracted amount in history for a single artist, alive or dead.

Ironically, Jackson had spent the better part of the previous decade plagued by financial problems, but he had settled his debts and was gearing up for a concert tour that had already broken sales records. After 2½ decades of ongoing public eccentricity, Jackson seemed poised for a grand reinvention — a major comeback and full-scale reassessment of his cultural worth.

Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles is the final resting place for a host of movie, music, and literary stars.

Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles is the final resting place for a host of movie, music, and literary stars.

Instead, he died. His personal physician gave the singer the wrong cocktail of medications, Jackson had a heart attack, and he died. Because his passing combined more than the usual number of prerequisites necessary for a major pop event, what ensued was amplified beyond any previous scale. For one thing, the singer’s death almost literally ground the Internet to a halt. Twitter and Wikipedia both crashed. Google executives were convinced that the tidal wave of searches under Jackson’s name meant the site was under attack. Gossip sites like TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com went dark, their servers overwhelmed; mainstream news websites slowed to a crawl under the traffic. Presidents of countries around the world released statements of national mourning. The memorial service at LA’s Staples Center a week after Jackson’s death was broadcast live and watched by an estimated global audience of 1 billion.

Here’s a heretical question: why? Who or what are we grieving for when a famous person dies? Why did people who a day earlier would have been making Michael Jackson pedophilia jokes suddenly listen to “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” with tears of nostalgia?

A number of reasons present themselves. A star’s death allows us to gather communally around his or her best moments and around what those moments mean to us, as a culture and as people. It lets us create a final narrative of his or her life in which the suspense of not knowing what’s coming next — comeback or nosedive — is resolved. We like emotional catharsis and don’t much care where it comes from. Or we’re mourning a part of ourselves that once believed in the innocence of a pop song or a movie — their power to elevate and define our lives.

When we grieve for dead stars, we’re doing it for us more than for them. As a public and as individuals, we engage in a complicated process in which persona is reinvented one final time, without the star’s consent but with several factors crucial to sustaining it (and us) over the long haul: narrative closure, assigned meaning, a tragic dimension, the self-flagellation of the audience. All the resentful ill will that surrounded dead stars while they lived — and sneers had been directed at Jackson, Monroe, John Lennon, and the rest for various perceived sins against their paying customers — dissolves in a bath of sentiment and licensed consumerism.

Is it possible to genuinely mourn a person we never personally knew? Of course not. But it’s possible to feel good about feeling sad, and to use a star’s death as a way to remind ourselves we’re still alive. In public mourning and remembrance, there is always the power of the survivor, whether it’s expressed by watching with the rest of the planet as a pop singer is laid to rest, by signing a digital memory book on a website, or by walking through a quiet Hollywood cemetery while the star factory hums on in office buildings and bungalows a few blocks away. We’re still here. The gods lost. We won.~~~~~~

 

Interesting, isn’t it?  We found it so.  We would love to hear your comments and start a conversation.

 

Blessings to you all!

K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns

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Website: http://www.whatsheknew.com

FBI files link Kennedy to Monroe death

Wow! It never ceases to amaze us what a person can dig up!!  This story starts back in 2007 with Phillipe Mora wanting to do a film about the 1960’s and the end of innocence for America.  What he uncovers has the FBI and other Government officials scrambling for cover.  Mora states that in the West Hollywood Library, while doing internet research of the 60’s, he lands in the Freedom of Information Act section of the FBI files.  He stumbles across the Marilyn Monroe FBI file on her and what he reads literally sets his world on fire.

While perusing the site, Mr. Mora see’s a list of stars names and Marilyn Monroe instantly catches his eye.  After all, she was certainly one of the tragic iconic figures of the 1960’s.  A file named “Robert Kennedy” was inside her file which stated that he had been in her house the morning of her death; that he had then flown to San Francisco and called Peter Lawford and asked, ”Is she dead yet?”

Mr. Mora states that this file was initialed by various high up FBI executives, close to Hoover, and had been opened a few times according to the dates on the file – and was now released.  The file was sordid, horrible and frightening.  Mr. Mora did think that this could either have been a fake planted by Kennedy haters or it was indeed startling history. Either way, the question still remained ‘why was it buried?’  He noticed that various parts were blacked out.  The information contained within still to incriminating for them to be seen in their entirety.

