Saturday, March 29, 2008

a bit from my new novel (in paperback)

Joan washed her hands and then picked up the phone to dial her secretary to find out how much fan mail had arrived.

Henry Rogers, Joan’s publicist, stepped in the door. Mad at him for not getting enough newspaper coverage, she decided to make him wait and listen to her phone call, hanging up and redialing to get someone else, instead. “Marilyn, sweetheart, wake up. It's me. Joanie. I know you have nothing to wear, are you naked now? Are you laying on top of your bed naked? Are your breasts covered with your sheet? Tell me! I have some pink pantyhose you can have. Are you awake? Hello?”

“What?” Marilyn Monroe asked.

“You can have 'em!” Joan offered, winking at Henry. “Hey! They're all the wrong color for me and I didn't even pay for them. MGM did. I was going to wear them for my Two Faced Woman number, but we decided I'm going to play a black woman - just to make it exotic. Pink is all wrong. And it's a bright pink. It'll go with your coloring quite beautifully.”



Marilyn asked, “Have you worn them already?”


“Did you put them all the way on – all the way up?”

“Of course,” Joan assured her. “I thought it would be very very exciting for you to have a few pairs of pantyhose I've already worn, for good luck, you see, since I'm such a big star and you're just hoping to get established.”

“No, thank you, Miss Crawford, but I really don't want any pantyhose that have already been worn by somebody else. That's just … ”

Joan imperially insisted, “I am NOT just any ol' somebody else. I am Joan Crawford and I am offering you Joan Crawford pantyhose. I thought that would be exciting for you - being that you're so disadvantaged right now and I understand how that is. When I came to Hollywood I had nothing but the few clothes I stole from some friends in Kansas City, which is neither here nor there right now, I needed something! I was winning all those dance contests and had to wear a dress! Nobody was kind to me! Everybody was waiting their turn to kick me back down. I had to scratch and claw for everything I have now!”

“No thank you Miss Crawford. That's so very sweet of you to think of me, but I don’t know … ”

Joan slammed the phone down, gulped her drink, and turned to Henry. “I try to help. You just heard me try. I know what it’s like to be just starting out in this town and not have much. Can you believe the little starlets today? Back when I was just beginning I'd have taken a pair of silk stockings if they were offered to me and I wouldn't dream of asking if they'd been used, I'd just look for the run! What is it with people today, the young people - they're so damn SPOILED! They won't even take a perfectly perfect pair of pink pantyhose that goes well with their coloring. How does she know she won't need them someday? Why doesn’t she just let me help her get started? I know I sure needed help when I first came to town. I was grateful! If it wasn’t for Bill I’m sure I’d be a blah housewife somewhere right now.” Joan squinted at the publicist. “And why are you here? What is it that you do?”

THE JOAN CRAWFOD MURDERS can be found in general fiction at


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