Her breath was as sweet as the whisper of a Panama wind.
An emerald green dress encircled her body like a designer vine that
had wrapped itself around a magnificent flowering tree.
And those eyes
They were any man's drug, piercing your soul like
a junkie's needle.
They left you shaken and shattered, after one lingering glance.
And, yet, you couldn't help but want more.
These are some of the things I remember about my date with Marilyn
It all began when I entered a recent "Date with the Dead"
contest - and won! First was a lunch date with Humphrey Bogart, followed
by every male baby boomer's dream, a dinner with Marilyn!
I agonized for days over which restaurant to choose for the occasion.
Perhaps a dark romantic setting, that would allow for hand holding
and intimate confidences?
The jerk in me, on the other hand, wanted to go to a big brightly lit
place where I could show off my "date" to the world.
I chose the former, arriving only moments before she would appear.
In a shadowed room full of flickering candles, she was suddenly standing
behind me, reading the menu over my shoulder.
"Oooo, everything looks delicious!" she whispered. I caught
a whiff of jasmine in the air, and I turned awkwardly, causing her perfumed
hair to brush my cheek. My backbone dissolved.
"May I sit down?" she teased as I tried for several moments
to start breathing again.
She giggled, and sat down, before I could get up to pull out her chair.
"You're laughing at me," I said, feeling not at all hurt
by her playful introduction. "But, how did you know it was me you
"Well, you kind of looked nervous, like somebody waiting for a
blind date. Besides," she continued, easily reaching across the
table to touch my hand, "I seem to know a lot more, now that I'm
dead. It's a real eye opener, when you get past the icky parts."
I made a mental note to never wash my hand again.
"Tell me," she asked eagerly, like a kid inquiring about
Disneyland, "What's the 21st century like? Do people still fall
in love, and sing songs, and dance close and slow? If we wanted to,
could we still go to a movie, and eat buckets of popcorn, and neck in
the back row?"
"Cheque please!" I called snapping my fingers at the waiter.
Then we both laughed, and stared into each other's eyes for a long
"You're nice," she murmured. "I remember lots of dates
where I was getting hit on before the appetizer arrived. Or else, I
was only there for the guy to show off and look big - like I was an
expensive new sports car, or something."
I mentally genuflected, thankful of my decision regarding restaurant
Just then, our poor waiter arrived at the table.
"Did you really want your cheque, sir? You haven't ordered anything?!"
"No, I'm sorry. Please bring us some champagne, and ask the chef
for his best recommendation!"
He stood staring at Marilyn, while I repeated the order.
Time seemed to stand still as we talked.
"I love champagne," she laughed as the bubbles tickled her
nose. "This whole night, the champagne, the candles, dinner, and
it's elegant. I think you're elegant."
I blushed, for the first time in living memory.
"You know," I said after a moment, "you are still worshipped
and adored, by anyone who ever saw your face on a magazine or on a movie
screen. Have you got any sage advice for me about the art of love? I'm
afraid it's always been one of my weaker subjects.
"I mean, it seemed like it was a lot more fun, and a lot more
romantic when you and Tony Curtis fell in love in 'Some Like It Hot.'
Or when you and Tom Ewell shared an air conditioner in "The Seven
She thought for a moment and then replied, "Love is like rain,
it falls out of the sky, right on your head! And, if you're wise, you
laugh and dance in the puddles, 'til the earth drinks it up and it's
A sad look crept into her beautiful face, and I could find no words.
"The trouble with people is they want to turn everything into
politics," she frowned. "Love isn't about negotiating terms
of endearment; it's not a contract. It's a wonderful sad ache - you
catch it like a virus.
"Then, you shiver, get feverish, for as long as it lasts, and
the delirium makes the world into a mad painting full of wonderful bright
"So, you're telling me that you get rained on, catch a cold, and
burn up with a fever?"
"Sort of," she said thoughtfully. "But, mostly, love
is feeling safe with someone. Safe from the world, safe to be yourself,
and safe to give your heart
You make me feel safe."
As I began shivering, the room got a lot more colorful.
"Who was 'THE' one for you?" I asked. "Haggerty, DiMaggio,
Arthur Miller?" (I held off mentioning any Kennedys.)
"They were all sweet, and strong, and alive in their own ways,"
she smiled, staring at the dying candle between us. "But I never
found 'THE ONE.' Maybe I should have stuck around longer..."
She looked up for a moment. The candle had gone out and I couldn't
quite tell whether a single crystal tear had welled up in the corner
of her eye.
"I'm going to sign my coaster for you," she declared suddenly,
scribbling on the back of the small cardboard disk in front of her.
"Maybe you'll keep it as a momento of our night tonight,"
she said as she excused herself to visit the "powder room."
By the time I'd killed the third bottle of champagne and settled the
bill, she had not returned.
I reached across the table for the coaster. It read: "I'm sorry
I have to go. I think I'm catching a cold. Love X Marilyn
As I stepped back into the black and white night, the last few puddles
from an early evening rain were sparkling like diamonds as they caught
the light of a lone street lamp. A clear sky, full of stars, suggested
all would be dry by the morning.
Norm's spoken word CD I Am the Night
(2005) includes this story.
For Part one: "Dates With
the Dead: Part One - Lunch with Bogie"
See the list of Norm's on-line lyrics, poetry
and prose, including other Taxi News columns.