Emergency Poodle Skirt Hunting by Mary Elizabeth Brown

The following was written for Germ's May Writing Challenge.

I pull up to the crooked curb outside her house and wait. I hate the bent curb so much, and I don’t even bother to park my car better. I send a text message, “Emergency road trip, I’m at your house to pick you up.”

She texts back “What?!!! !When?”

“Right now! *honk honk!” I press send and give her two actual honks of my horn.

I have my long brown hair wrapped in a red, silk, scarf and cat eye sunglasses perched half way down my nose, like an old movie star. She runs out to the car in a sundress, holding her purse and a pair of flip flops. Her straight blonde hair is pulled back into a pony tail. I roll down the window as she runs up and peer over the top of my sunglasses at her. “Darling! We are going to Hollywood! I simply must find a poodle skirt today!” I say.

“I see that.” she says as she slides in my car.

“Are you down?” I ask her. Everyone wants to be swept away on an adventure by their friends in theory, but I have found only some will actually go when it comes down to it and how far they are willing to go is up to question as well. I like Sherry because she will go on adventures with me, but I still wonder if she will go on a crazy spontaneous trip to Hollywood to find a poodle skirt, on a whim. It is an hour drive. Maybe I should have called first.

“Sure. sounds fun.” she says and buckles herself in for the ride.

I open the glovebox and show her the purple, flowery, silk scarf and cat eye sunglasses I brought along for her. (I am a sucker for a good theme!) She laughs. She thinks they are silly, but she puts them on to match me. I am silly and when she is with me, sometimes she can be silly too and I love it when she is silly with me. It’s like I have a partner in crime. This is one of those times and I am so glad. I take off from her crooked curb and hit the freeway.

We put on the soundtrack to Grease and sing about our “Somer Lovin”” and pretend we are in our very own “Grease Lightning” (or at least I do).  Grease is such a buddy movie, it makes me happy singing the soundtrack with someone else, especially in our senior year of high school, just like in the movie. Sherry loves musicals as much as I do. That’s part of how we first became friends.

With some circling shark like maneuvering, we snag a parking spot in Hollywood, on Melrose. She takes off the scarf and leaves it in the car. I pull it off my head, shake out my hair, tie it around my neck, and keep the sunglasses. She keeps the sunglasses too and we walk to the store.

Before I open the door to the shop I pause, hand on the door, one finger raised to my lips. In an Elmer Fudd voice I say, “Shh! We’re hunting poodle skirts!” She laughs and I laugh louder. Too loud, but I don’t care who looks at me. I am having a fun adventure with my best friend. The smell is not bad, but it is unmistakably of old clothes. I am drawn to a row of beautiful 1920s flapper dresses. I pick up a red one and hand her one in her favorite color to wear; purple. “Look, it’s like they are made for us! We have to try them on!”

She laughs and agrees, and we hit the dressing rooms. The red dress is too short on me and you can see all of my goodies when I move. I laugh and step out to show her how hopelessly tall I am. She comes out and her dress nearly reaches her knees. She suggests a swap. How perfect! I could have her dress and she could have mine. It’s just like what would happen to best friends in a movie! We swap and hers actually fits me in length and mine fits her perfectly.

“This is like some bizarre sisterhood of the traveling flapper dresses!” I exclaim.

She laughs really hard at that and we buy “each other’s” dresses. I find a perfect, pink poodle skirt hidden along the back row of the shop. It is a traditional poodle circle skirt; pink with an adorable white poodle and yellow looping leash up to the top. It is exactly what I was looking for and I buy it too.

I don’t want this adventure to end and an idea strikes me, but I don’t know if she will go along. I tentatively ask, “Since we are down here, want to go to a movie?” She says yes, so I tread through the rest of my idea. “Can we wear our flapper dresses and pretend we are in Old Hollywood?” The coolest thing happens; she says yes. She says yes to my crazy idea and we run back into the dressing rooms and change into our flapper dresses. She takes her pony tail out and brushes her hair out with her hands.

We walk into the glamorous old Hollywood decorated movie theater and get our popcorn and drinks. We don’t get as many weird looks as I would have thought, but then again this is Downtown Hollywood and these people see way weirder things all week. I twirl around in the hallway and swish my fringe back and forth as we wait for them to clean the theater because we are early. The movie is a perfect buddy flick to see with your friends and I love that I am at it with my best friend.  After the movie, I get up and dance to the fun end credit music. At first she doesn’t want to dance. She is scared, but after everyone leaves she gets up and we have our own private dance club. I run around the theater swishing my fringe until the ushers come in to clean. We walk out calmly like nothing weird happened in there at all and then run to the car laughing.

After the movie I ask if she wants to go to Cafe Audrey, my favorite place to eat in Hollywood. She is hesitant so I tell her it’s on me. I really don’t want our adventure to end. I don’t want to go back to our dull town yet. I want her to stay out with me in our flapper dresses because I don’t know if she will ever wear it somewhere with me again. She agrees to go. We go to the cafe in our flapper dresses and flip flops. Our fringe swishes every time we move. It is really distracting and I almost run into a parking meter staring at my fringe swish when I walk.

