By D. "Darteo" Sommese
I arrived late to a small but cozy house full of people, merrily stuffing themselves with birthday cake. There were people of all ages there. Some folks I had seen the last time I was invited there, trying to authenticate a signature on a photo I had of Marilyn Monroe. I had the picture in my possession for the past twenty years, but never thought much about it until a friend had mentioned that it could be worth up to $6000.00 if it were real. I contacted a guy named Greg who just happened to be the President of the Marilyn Monroe preservation society. As it turned out, they were just about to have their regular monthly meeting, when I called and he invited me over, because there would be some people there that were experts on her signature.
You may wonder what kind of people show up for these things. To be sure they are not your run of the mill average Jane or Joe. Pleasantly eccentric though they might be,but they are some of the nicest folks you will ever meet. Greg himself is one of the nicest. He generously opens up his home to all and any. It is not unusual for him to invite anyone he might have met in the previous week. This proclivity to invite perfect strangers to his private home is one of the things that made this particular party so interesting.
I just naturally gravitated to the small, but festive back yard and parked my self in an empty chair under an orange tree. I struck up a conversation with a guy sitting close by. He was going on about how he quit smoking for good and how happy he was about it. The backyard was filled with exiled smokers, who weren't allowed to smoke in the house, where Greg had his room full of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. There enclosed in a glass case, was a full sized mannequin, wearing one of Marilyn's dresses. It was a gold lame number, that the mannequin was not really doing justice to. There was a jewelers case filled with lots of little things that had belonged to MM, bits of jewelry and canceled checks in neatly framed in checked sized frames. On the walls were posters and press photos and a couple of photos of Greg with the object of his adoration. These however were computer manipulated images, because Greg would have been just a boy when Marilyn was in her prime. I suppose when he gets to be very old, all this will go to the Hollywood Museum, but for now it has the aura of the homespun about it, which makes it all the more personal and charming.
In the backyard, near the orange tree I was sitting under, was a table filled with old magazines that had Marilyn on the cover. They were being presided over by a rather nervous, long haired, guy in dark glasses. He was about 28 years old, and going on about how he hated money, as he fiddled nervously with the rosary beads he wore for ornamentation around his neck. The regulars that are part of the Preservation Society, are Marilyn scholars. They really and truly love the woman. On one hand they are ardent admirers, and on the other archaeologists, uncovering for themselves, the mystery of Marilyn, as if solving that mystery, would tell them something about themselves. I could tell that the regulars at this function were not warming up to guy with the magazines. He was definitely not one of them. These MM fans may be hyper-interested in Marilyn Monroe, but they are not freaks.
The guy with the magazines was definitely from an alien lifestyle. It might have been his blue, black and silver painted finger nails that were so distasteful. There was something rather brittle and brash about him, that contrasted with the general sweetness of the regulars of the Marilyn Preservation Society. Just then a rather thin blond woman came out in a black sequined see-through poncho that covered her front and back. It had a deep plunging neckline that exposed her black bra. From the side you could see her red lace thong panties and a rather flabby ass for one so thin and young. She was acting sort of drunk, but there was no alcohol at this party. Commanding all our attention, she announced in a very thick French accent that she wanted to sing a song. The guy with the magazines was encouraging her. I could tell that they must have come to the party together, since her attire was just as out of place as his was.
She held a finger up to her lips and made a shushing noise to quiet us down, so she could sing. She chose to sing the Beatles song, "Michele." She sounded like a terribly flat, shaky voiced, Edith Piaf. She sang the first two lines of the song and announced that she did not know anymore of the words. Instead, she sang the same phrase over again in the same awful off-key voice. She was standing right next to me. I like all the others, politely applauded her and expected her to move on. Just then the guy with the blue fingernails started yelling for her to strip. He was yelling for her to take off her clothes! Not one of us thought he was serious, or that she would seriously consider doing such a thing. It just sounded like some dumb remark on his part, more than anything else. But quick as a wink, she did it! It happened so quickly that we were all in shock for a minute. In an instant she was completely naked and we all were able to ascertain that she was indeed a natural blond. This all struck the guy with the magazines as uproariously funny and he fell all over himself laughing.