Mora emailed his editor, Paola Totaro in Sydney, a prominent journalist (who later became Vice President, Foreign Press Association in London) attaching the files for her to read.  After some moments, she emailed and said this is front-page stuff, legally cleared, etc. – go and write about it.

Sydney is 17 hours ahead of L.A.  The story appeared on the Sydney Morning Herald’s March 17, 2007 front page: FBI files link Kennedy to Monroe death. Saturday early morning in L.A.  Mora’s phone was ringing off the hook.  He was now being asked to appear on CNN, Fox, ABC, etc. in the US and every major paper from London, to Moscow, to Germany ran it as well.  According to an executive at ABC, pressure was on to stop the story in the U.S, but internationally and on the net, the story was well and truly out.

For us, this is another piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle of the conspiracy/mystery of the 1960’s.  Marilyn Monroe, John F Kennedy, Mary Pinchot, Robert Kennedy are just a few of the staring characters in the world of cover-ups.  The FBI, Secret Service, and CIA all have secrets.  Some are for the good of mankind and some are for the good of one man.  Either way, a curious public will continue to search, ask and seek out the truth.  Whether we will ever find the truth is another matter.

Pamela and Philippe Mora in their West Hollywood apartment
(which, BTW, was once rented by Cary Grant).
Photo by WeHo News.

In Philippe Mora’s own words:

“It quickly became apparent to me that the murder of JFK really started that part of the sixties associated with total loss of faith in the establishment.

If JFK could be murdered in that fashion then the powers that be had failed. It was the end of innocence.

I sought and got permission from the Zapruder family to use the famous film. I found a reverse angle on the assassination and saw a moving object on top of a vehicle on the grassy knoll that could have been a person.

The rough-cut was screened for producer David Puttnam, executives at Casablanca Filmworks and Columbia Pictures including Bill Tennant, Columbia boss Dan Melnick and an incoming boss at Columbia who was replacing Melnick.

The film began with great color home movies of JFK, Jackie and family in a montage with Richard Burton singing “Camelot.” It was simple and effective.

Then the deluge of assassinations and chaos, Vietnam, psychedelics, cultural and political trauma.

Shortly after screening the producer David Puttnam and I were locked out of our office and cutting room respectively and the film completely stopped.

I am no stranger to controversy but looking back I sense that Marilyn’s story is still highly charged.

As the Monroe files story expanded across the media clearly public interest in her remains undiminished after over half a century. The questions still remain.

The saga continues. As recently as August 2 this year, the Associated Press and then international papers reported that some FBI files on Monroe had gone missing.”  ~~ Mr. Mora believes that these are the very files he had seen and emailed to his editor.

See a comic book treatment of Mora’s story below.

This is why I (T.L.) LOVE research!!  This is exactly the kind of information I have found while doing the research for our book “What She Knew.”  We will always believe that Marilyn Monroe knew too much and that it was ‘what she knew’ that got her killed.

Blessings,

K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns

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The Week Before Her Death

Marilyn Monroe was excited the weekend of July 28th 1962. She had just re-negotiated a deal with 20th Century Fox to resume filming of “Something’s Got To Give.”  And, not only for her starring role back, but for a nice pay increase as well.  Not too many can say that after being fired, they not only got their job back but for more money too!  But, that’s the kind of power Marilyn really had.  They knew she was a sure success at the box office, and it didn’t hurt that her costar Dean Martin wouldn’t go on with the film without her.

There are many innuendoes in regards to this last weekend before her death, but the most popular synopsis goes like this:

‘Marilyn arrived for her last weekend with Frank Sinatra looking every inch Hollywood’s hottest screen siren.

Dressed in a tight-fitting green skirt and shirt, and a matching scarf with her signature black sunglasses, she didn’t appear to have a worry in the world.

But 24 hours later, the broken star fled home to Los Angeles after a scandalous stay in Lake Tahoe, NV. A weekend that was tainted with rumors of sex parties, Mafia blackmail threats and a drugged-out confrontation with Ol’ Blue Eyes.

Six days later, she’d be dead.’

