Sunday, November 15, 2009
"The Vanity" - a Louise Brooks short story, part 1
This post, the 50th of the new Louise Brooks Society blog, is pleased to present the first installment of a new story featuring Louise Brooks. The story is "The Vanity" by Robert Murillo. I think you will enjoy it. I did.
“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.”
My name is Michael Lundy but you can call me Mike. I’m fifty three, in good health, and I write. I live on N. Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills and spend most nights and early mornings writing the Great American Novel. But that’s another story - and one I hope someday you’ll read. Like I said, I’m in good health. Though, as this tale unfolds, you may question that.
It began five nights ago. Wednesday night really - in the wee small hours of Thursday morning. Molly, my muse, whose hours are far better than mine, had called it a night. So I stretched, pushed my chair back, got up and strolled from my dining room office, through the living room and to the front window. Outside, the misty October rain had covered everything with a glossy wetness. I glanced at my watch. It was exactly three o’clock. I debated whether to return to the computer and attempt to finish up this chapter without Molly or head for bed, when, down the street to my left, I saw the orange glow of two headlights approaching. I watched as a vintage black sedan rolled by my house, slowing as it passed, and then continued down N. Bedford, disappearing into the mist. Odd, but no big deal. Classic-looking car though; maybe from as far back as the 1920’s. I shrugged, decided to call it a night, and headed for bed.
Most of Thursday afternoon was dictated by an uninteresting list of things to do: lunch with a representative from Westwood Magazine looking to publish a short story of mine, picking up some groceries while I had the oil changed in my Jeep Wrangler, stopping by Best Buy for some black ink for the printer, and then wrapping up my errands with an ice cream from Cold Stone. Flavors: coffee and French vanilla. Too good to sacrifice for any health reasons. Ice cream cone in one hand, steering wheel in the other, it was time to head back for another evening with Molly - the only woman in my life - or so I thought.
Without fanfare or many breaks, Molly and I worked from about six-thirty to well-past two thirty Friday morning. When my eyes began to glaze over and my fingers remained hovered above the keyboard, I realized Molly had slipped away. I pulled myself up, stretched, found the fridge, grabbed a cold Corona and wandered out to the living room and over to the front window again. It was another damp night in ‘The Hills.’
I yawned, checked my watch - it was almost three a.m. - took a long and satisfying drink of my beer and decided to head for bed, when the oddest thing happened. Through the gray drizzle came the same black car that had driven by the night before! And again it slowed as it passed my house. I still couldn’t make out what kind of car it was - one of those big sedans with suicide doors, running boards and headlights attached to the front fenders. It might have been an old Cadillac - or maybe a Packard? I’m much better with cars from the forties and fifties. Suffice it to say, it was big, dark and ominous. It continued down N. Bedford Drive, the small, bright red taillights slowly fading into the dampness of the night.
Was all this strange? Yes. Was I going to lose any sleep about some weirdo cruisin’ Beverly Hills at three in the morning? No. Remember, this is the land of eccentrics and oddballs. So if someone wanted to cruise Beverly Hills in search of the stars’ homes in an old vintage sedan in the middle of the night, fine. Just don’t ring my doorbell in search of Julia Roberts or George Clooney.
I strolled back to my computer to see if Molly had returned. A bright yellow Post-It was stuck to the monitor with the message:
Off to the Viper Room in search of Johnny Depp! XOXO, Molly
I switched off the computer and, Corona in hand, headed for bed.
Copyright thomas gladysz / Louise Brooks Society
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