by Starsky Hutch 76, adapted from Pulp Fiction, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary
Later, all dosed up and feeling spry, Floyd Lawton walked up to the driveway leading to Mia Wallace’s front door. When he got to the door, he heard music on the other side, and a note in plain view taped to it. He ripped it off. The note read: Hi, Floyd. I’m getting dressed. The door’s open. Come inside and make yourself a drink. Mia.
He neatly folded the note up, stuck it in his pocket, took a here-goes-nothing breath, and turned the knob.
As Floyd stepped inside, the music that was behind the door swelled drastically. Floyd, hands in pockets, strolled inside, checking out the home. “Hello! I’m here!” he called out.
He turned at the sound of a door opening.
Inside the room where the music was playing, Mia Wallace stood naked, speaking to Floyd through a crack in the door. The door shielded the front of her body from him, though the back of her was visible in the mirror on the opposite side of the room. “Floyd Lawton?”
“I’m Floyd. You Mia?”
“That’s me. Pleased to meetcha. I’m still getting dressed. To your left, past the kitchen, is a bar. Why don’t you make yourself a drink, have a seat in the living room, and I’ll be out within three shakes of a lamb’s tail.”
“Take your time.”
Floyd stood staring at the closed door, contemplating what was on the side from which the music blared. He shook his head and then walked to the bar and poured himself a drink.
Drink in hand, Floyd moved into the living room. Hanging on the living room wall was a portrait that showed Mia sensually reclining on a couch.
“This isn’t going to be easy,” he said, flopping on the large leather sofa.
Barefoot, Mia walked out of the dressing room, through the dining room, through the kitchen, and into the living room. She was carrying a camcorder and was videotaping Floyd on the couch. He looked up and saw her as she laughed. “Smile, you’re on Mia’s camera!”
“Ready to go?” he asked.
“Not yet. I’m going to interview you. Now, I’m going to ask you a bunch of quick questions I’ve come up with that more or less tell me what kind of person I’m having dinner with. My theory is that when it comes to important subjects, there’s only two ways a person can answer. For instance, there’s two kinds of people in this world, Elvis people and Beatles people. Now, Beatles people can like Elvis. And Elvis people can like the Beatles. But nobody likes them both equally. Somewhere, you have to make a choice. And that choice tells me who you are.”
“Shoot,” Floyd said.
“Deadshot telling me to shoot,” she laughed. “OK. First question, Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family?”
“The Partridge Family all the way, no comparison. The Brady Bunch is boring.”
“Are you a Bewitched man, or a Jeannie man?
“Well, I always dug how Jeannie always called Larry Hagman ‘master.'”
“If you were Archie, who would you do first — Betty or Veronica?”
“Betty. I’ve already been with plenty of Veronicas,” Floyd said, lighting a cigarette.
“Have you ever fantasized about being beaten up by a girl?” Mia asked.
“Who?” Mia asked, interestedly.
“Well, what self-respecting bad guy hasn’t fantasized about tangling with Wonder Woman? Y’know, the whole lasso and high-heel boots thing. And there’s Emma Peel on The Avengers… and Arlene Motika.”
“Who’s Arlene Motika?”
“Girl from sixth grade; you don’t know her,” Floyd said.
Mia lowered the camcorder from her face, and Floyd suddenly had a pretty good idea why even someone as screwed up in the head as the Joker could fall head over heels. She broke out in a blinding smile. “Cut. Print. Let’s go eat.”
In the past six years, ’50s diners had sprung up all over Gotham City. They were all basically the same. Decor out of a Binky comic-book, golden-oldies constantly emanating from a bubbly Wurlitzer, saucy waitresses in bobby socks, menus with items like the Fats Domino Cheeseburger, or the Wolfman Jack Omelet. Jackrabbit Slim’s was the big mama of ’50s diners.
Posters from ’50s movies were plastered all over the walls — Rock All Night, High School Confidential, Attack of the Crab Monster, and Machine Gun Kelly. The booths that the patrons sat in were made out of the cut up bodies of 50s cars.
In the middle of the restaurant was a dance floor. A big sign on the wall stated no shoes allowed. So would-be beboppers did the twist in their socks or bare feet.
The picture windows didn’t look out the street, but instead, black and white movies of 1950s street scenes played behind them. The waitresses and waiters were made up as replicas of ’50s icons like Marilyn Monroe, Greg Sanders, Jack Masters, Donna Reed, and Martin and Lewis. They waited on tables wearing the appropriate costumes.
Floyd and Mia studied the menu in a booth made out of a red ’59 Edsel. Buddy Holly (their waiter), came over, sporting a big button on his chest that said, Hi, I’m Buddy. Pleasing you pleases me. “Hi, I’m Buddy. What can I getcha?” he asked them.
