I saw Jim Belushi at the Sip N Quick last night. He asked me for a light, but I don’t smoke. It’s bad for your health I mentioned, and he laughed. I guess I shouldn’t be really concerned with my health. I’m already six feet under. Thing is no one tells you that once they put you under, you eventually come back up.
I’m lying around in the Jacuzzi. The water is nipping me with its warm teeth. I oblige its sting and sink under the liquid, sitting on the bottom of the whirlpool. Criss cross applesauce. My blonde hair tries to swim for the top but doesn’t have the strength to take me with it. For a moment I wonder where Wayne is tonight. In our bed? Under our Egyptian sheets? He got rid of them though. They had my perfume on them.
He won’t even look at my pictures on the mantle. I saw him turn one around after the funeral. He loosened his tie and crawled up into the couch. Tucked up like a pearl in the hands of a leather shell. I sank in next to him, the cushions not moving an inch. He shivered a little when I ran my hand down his freckled kissed cheeks. I miss the heat, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.
Paul Newman’s arm plunges down next to me. I didn’t realize I was down there so long. He pulls me to the surface.
“What are you doing down there?” Paul questions as he emerges himself next to me. Cool Hand Luke, starring at me with a million-dollar smirk. If auctioned it’d get more than that at Christies I told him. I remember where I am suddenly and circulate words to my tongue.
“Thinking.” I mumble. Paul begins to chuckle with chocolaty tones. If I could still blush I would.
“How’s that going?” He strokes the hair out of my eyes.
“Swell. Thanks for asking.” I push myself out of the Jacuzzi. I’m already dry. My hair turns into curls, dripping down my tiny shoulders.
“ Where’s Jimmy?” I grab my dress sitting on a nearby sun chairs.
“Ask Alfred.” Paul points out to Mr. Hitchcock, sitting under the veranda of the house. Pushing my hair up and over my black dress I shuffle across the pool area, making a beeline for the pudgy man of horror.
Cary Grant and Myrna Loy are playing water volleyball against the Hepburns. Audrey twists a skinny hand up from under the water and waves to me.
“Darling. Would you like to play?!” She calls over to me. I flash a smile and keep up my pace towards Alfred.
“Maybe later. I gotta find Jimmy.” I yell back as the volleyball whizzes by Cary’s face. He curses Katherine’s spiral shot.
Alfred throws a glare my way as I step up to him. His composer doesn’t loosen at all as I lean over the table he’s sitting at and bat my lashes. He’s reading again, he’s always reading. He does crosswords in ink you know.
“Yes?” His voice, a monotone knife of chills. I keep my composer and remember how two nights ago I beat him in pictionary. He might be a little sore about it.
“You seen Jimmy around? I wanted to borrow the car.”
“He’s out in front.” I catch a smile on Alfred’s face. It’s a rarity not many witness. He and I share something different from most of the others. He was the first one who found me at the cemetery. Tucked away in the hills of Hollywood he had been reading on a bench with Marilyn. She was busy at her grave, collecting flowers to use as table toppers for a dinner party. I was bobbing around headstones when Alfred spotted me.
I didn’t know where I was, or even what was going on. But the second I saw Alfred I knew. I died young but I’ve slowly realized that heart attacks strike people every day and that one day it was my turn.
“Thank you.” I lean over and kiss the top of Alfred’s squishy head. My legs carry me off to find Jimmy and the car.
The house is full of the bustling dead today. It’s James Deans birthday tonight. Pink streamers roll down around the verandas. Tables are being set up for the festivities. I brush by it all though. I can’t focus on anything else. One thought only comes to mind. Wayne. I touch the engagement ring on my finger, apologizing silently.
Jimmy’s on the porch. He’s reading Fight Club again and hardly notices when I burst through the front door. I spot him and stop dead in my tracks. My eyes lock on his face.
“Don’t do it.” He warns me, not even moving an eyelash from the page.