It was so shocking, we were all laughing at that point. For the most part her getting naked happened so fast and was such a surprise, the laughter was generated by nervousness more than anything else. To make matter more uproarious the woman began darting all around the back yard like a small child. She was running hither and yon, exposing her self to all gaped-mouth guests in the back yard, who all simultaneously seemed to feel the need for another cigarette. Just as suddenly she came back to her clothes in a pile on the grass in front of me, and dressed herself. First the red lace, panties and then the bra, which she was having trouble with, so she came over to me and asked me if I would do it up for her. I dutifully obliged, not knowing what else to do. Then she put the black sequined poncho back over her head and was dressed again, as if nothing had ever happened. The guests inside heard the commotion and came running out, disappointed that they had missed the excitement. With them came two members of the Japanese press, a man and woman, both very thin and nattily dressed in black. They were there to do a story on the Marilyn Monroe Preservation Society. They seem a bit bewildered as to what the commotion was. I heard someone say, "Do it again" and quick as a wink, off came her clothes. In a flash, there was French woman, naked again. Running around the male member of the Japanese press, who was standing there with his mouth open. She began her song, looking like a spaced out Venus emerging from the clam shell.
A woman in her fifties, who must have been trained as a councilor and or a psychologist or something, came up to the naked woman with a towel and wrapped it around her lovingly. She cooed to the naked French woman, about how talented and lovely she was, which I thought was a wonderful gesture. Surely someone needed to interject sanity in to the situation. Like a character in some screwball comedy, the blond just kept singing and seemed to be unaware that the towel and the woman holding it were even there. Every time she raised her arms, the towel would fall down and the social worker woman would dutifully pick it up and wrap it around her again. The guy with the magazines and he blue fingernails was hysterical, pissing himself laughing at this point.
Meanwhile, Marilyn Monroe's former stand-in, was at the party as a special quest. She was dressed in a smart aqua colored, floor length knit dress, and came over and sat next to me. I wanted nothing more than to talk to her about Marilyn, but this French woman would not cooperate. Marilyn's former standing was looking more like Betty Davis these days and brought home the fact that had Marilyn lived, she would be a senior citizen now. Marilyn's former stand-in not only looked like Betty Davis, but acted like her as well. She was not amused by the nude performance and kept snapping at the French woman to "Oh Shut up," while she tried to have a conversation with me. The woman holding the towel for the nude woman, ever understanding, asked us all to be quiet while the French woman sang, only to be snapped back at by the Bette Davis look-alike, "You tell her to shut up," she would snarl. Things were really starting to get out of hand now.
Greg, the owner of the house, hearing the commotion came in the back yard and turned red as a beet. The poor man was in shock. I could tell things like this didn't really ever happen at Marilyn's Birthday Party. It was supposed to be, cake and conversation, but this was turning into utter pandemonium. I am sure he was wondering what the people from the Japanese press would write. Both were scribbling madly at this point in a note book, the male member of the two, unable to take his eyes off the French woman. Greg tried hard to make some sense of what was happening. The scene was utter madness, as the French woman, arms open wide, bleated her song to the crowd that had gathered in front of her. The singing was God-awful, but we were all being perfect Christian's sitting there being polite and giving the poor woman encouraging looks. If she couldn't sing, it was certain she knew something about getting attention. The woman holding the towel, dutifully followed the singing French woman around, holding the towel from behind like some sort of human clasp. the scene was as hysterical as the telling of it. I can assure you things were so crazy I do not have to embellish them. I expected the Marx Brothers to make an entrance at any moment. The guy with the magazines and the blue painted fingernails was laughing really hard now. He was slapping himself and the lawn table, gasping for air. Greg, could stand it no longer. With all the wonderful adult manners he could muster, handed the women her clothes and simply said, "Please get dressed, this is not appropriate for this party or my back yard". Get dressed!
The French woman immediately stopped bleating, took the hint and went off with the woman holding the towel, to dress in private I assumed. The party sort of broke up after that. I mean anything else would have been anti-climax. The two Japanese reporters scurried into the house, as the crowd that had gathered dispersed. I looked up at the heavens and thanked God for a perfect Hollywood party and all the laughs I would have every time I thought of the entire absurd event. It's great to be alive!
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