Gladys wakes up
1922, New York City, WAY Off Broadway
The annoying--well, it would have been annoying had she not been so drunk--blinking neon VACANCY sign was gradually replaced by bright sunlight. Gladys ignored the glare as long as she could. She reached across the bed. Where was he? Gladys reluctantly opened her eyes. Just that simple motion reminded her that she and her husband Bonner had had far too much to drink last night. With even more reticence, she called out, as sweetly as she could manage...which still sounded more like a croak: "Bonner, where are you?"
She received no answer. Which she half expected.
The wedding ceremony last night, right after the last show, had been beautiful. Gladys would never forget it. She and The Great Bonner stood on the street corner under the full moon and recited their vows of eternal love to one another. They ignored the few pedestrians who gave them strange looks. After this most unorthodox and unauthorized by the state of New York marriage, they checked into the cheap hotel as Mr. and Mrs. Glass.
She had been going to the show for the last six days. Yesterday had been the last night he would appear at that theater Bonner finally called her up onto the stage. He tried to put the ten volunteers on stage into a hypnotic trance. Seven of them appeared to go into the trance. The ones he could tell who didn't go 'under' he sent back into the audience. Of course, sometimes someone puts on a good enough act of being hypnotized that this person is not sent back into the audience, and then ridicules the hypnotist for being such a fool. That did not happen last night.
Bonner made Gladys the star of the show, making her act like a dog and the queen of England. The audience howled with laughter. Even if she had been aware of what she was doing, Gladys likely would not have cared, as she always came to the theater alone, and she didn't know anyone in the audience, as far as she knew.
After her performance, Bonner gave Gladys a hypnotic command to meet him after the show in his dressing room. Bonner liked women. Actually, Bonner liked what women could do for him to satisfy his sexual desires. That summed up Bonner's interest in women. Shortly thereafter, the faux 'wedding' took place.
Gladys sang softly to herself, "Bring back, bring back, bring back my Bonner to me, to me," over and over again. When she tired of doing that, she finally dragged herself off of the creaky bed. She found her clothes and put them on as she found them on the floor. She stood at the sink and looked in the mirror. To say she looked 'worse for wear' would be kind. She washed up as best she could, and sat down on the bed. She dared not lie down again, as checkout time was fast approaching.
After the dressing room meeting, but before the street corner wedding, Gladys and the Great Bonner dined at an Italian restaurant. Bonner had wanted to go to the Greek place, but Gladys insisted upon the Italian bistro. Even a hypnotist's powers of persuasion aren't always effective.
Gladys had been impressed by Bonner, despite his ham-fisted hypnotic methods. She always waited until the last show, though. After the last show, the act would be out of town. The Italian restaurant had the low lighting she preferred. Unlike Bonner, she never 'commanded' anyone to do anything, or used a corny prop like a swinging timepiece to assist her. Her eyes and her 'suggestions' were enough.
Once she got Bonner, who was simply her latest 'husband', to look deep into her eyes over a plate of shared spaghetti and meatballs, it was easy enough to roll her hazel eyes slowly while she said things like, "You truly love me. You want to support me for the rest of your life. You can surely give me all the money you made this week." She always asked only for the money made during the week. After all, she wasn't crass enough to be GREEDY!
Gladys took her wallet out her purse. She always loved how chubby and well-fed it looked the day after. She checked out of the hotel. When she got down to the street, she hailed a cab and returned to her Park Avenue apartment.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 05, 2020:
Enjoyable tale and quite a twist that caught me by surprise.