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"Got Charlie booted out of America, but, hey, lots of people were in trouble back then...."

the ghost of paulette goddard
flash fiction by donna gagnon


“Look up, Hannah! Look up!”

Charlie insisted on saying things like that. He was crazy. Always talking about the ‘light of hope’ and wings on the ‘soul of man’. Sheesh. He was just a barber, for heaven’s sake. In the film, I mean.

I was in love with Benzino Napaloni. The dictator of Bacteria. A real man, full of bluster and power. We could have had a symbiotic relationship, if he’d stopped playing with his troops. Ah, Benzino! His real name, the actor, I mean, was Jackie Oakie. Even now, I can feel how round and smooth his face was… how deep his eyes…

It was the crest of a wave, that movie. Got Charlie booted out of America, but, hey, lots of people were in trouble back then.

[shakes her head]

You never know who’s gonna be out there causing trouble… I’m just glad I’m dead now. Honestly.

(illustration: john richen)


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©2005 Donna Gagnon • Smokebox
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