On the day I went to get a passport photo, a last-minute pic, I stood in front of the photographer while a certain someone danced silently behind her, making faces like a clown. The woman took the shot, never questioning why I wanted a passport photo that made me appear like a constipated chipmunk with murder in my eyes. Once I saw the picture, I didn’t have time to do it over again. Somehow, the State Department approved the ghastly thing to the consternation of airport security personnel everywhere.
I've since learned that people are allowed to take their own passport photos. If I’d only known.
The image above is a self-portrait, of sorts. A few years back, Harrell and I thought it would be fun to host a Murder Mystery Dinner on Halloween. We’d been to exactly one Murder Mystery Dinner in our entire lives, and it was a miserable thing. By the time the culprit was revealed, I wanted to kill the dinner’s organizers. Bad food, bad dialogue, and so borrrrrrrrrrrrrring.
We thought a good Murder Mystery Dinner would be wonderful experience. We were certain we could write a better one.
We were mistaken.
Harrell and I each tried writing a scenario on our own, then we tried it together, and the “together” version was better but, still, the flow wasn’t quite right. It felt a little wobbly. Maybe a little boring. Ignoring these warning signs, we forged ahead. We made character lists and backgrounds, created some simple costume pieces for our guests to wear, and we collected a number of props. One of our props was this painting of me with my tongue stuck out and my eyes appearing a little glassy. The self-portrait was to be revealed after the murder. It was either going to get a laugh while providing a clue to solving the mystery, or its appearance was just going to confuse everyone.
(The clue? The victim’s tongue tilts to the right. I knew you were wondering, I wanted to share.)
Reading our multipage Murder Mystery Dinner scenario, the Good Witch appeared lost by page three. I could see by the fear in her eyes that she was afraid I’d invite her to the dinner. When Harrell shared that he might not be able to make it, either – and it was to be held in our own home – we decided it might be best to bury the project. The manuscript still exists, buried in a foot locker among a half-dozen other dead writing projects, but neither of us is excited enough to revisit it.
It just struck me that the only thing that died after all of our work was the Murder Mystery Dinner.
Once it was scrapped, I turned the prop over to my guy to cut up and dispose of the painting. I can be a touch precious about some of my artwork, but not with this sadness. This week, sorting through a line of paintings to (a) keep, (b) sell, or (c) introduce to a reciprocating saw, I discovered that my zombie twin had never gone to its grave. Because my goofy expression made Harrell laugh, my partner had kept it.
By the end of this week, this ridiculous combo of oil and board is going on a date with the carbide teeth of a saw even if I have to do the cutting myself.