For us, as we were researching about Marilyn’s life, this account has a ring of truth in it.  With all of her struggles, her triumphs, her moods, and most of all, her want to be loved, this last weekend is truly a pivoting point in what was to take place a week later.  You see, Marilyn was not a woman to be snubbed.  She understood the give and take of life and relationships, but to be permanently told ‘you will not’ was the one thing she would not tolerate.  We found this evident throughout all of our research of this fascinating woman.

So it follows naturally this train of thought: For all she knew, for all she was privy too, you can’t help but to wonder did she know too much?  Was she indeed a threat to someone or even to more than one someone?  Did she dig her heals in a bit too hard for someone’s comfort level?  Did she really hold the key that made her threat to go public worth killing her for?

As you ponder these questions we humbly submit our interpretation of what might have really happened that fateful weekend. What follows here, is the first chapter of book one in our What She Knew series.  Enjoy!!

eChapter 1f

 

 

July 28, 1962

 

        Marilyn sauntered over to her lover, current president John F. Kennedy and rubbed her leg invitingly against him.  “Are you enjoying the party?” she whispered, giving his ear a caressing lick.

        “Mmm hmm.” He mumbled, encircling her waist with one arm and pulling her into his lap.

        “Let’s go for a walk, Lover, just you and me.” She kissed him long and deep, leaving the heady flavor of her martini tingling on his lips.

        “Yea, let’s,” he ran his hand up the side of her thigh before he allowed her to stand up.  They linked hands and walked out of the lodge together.

        Frank stood behind the bar with a frown on his face, “We’re supposed to get those two apart not encourage them to spend more time together. Joe told us to split them up regardless of the cost.”  He passed the drink he’d just made across the counter top.

        “Well, I’m doing the best I can.  Short of drugging her I can’t think of anything to cool them down.” Sam took a sip of his vodka and tonic, “Mmm, Mr. S you certainly know how to mix a drink.”

        “So drug her already.  Maybe get her in some damning photos, like nude and spread out on the bed with someone else.  Hell, I don’t care just get the job done.” Frank took a drink, “I’ve got some dope in this drawer; just pour it into her martini the next time you make her one.  You’re smart – handle it.”

        “You got it, boss.”  Sam lifted his glass in a toast and drank it in one long gulp.

        “You heard from Hoffa lately?”  Frank asked, changing the subject.

        “Yea, he’s working on the deal.  I don’t think he’s making any progress and he may need the screws put to him.  I’ll give him some more time but we’ve got a deadline to meet if we’re gonna succeed.”

        “Sam, my man, you know what to do to make things happen the way they should.” Frank poured himself another slug and rubbed his forehead, “I need you to make this problem disappear so the president remains clean.”

        “I know.  It’ll happen, one way or another.”

        “Good.  You know what it means if you fail.” Frank made a slicing motion across his throat with the tip of his index finger, “Curtains for you.”

        Sam shook his head, “I won’t fail, boss, you can count on me.”

        Sultry laughter floated in from outside announcing that Marilyn and Jack had returned from their brief walk.

        Frank nodded to Sam.  Sam got up and walked toward the door calling out, “Anybody want another drink?”

        “I’ll take one,” Marilyn came in the door, her dress partly unzipped exposing her lacy bra covered breast.

        Jack smiled as he viewed her in the lamplight, he playfully covered her boob with one large hand, “Yea make me one too, Sam.”  Then turned her in his arms and kissed her for a long moment.

        “You got it!”  Sam quickly rounded the bar and began mixing the martini’s, with one deft movement he placed the dope in the drink he planned to give Marilyn and added an extra olive.

        “Here ya go, you crazy kids.  He held out the drinks and waited for the couple to walk over to him.  “Here you go, honey, I know how you like an extra.”

        “Thanks, Sammy you’re such a nice mob king.”  Marilyn licked the rim of her glass before touching it to her lips.

        “And you’re such a tease.”  Sam smiled then turned to hand Jack his glass.  “Mr. President, dry just like you like it.”

        “You’ve certainly set out to please us Sammy, what gives?”  Marilyn asked as she downed her drink.