The cafe is as elegant as ever and I feel at home in the vintage eatery. The entire cafe is black and white everything and the walls are filled with large black and white pictures of Audrey Hepburn. It is so glamorous I feel transported back in time! I order two chai tea’s and they come with beautiful leaf designs in the foam and in massive cups that are more like soup bowls with handles. We laugh and she talks about how crazy I am. We argue about which is the best musical of all time. I say My Fair Lady. She says The Sound of Music, hands down and that Julie Andrews should have played Eliza in My Fair Lady. I shush her and tell her not to talk about Audrey like that in the place of her “loverly” lady’s worship. We laugh and sip our tea.

“Why was it an emergency?” She finally asks.

“Every girl needs a poodle skirt in her closet.” I say. “I looked in my closet this morning and I didn’t have one.”

“And a flapper dress.” she adds. “Every girl needs a flapper dress.”

I still don’t want this to end so I throw out there, “Do you want to walk down Hollywood Boulevard and look at the celebrity’s stars? We could try to stick our feet in their footprints.” She says no. I try again, “What else do you want to do since we’re down here? I got my poodle skirt! You should pick something you want to do.” She picks to go home. We walk our flip flops and fringe back to the car. I put on the soundtrack to The Sound of Music on the way home and we blast the speakers. It’s fun because we are both seventeen going on eighteen. I land at her stupid crooked curb, and drop her off.

I say, “I had a marvelous time, darling. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!”

She plays along, “It was simply the bees knees, darling!”

“The Cats Meow!” I yell out and she looks at me like I’m crazy, because it is late and I can tell she doesn’t want her neighbors to see her in a flapper dress.

She waves a quick goodbye as she runs to her house and I laugh as her fringe swishes back and forth the whole way. When I get home I can’t settle. I want more adventure. I want someone to pick me up and take me on some sort of emergency poodle hunt road trip.  I don’t want to take my dress off. I feel so pretty in it. Then the adventure is over. If I take it off I’d have to go back to real life. I put my favorite dance playlist on my iPod and dance around my room until I finally fall on my bed exhausted. I reluctantly take off my flapper dress and hang it up. I would just sleep in it if I wasn’t afraid of messing it up. I play “I could have danced all night” from My Fair Lady, as I lay on my bed and drift off to another adventure.

 


1st draft, 15-minute twaddle

Topic: Adventure

 

I pull up outside her house and wait. I send a text message, “emergency trip, I’m at your house to pick you up.” She texts back a “what? When?’ and I reply “Right now! *honk honk!” press send and give her two actual honks of my horn. I have my hair wrapped in a scarf and cat eyed sunglasses, that make me feel like an old movie star. She runs out to the car in a sundress holding her purse and a pair of flip flops. I roll down the window as she runs up and peer over my sunglasses at her.

“Darling! we are going to Hollywood! I simply must find a poodle skirt today!”

“I see that.” she says as she jumps in my car.

“Are you down?” I ask her. Everyone wants to be swept away on an adventure by their friends in theory, but I have found only some actually want to go when it comes down to it. And also how far they are willing to go on an adventure is up to question. I like Sherry because she will go on my adventures with me, but I still wonder if she will do a crazy spontaneous trip to Hollywood to find a poodle skirt, just on a whim. Maybe I should have called first.

“Sure. sounds fun.” she says and buckles herself in for the ride.

I open the glovebox and show her the silk head scarf and cat eye glasses I brought along for her. I am a sucker for a good theme! She laughs. She thinks they are silly, but she puts them on to match me. I am silly and when she is with me she can be silly sometimes. I am glad this is one of those times. I love it. I take off from her crooked curb and hit the freeway.

We put on the soundtrack to Greece and sing about our “Somer lovin'” and pretend we are in our very own Greece Lightning. (or at least I do.)  Greece is such a buddy movie, it makes me happy tossing with someone else, especially in our senior year of high school, just like in the movie. Shelly loves musicals as much as I do. That’s part of how we bonded and first became friends.

We reach a parking spot in hollywood with some circling and  shark maneuvering. She takes of the scarf and leaves it in the car. I pull it off my head and tie it around my neck and keep the glasses. She keeps the sunglasses too. We enter the Vintage store.

The smell is not bad, but it is unmistakable, old clothes. I am drawn to a row of beautiful 1920’s flapper dresses. I pick up a red one and hand her one in her favorite color to wear, purple. “Look, it’s like they are made for us! we have to try them on!”

 

 

Mary is a mermaid in training. She is a proud glitter enthusiast, hopeless slushy addict, and avid nail polish collector. Old songs and old movies are her favorites. If she is not on some crazy adventure, you will find her with her nose stuck in a book. Every day she attempts to do at least one thing that scares her.

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