“I need the car.” It always comes down to this moment. He doesn’t like it when I drive the Caddy, and I don’t like to travel in the Thunderbird. It’s a never-ending war but perfectly understandable.
“Fine.” Jimmy Stewart wipes a bead of sweat from his brow. He gently closes the book. Setting the novel down he begins to stand up. Tall legs bend and twist as he erects his posture. I stand small but I like to think my wit adds a couple inches.
Jimmy’s hand reaches out to mine. I take his long fingers.
“One, two, three, four. I declare a thumb war.” I hum as we begin to use our phalanges as javelins.
The breeze from the L.A. air whips past my cheeks. The leather wheel feels like victory. My foot presses down the gas as I break away from the 101 Freeway. The positive side of being dead? No one’s on the highway. The occasional corpse with a car fetish but that’s about it. The gray pavement is blank and untouched. Sometimes though I can feel the million cars actually existing around me. If I listen hard enough it sounds like I’m alive again.
Winding around the hills I find the trail to my driveway. I park and stride towards the front door. Inside it’s quiet. The cream walls bounce the sun across the open entryway. I slip into the living room, and whip past the chrome kitchen. The insides of the house an Ikea wet dream of catalog junkies.
I haunt this place I guess. I’m an avid visitor. I hang about keeping an eye on Wayne. But I’ve been trying to distance myself though. A task all of us go through after death.
John Lennon told me over tea that I can’t hang around forever. He sat in the Dakota for three years. Poor John, sleeping broken hearted under the piano. But one day he realized he had to get up. He’d see Yoko one day. Let them enjoy their lives, he advised me. Let them go on.
The after life is sort of like taking a trip he told me. Sometimes you fall asleep in the back seat. You exist in the back of the car but you’re not really there. Everyone goes on with the drive. But eventually you all arrive at the same destination. It’s just a ride. Although he said that, I heard him in the bath, calling out to Yoko. After a couple drinks with Confucius I admitted I had heard him. John told me that one night he actually heard her call back. Ever since I’ve wondered if that was true. It’s a myth I hold dear.
I find myself sitting on the top of the granite counters in the master bathroom. I paid six hundred dollars an inch for those tiles. You can’t take things with you in the after life, that’s what they tell you. It’s wrong though, because when you’re dead you can have whatever you want. I can go haunt a house with eight hundred dollar tiles.
I come to the conclusion Wayne must be out. I give up and drive back. My smile starts to drip down my dress. I pull up to the giant house I now reside in. Jimmy’s not on the porch. He must have gone in to help with the party. I guess I should too. I should lend a hand. They’re my family now. I couldn’t have asked for a better after life. Even though I didn’t even ask for it in the first place. I try and remind myself this is not a pity party.
Inside I find black and white stars in Technicolor. They rush about with iced cakes. Alfred sits in the kitchen, I see him swipe a cocktail weenie finger through a red velvet pastry. George Harrison lies on the kitchen counter. He’s serenading the cooks of the evening and I spot Carole Lombard helping with the salad. A sears portrait couldn’t do them all justice.
I walk out into the back yard. The pool lies still, a liquid mirror reflecting the moon. The night is calm and I can’t help but allow myself to do the same. Maybe it’s all okay. Wayne is out there, alive and well. Isn’t that enough for me? I can still see him. One day he’ll see me again, maybe even hear me. I close my eyes. I remember John’s confession. Why not try?
“Wayne?” I speak to the air around me. I picture him. He’s there, standing in front of me. Tossled hair on that round face. Those green eyes boiling over with emerald sheen. I was lucky to even have a chance to call him mine. Now I have to stop calling. I have to let it go.
I release the chokehold on my pupils. I breathe in for no reason, if only for the charade. We’ll reach the same destination one day I think. With that final thought, I turn to go help with the festivities.
“Darling.” Wayne’s voice hums in the air. I know it’s him. If my heart could stop again it would. John wasn’t lying.
I smile for a moment. I smile and finally let him go.


Created: Jul 18, 2010


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