        “I know who really runs things and just like to make certain I’m on their good side.”  He winked at her, shrugged and turned back to the mini fridge in the corner of the bar.

        Frank, who had been sitting quietly on a bar stool, stood up, “Marilyn I need to talk to you.”

        “Not now, Frankie, I’m having a wonderful time with Lover here.”

        “I really need to talk to you, he won’t mind waiting a few more minutes for your favors.” Frank grabbed her upper arm and pulled her out of the room.

        “But, you can’t do this to me, you’re my friend and you’re helping us be together.”  Marilyn protested, digging her heals in the carpet.  “You know I love Jack, why are you being so cruel?”

        Frank continued to drag her out of the room, “I’ll bring her right back to you, I promise John.”

        “You better.”  The president settled himself on a bar stool.

        Once they were out of earshot of the others, Frank sat her down on a sofa in the living area of the lodge, “Okay, here’s the problem. I’ve got to relay a message to you from Joe.  He wants to make sure you don’t ruin his son with what you know.”

        “Why would I want to hurt the man I love?  That’s silly. I’ll never do anything to harm Jack.”  Marilyn pouted up at Frank.

        “I have to have your sworn oath that you’ll keep his secrets and take them to your grave.  He wants your silence no matter what it takes, if you get the meaning.”

        “Frank Sinatra, are you threatening me?  It wasn’t me that spread our relationship around Hollywood.  I never divulge my affairs.”   Marilyn tried to stand but he pushed her back onto the couch.

        “Don’t be such a pussy, this is merely business and I have to have more than just you’re reassurance. Give me the letter and I’ll know you’ll stand by your word.”

        “How dare you!  I know that I’m a bitch and no one loves me but Jack so why would I ever hurt him?”  This time she managed to get to her feet and she sent a resounding slap across his face.  “Don’t you dare threaten me.  You don’t have the power to stop me from loving Jack. If you want silence you should talk to the reporters that hang around me night and day.”

        Marilyn stormed back into the barroom.  Jack stood up as she stomped toward him, “Let’s go up to my room, Lover, and have some fun.”

        Jack looked from Marilyn to Frank, then back again.         “What happened, honey?”

        “Nothing, nothing at all.”

        “Then why does Frank have your handprint on his cheek?”  Jack pointed at the red splotch.

        “He got a little fresh and I reminded him that he was over and you were my man.  Come on upstairs with me.”  Marilyn tugged on his arm and he turned to follow her without another word.

 

        Saturday morning brought the couple down the stairs together, holding hands and whispering.

        Frank watched for a moment then went in search of Sam.  “Did you get any pictures?”

        “How could I?  He never left her room.  I stayed posted outside on the staircase all night and had to run down this morning when I heard her open the door.”

        “This is getting us nowhere.  I must be a little less subtle.”  Frank frowned as he watched them enter the dining area arm in arm.

        “Devise a way to distract the president while I have some time with her.”  Frank ordered as he walked toward the breakfast buffet.

        “Yes sir, boss.  Do you want that to happen before or after breakfast?”

        “After.”  Frank walked into the room with open hostility.  “Marilyn, you’re not looking you’re best this morning.  Rough night?”

        “Nope, I slept like I’d been drugged.  I’m still feeling a little woozy this morning, guess I had too much to drink.  What do you think, Jacky pooh?”  Marilyn twirled her fingers in his hair.

        “Perhaps we both had too much.”  Jack linked his fingers through hers and pulled their hands out of his hair.

        “You’re so wise, Jack.  I guess that’s why you’re the president.”  Marilyn giggled. 

        “And you’re so beautiful and sexy.  I guess that’s why you’re the sex goddess.”  Jack leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

        “That’s enough you two; some of us are trying to eat without throwing up.”  Frank made a gagging noise.

        “Well, really Frank I had no idea you were that jealous of Jacky pooh.”  Marilyn sent a venomous smile at him.

        “Oh, I’m jealous all right.  I know how luscious that body of yours is.  You’re one lucky man, John.  I wish she would’ve loved me like she does you.  She can give a man pleasure like no other woman on earth.  What I’d give for just one more bl…”

        “That’s enough, Frank, you’re embarrassing Jack here.”  Marilyn shot him a warning look.