“I’ll have the Greg Sanders Sirloin,” Floyd said. “And to drink, a vanilla coke.”
“How ’bout you, Peggy Sue?”
“I’ll have the Derwood Kirby burger — bloody — and a five-dollar shake.
“Did you just order a five-dollar shake?!” Floyd exclaimed as the waiter left with their order.
“A shake? Milk and ice cream?”
“It costs five dollars?”
“You don’t put bourbon in it or anything?”
“Just checking.” Floyd whistled.
Floyd took a look around the place. The yuppies were dancing, the diners were biting into big, juicy hamburgers, and the icons were playing their parts. Marilyn was squealing, Greg Sanders was twirling his lasso, Donna Reed was making her customers drink their milk, and Dean and Jerry were acting like fools.
Floyd felt a tinge of remorse at the sight of the fake Greg Sanders. He knew what his friend would think if he knew he were back in this line of work. He knew it was ironic that Greg was considered to be a 1950s icon, since he went missing before the ’50s even began, he and all the other members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. But the disappearance of this well-known country and western singer piqued the public’s interest in his body of work, and reissued Greg Sanders singles thus became more popular in the ’50s than they’d been in the ’40s.
“Whaddya think?” Mia asked him.
“I feel like I stepped back in time. I half-expect Batman to leap over the next booth and whale the tar outta me.” He took out his pouch of tobacco and began rolling himself a smoke. It was one of the many things he’d picked up from being friends with the Vigilante.
“After a second of watching him, Mia said, “What are you doing?”
“Rolling a smoke.”
“I’m a little old for that. It’s just tobacco, hon,” Floyd laughed.
“Oh. Well, in that case, will you roll me one, cowboy?” Mia asked.
As he finished licking it, Floyd handed her the cigarette and said, “You can have this one, cowgirl.” He handed her the rolled smoke. She took it, putting it to her lips. Out of nowhere appeared a Zippo lighter in Floyd’s hand, and he lit her cigarette.
“Thanks,” Mia said, impressed with his style.
“Think nothing of it,” Floyd said. He began rolling one for himself.
As this time, the sound of a subway car filled the diner, making everything shake and rattle. Marilyn Monroe ran to a square vent in the floor. An imaginary subway train blew the skirt of her white dress around her ears as she let out a squeal. The entire restaurant applauded.
“Harley said you just got back from Quebec,” Mia said.
“Sure did,” Floyd said, lighting his cigarette. “Taking care of something for the Gorilla Boss. I heard you did a pilot.”
“That was my fifteen minutes,” Mia said, as if the whole thing embarrassed her.
“What was it?”
“It was show about a team of female super-heroes called Fox Force Five.”
“Fox Force Five,” Mia answered. “Fox, as in we’re a bunch of foxy chicks. Force, as in we’ve all got super-powers. Five, as in there’s five of us. Flaxxen, the blonde, was the leader. Then there was a Japanese one, a black one, a French one, and a brunette one, me. We all had special skills. Flaxxen had telekinesis, the Japanese one, Jan Jitsu, was a kung fu master, the black girl was super-strong, the French fox’s specialty was making herself invisible…”
“What was your specialty?” Floyd asked.
“Knives. The character I played, Raven, her background was she was raised by circus performers. So she grew up doing a knife act. According to the show, she was the deadliest woman in the world with a knife. But because she grew up in a circus, she was also something of an acrobat. She could do illusions, she was a trapeze artist — when you’re keeping the world safe from evil, you never know when being a trapeze artist’s going to come in handy. And she knew a zillion old jokes her grandfather, an old Vaudevillian, taught her. If we would’a got picked up, they would’a worked in a gimmick where every episode I would’a told an old joke.”
“Do you remember any of the jokes?” Floyd said with mild interest.
“Well, I only got the chance to say one, ’cause we only did one show.”
“No,” said Mia. “It’s really corny.”
“C’mon, don’t be that way.”
“No. You won’t like it, and I’ll be embarrassed.”
“You told it in front of fifty-million people, and you can’t tell it to me?” countered Floyd. “I promise I won’t laugh.”
Mia raised her eyebrow. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” said Floyd.
“Now, I’m definitely not gonna tell ya, ’cause it’s been built up too much.”
“What a gyp,” Floyd laughed.
At that moment, Buddy came back with the drinks, and Mia wrapped her lips around the straw of her shake. “Yummy!”
“Can I have a sip of that?” Floyd asked. “I’d like to know what a five-dollar shake tastes like.”
“Be my guest.” She slid the shake over to him. “You can use my straw; I don’t have cooties.”
Floyd smiled. “Yeah, but maybe I do.”
“Cooties I can handle,” Mia said, grinning slyly. “I’m going to the ladies’ room to powder my nose. Be back soon.”
