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Collymore Calls It

Hop on the A-Train

By Marie WilsonPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 4 min read

Cordelia Collymore is beginning to fall apart beneath her flawless style of dress and coolness of one liners. She and her so-called better half are going to the black and white ball in a matter of hours but she finds only gowns of aubergine, cyan and aquamarine in her closet.

Meanwhile, the Earl of Collymore left at noon to pick up his tux from the dry cleaners, a mere three blocks from the Collymore compound (which, by the way, is not a compound at all but a bungalow) and hasn’t been heard from since.

The sun has set and it’s happy hour. Nextdoor neighbour, Janet Bickleby, insufferable twit and all round busybody, arrives to swill a glass and ask Cordelia if she can borrow her puce pantsuit.

Janet Bickleby

Cordelia tells her: “Puce is no problem, darling, but black or white seems impossible.”

“Oh no, Cordy, what will you wear to the ball?! If I couldn’t source the right ensemble I’d be crying my eyes out! You know me, I can’t help but wear my heart on my sleeve!”

"Cardiac on the cardigan, Janet?" Cordelia downs a flute-full of pink fizz. "What an extremely unattractive prospect.”

“Oh, Cordelia, how can you be so serene about everything?!”

“Champagne, Bickleby, champagne.” Cordelia's famous composure is returning, bubble by bubble.

Photo by Aaron Schwartz

Janet Bickleby pauses pregnantly. “Cordy, I heard today that the Earl was spotted on the A-Train to Mimico.” She glances over the rim of her shades to gauge her friend's reaction.

“I heard that too. And I haven’t a clue what he’d be doing on the A-Train, never mind to Mimico.” In truth she did have a clue.

“Oh!” Janet gushes, the drink rushing to her pea brain. “Isn’t that just like the Earl. So unpredictable! You know, he and I are alike in that respect.”

“What respect is that, Janet?” Cordelia’s Siren Red lips form into a snarl.

“Our unleashed, unplugged, unbridled fury!”

“Don’t mince about with unabridged verbiage, Janet. If you're trying to tell me something, spit it out.”

“Uh…it’s just that…I think we’re like two peas in a pod, the Earl and I.”

By Pickled Stardust on Unsplash

“Another unattractive prospect, if accurate,” Cordelia sneers. "You and the Earl as vegetables."

"Honestly, Cordy," Janet begins, nervously fingering her bead necklace. "If the Earl belonged to me..." She pauses to take a long pull of Madame Clicquot. "...anytime he disappeared like this, I’d throw something – and I don’t mean a party!”

Janet guffaws but Cordelia is not amused. She continues: “You are my best friend, Cord! And I just think that... sometimes you should throw a sherry glass...or the window. That's what I'd do.”

“Darling,” begins Cordelia with a sweet smile, “don’t you know I was there before you, shattering the crystal and smashing Ming vases?”

“I’m trying to help…”

“Bickleby, you belittle my years of studying and starving, of delving and dancing, of walking on eggshells and of walking out all together. You belittle my heart’s quest, not to mention my years of theatrical training!”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“I mean that years ago I dramatized my emotions in public with the best of them - and you are far from the best of them, Janet, I assure you. I spilled my guts on well-manicured lawns and bled all over elegant piazzas! But then one day I looked up and said: Good Lord, I am frightening the children.”


“Don’t Cordy me, Bickleby! And don’t tell me I’m too serene. The world could never have too much serenity. But it could have way too much of you. You’re all over the daytime talk shows.”

“Je protest…”

“Protest away, you little snipe. Don’t you know I’m more complex than your nutshell analyses, your quaint little guilt-ridden packages of explanation tied up neatly with strings of complacency?”

Janet pulls from her purse a handkerchief of chartreuse and cries into it, making a braying sound.

"Stop it, Bickleby! And cease this pretence of helping me just so you can borrow my clothes. You with your Botox lips and disgusting organ on the organza!"

Janet blows her nose.

"Go hop on the A-Train to Mimico, Bickleby, to meet your paramour, the Earl of Nowhere and Nothing.”

The Earl


"No use denying it. The Earl doesn't know he should reset his passwords from time to time. I read your ridiculous correspondence about today's tryst. You're right, the Earl and you are like two peas in a pod."

Cordelia refills her glass. "I have never liked peas."

“Can I still borrow your pantsuit?”Janet whimpers.

"But I do like my pantsuit. And you look terrible in puce. Now get out!”

As Bickleby simpers away, Cordelia marches to her closet and pulls out the most stunning ink-black dress, its hem dripping with snow-white pearls. Throwing it on, she dashes to the ball, tosses back some champagne, then catches the midnight express for Paris.

"Time to reset your password, Cordelia," she says to herself, as she eases into a window seat.

Short Story

About the Creator

Marie Wilson

Harper Collins published my novel "The Gorgeous Girls". My feature film screenplay "Sideshow Bandit" has won several awards at film festivals. I have a new feature film screenplay called "A Girl Like I" and it's looking for a producer.

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