        “I doubt that, we all know that you’d do just about anything or anyone to get your way.”  Frank took a bite of his boiled egg.

        “That may be true, but at least a man always knows where he stands with me, unlike you and your goons.”  Marilyn shot back, anger making her face turn red.

        Jack sat at the table and let the two go at it.  He’d been around them enough to think this was one of their playful tiffs.  He was also a skillful politician and fully believed in letting them fight it out as long as it wasn’t physical.

        “What do you mean by that?”  Frank raged as he stood up, forcing his chair to the floor with a loud thud.

        “I mean that you may seem like you’re a friend but the minute you’re crossed they just fall off the face of the earth.  You’re sneaky and underhanded.”  Marilyn had pushed her chair behind her with the back of her foot as she stood up.

        The two stood facing each other with red faces and clenched fists.  After a moment Frank laughed.  He laughed, a harsh cruel sound emitting from deep in his throat.  “I guess you’d be about the only one to understand me because each of us in our own way maims and destroys those we’re close too.  The only difference is that I’m not a two-bit bleached blond whore.”

        Marilyn stormed from the room screaming, throwing plates off the table as she passed them.  Glass shattered all around her as the tears blurred her vision.  She stumbled out of the house and slammed the door so hard it nearly broke off its hinges.

        Jack stood up, “You’ve gone too far this time Frank.  We’ll be leaving now.”

        “John, it was a silly joke that went too far.  I’ll let her calm down and apologize. You don’t want your weekend with her to end so early do you?  Why, you’ve only had one night.”

        “If you can make it up to her we’ll stay otherwise we’re out of here.”  Jack left the room in search of Marilyn.

        Sam had sat in stunned silence throughout the entire exchange.  He stood up without a word and walked out of the room.

 

        A few hours later, Frank still hadn’t found Marilyn or Jack.  As he made his way back to the living room the doorbell rang.  He opened the door to find Joe DiMaggio standing there, madder than the devil if hell were freezing over.

        DiMaggio stalked into the room, “Get Sam and let’s all have a nice little talk.  NOW.”

        Frank, who was several inches shorter and many pounds lighter nodded and rushed out of the room.

        He was only gone a few moments when he returned with Sam trailing behind him.  “Why are you here?”

        “I received a very distressing phone call from Marilyn and have come to make certain that she’s all right.”  Joe glared at the two men.

        “She’s fine.  We just had a little misunderstanding.”  Frank sat rather suddenly on the couch.

        “She’d better be fine.  Where is she?”  DiMaggio demanded.

        Sam looked at Frank and then turned to their unwanted guest, “She’s with Jack at the moment.”

        “Really?  I certainly hope so.  Where are they – exactly?”

        “They went out for a drive.”  Frank supplied.

        “I’ll wait.”  DiMaggio perched himself on the back of the couch.

        Sam asked, “Would you like a drink?”

        “At this hour?  No thanks.”  DiMaggio shook his head.

        “If you’ll excuse me,” Frank stood up, “I’ve got things to attend to.”

        “Certainly. . . just as long as you’re near when they return. I didn’t drive all the way out here to have you disappear if something is wrong.”

        “What did she tell you?”

        “That she was pretty sure someone had drugged her drink last night and that you insulted her.  She’s very afraid for her life and it would seem that you’re the cause of it.”  DiMaggio stood up, walked around the couch and sat down to wait.

        “I’d never hurt her.”

        “Maybe not directly, but you do have a reputation.”

        Frank opened his mouth but shut it again.  He walked into the barroom and poured himself a large vodka as Sam sat on a bar stool. 

        “Well, this should be interesting.”

        “Yeah, especially if she told him the whole truth.  How can we shut up both of them without drawing suspicion on ourselves.”

        “Car accident.  It’ll be tragic but. . .”

        Sam shook his head, “No offense boss, but let’s see what he knows first.  He may be the jilted lover coming to her rescue.”

        “All right, but we’ll need to use tact to keep him from being suspicious.”  Frank left the room to answer a ringing telephone.

        “This mess just keeps getting worse.”  Sam muttered to himself as he made a drink.

"Bookcover photos"

Blessings,

K.R. Hughes and T.L. Burns

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