Mia left, and Floyd dug into his Greg Sanders Sirloin. As he chewed, his eyes scanned the restaurant, feeling an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. After a few minutes, Mia came back to the table.
“Don’t you love it when you go to the bathroom and you come back to find your food waiting for you?” she said.
“We’re lucky we got it at all. Buddy Holly doesn’t seem to be much of a waiter,” Floyd said. “We should’ve sat in Marilyn Monroe’s section.”
“Which one? There’s two Marilyn Monroes,” Mia said.
“No, there’s not,” Floyd said.
Mia pointed at Marilyn in the white dress serving a table. “There’s one.”
“That’s Marilyn Monroe,” Floyd said.
She then pointed at a blonde waitress in a tight sweater and capri pants, taking an order from a bunch of film geeks. “And there’s the other.”
“That’s Mamie Van Doren,” he corrected. “I don’t see Jayne Mansfield, so it must be her night off.”
“Pretty smart,” Mia said, impressed.
“Not really. I was there.”
“Oh, yeah,” Mia laughed. “It’s hard to remember you’re that old.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Did ya think of something to say?”
“Actually, there’s something I’ve wanted to ask you about,” Floyd said, “but you seem like a nice person, and I didn’t want to offend you.”
“Ooohhh, this doesn’t sound like mindless, boring, getting-to-know-you chit-chat,” Mia cooed. “This sounds like you actually have something to say.”
“Only if you promise not to get offended,” Floyd said.
“You can’t promise something like that. I have no idea what you’re going to ask. You could ask me what you’re going to ask me, and my natural response could be to be offended. Then, through no fault of my own, I would’ve broken my promise.”
“Then let’s just forget it,” Floyd said.
“That’s impossible,” Mia said. “Trying to forget anything as intriguing as this would be an exercise in futility.”
“Is that a fact?” Floyd said, taking a drag off his cigarette.
Mia nodded her head yes. “Besides, it’s more exciting when you don’t have permission.”
“What do you think about what happened to Hula-Hula?” Floyd asked.
“He fell out of a window,” Mia said, shrugging.
“That’s one way to say it. Another way is, he was thrown out. Another was is, he was thrown out by the Joker. And even another way is, he was thrown out of a window by the Joker because of you.”
“Is that a fact?” Mia asked.
“No, it’s not. It’s just what I heard,” Floyd said.
“Who told you this?” Mia asked.
“They,” Floyd said.
Mia and Floyd both smiled.
“They talk a lot, don’t they?” Mia remarked.
“They certainly do,” Floyd chuckled.
“Well, don’t be shy, Floyd. What exactly did they say?” Mia asked. Floyd was slow to answer. “Let me help you, bashful; did it involve the F-word?”
“No. They just said Hula-Hula gave you a foot massage.”
“And…?” Mia asked, gesturing with her cigarette for the rest of the story.
“No ‘and’ — that’s it,” Floyd finished.
“You heard the Joker threw Hula-Hula out of a four-story window because he massaged my feet?” Mia said incredulously.
“And you believed that?”
“At the time I was told, it seemed reasonable,” Floyd said.
“Throwing Hula-Hula out of a four-story window for giving me a foot massage seemed reasonable?”
“No, it seemed excessive. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Not only was he a jealous boyfriend… he was the Joker!”
“A boyfriend almost killing another man for touching his girl’s feet?” Mia said.
“Well, did it happen?”
“The only thing Hula-Hula ever touched of mine was my hand, when he shook it. I met him once. The truth is, nobody knows why the Joker tossed Hula-Hula out of that window except the Joker and Hula-Hula. But when you scamps get together, you’re worse than a sewing circle.”
“Are you mad?” Floyd asked.
“Not at all,” Mia said. “Being the subject of back-fence gossip goes with the territory, I guess.” She took a sip of her five-dollar shake, and said, “Thanks.”
“Asking my side,” Mia said with a smile.
At that moment, a great oldie-but-goodie blared from the jukebox. Mia looked to where the music was coming from and then turned back to him. “I wanna dance.”
“I’m not much of a dancer,” Floyd said, holding up his hands.
“Now I’m the one getting gypped. I do believe Harley Quinn, your employer, told you to take me out and do whatever I wanted. Well, now I want to dance.”
Floyd smiled and began taking off his wingtips. Mia triumphantly cast her shoes off. He took her hand, escorting her to the dance floor. The two faced each other for a brief moment before they began to dance, then they both broke into a devilish twist. Mia’s version of the twist was that of a sexy cat. Floyd’s was pure Mr. Cool as he got into a hip-swiveling rhythm that would make Chubby Checker proud. He was glad he’d had his dose earlier.
The other dancers on the floor were trying to do the same thing, but Floyd and Mia seemed to be strangely in sync. The two definitely shared a rhythm, and they smiled as they sang along with the last verse of the golden oldie.