The prompts this time were inspired by a recent obsession with Dynasty, that high-camp show from the 1980’s. A friend and I worked our way through all nine seasons on DVD. I wrote down many of the one-liners that Joan Collins had every episode. The few that follow were the prompts one evening. What I wrote is below.
If you’re quite through with your pop psychology lesson for today, I am late for a meeting
Listen, we all know you for the gold digging slut that you are.
I’m terribly sorry, but you’re not going to make love to me tonight.
Let’s not quibble, Dear,” I said earnestly, and Jason shot me a dirty look.
“Stop talking like that.”
“Like what?” I said, rearranging the scarf on my neck so it covered my wrinkles and the brooch faced forward.
“Like you’re Joan Collins, that’s what,” he said, then motioned for our waiter to bring two more mimosas. He used the international hand signal: two fingers pointed at his empty glass, then two fingers up.
“Slow down, Darling,” I said. “It’s only 11:30.”
“You’re driving me to drink,” he said, only half-kidding.
I was sipping mine self-consciously. The lip gloss that little tart at Sephora sold me was tacky, and I knew it would only stick if I dabbed it with a paper napkin. Jason was looking away.
“What are you staring at?” I asked. “Or should I say whom? The busboy?”
“Stop it,” he said.
“Well, why are you looking away? Look me in the eye, dammit!” He rolled his eyes.
“You’ve gone too far this time, Cookie. You really have.”
“Yes. Method acting is one thing, cross-dressing offstage is clearly going beyond the beyond.”
“Is it really?”
“Aww, Christ! Will you stop talking like that?”
The waiter brought our second round. The glasses were thick and sturdy, catering types, but I did so enjoy the bubbling orange of a mimosa at Sunday brunch. I took a big swig and emptied mine in one gulp.
“Thank you, dear.”
“You’re welcome, Ma’am,” he said. Jason audibly groaned. It seemed I was passing.
It was one of those glorious late summer days in San Francisco: seventy degrees with big, fluffy fog clouds hugging the perimeter of a pale blue, otherwise cloudless sky. We were trying out brunch at an old hangout that used to only be open for dinner; sitting under an awning without a heat lamp in my strappy sandals (size 10 1/2) felt wonderful.
“This is because I asked you to wax your chest, isn’t it?” Jason said.
“What?” I was sincerely incredulous.
“You’ve always criticized me for emasculating you.”
“And now you’re punishing me with this, this act.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. I really don’t.” I laughed then; I did my best Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter laugh. “Ah ha ha ha ha, Darling. Don’t be daft.”
“And you can drop that fake English accent, Cookie,” he said, knocking back the last of his drink. “We both know you’re from Ohio.”
“But Mummy insisted on British boarding schools,” I reminded him. “I guess the accent just stuck.” I batted my false eyelashes at him.
“Oh, God,” he said, smacking his hand against his forehead. “Do I really have to endure this for the entire run of the show? Eight weeks?”
“Nine,” I corrected him.
“Coookieee,” he moaned.
“Yes, Darling?” I adjusted my bra. Could I ever get used to wearing these contraptions?
“I want my husband back.”
“I know you do, Sweetheart, but—Oh, look! My Eggs Benedict!”
Below the table, two little sparrows were hopping about and peeping for dropped crumbs. They sounded like they were in an argument. I wondered if they were a couple.