Hedda in Hollywood – prompt



Hedda Hoffman was an underpaid extra starlet, hanging around the Paramount Studio lot waiting for her big time. There were so many hopefuls just like her but she not only had resources, she was also resourceful and no one would ever be able to claim she’d slept her way to the top.

Her wedding ring was a prop and if that wasn’t enough for the groping talent scouts’ hands, Hedda would whisper gently and conspiratorially in their ear that she was suffering from a not-so-rare sexually transmittable disease. That usually cut short any kind of amorous fervour and bodily exploration, but was also risky because she didn’t want to end up as gossip fodder in Louella’s Hollywood Reporter.

So, one step at a time. Yep, it was a men’s business but she wanted to make it on her own terms, not for nothing was her favourite smoking place underneath the big Klieg light, even if the emanating heat liquefied her carefully applied make-up.

7.30 am. There came Mr. Grant, on the dot as usual.  She had skillfully re-arranged the cables so that he had to trip.

And who would catch his fall if not Hedda?

44 life magazine_cropped
Life Magazine 1944

This story emerged from a prompt by Hausauspapier using today’s date (21st Feb in my case). If you want to join in, take the book you are reading or the one closest to you. Open it on page 21 (day), copy the second sentence (month) and add your own sentence or write a whole story.
Mine was David Niven’s autobiography Bring On The Empty Horses about the Golden Age in Hollywood and the sentence was ‘Kick her up the ass!’ Sure enough Hedda went into action again.
I’m carrying this clever prompt forward and you are invited to participate with a link in the comments section or by leaving a comment.

And if the muse sticks by you – here is the link to a Dangerous Liaisons prompt. 

I’m looking forward to your contributions!


48 thoughts on “Hedda in Hollywood – prompt

  1. Even if Assia had only been playing with him that Sunday morning, he was still aroused by the excitement of the chase. And how could he resist the urge to rekindle that old flame, “Desire”, the essence and core of his poetic muse. (From “Capriccio”, manuscript to be published by a friend about the love affair between Ted Hughes and Assia Wevill. (See “Writing Matters” by Dina Davis https://dinadavis2015.wordpress.com/category/ted-hughes/)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pleased to report that the media in general agree with me that the journalist and his editor who made front page racist false claims of rape should be fired. Journo made an apology but the paper/editor posted a small apology that got lost on the second page. They admitted absolutely zero research before publishing … the woman obviously has a problem and he just didn’t pick it up or check it out.

        In most professions one would be fined, reprimanded or fired for such negligence – should be a criminal charge for inciting hatred! Media plays a lead role in change factors and I’m sure articles are usually verified before publishing such bigoted trash!

        Investigative journalists are responsible for shining the light on many errors eg Spotlight. Keep up the good work!

        PS As this is your blog you can edit my comments down as you wish … just needed to vent, thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That was amusing. Here’s my story …

    Such was his upbringing, one in which any and indeed all riotous emotion was necessarily sacrificed at the temple of rational thought, that Marcel never explicitly approved of any public displays of ingratitude, even now when his better judgement conferred that the impatience was somehow justified, and so he sank deeper into his seat, sensing the same level of smouldering embarrassment he always imagined those second-rate divas must experience when they’re heckled at the Opera, or else those work colleagues of father’s, members of the lower echelons whom, for reasons obscure to him even now had accepted his papa’s invitation to dinner and proceeded to use all the cutlery in the wrong order and altogether shamelessly at that, clinking and clattering the stainless steel implements with such gay abandon, despite the disquieting presence of royalty, so that all eyes were inevitably focused on those unwary, unprimed colleagues in an attempt to preempt the next terrible faux-pas, although nobody, it can be mercifully concluded, was ever so jejune to stamp their feet and resorted, at most, to merely clearing their throat, prompting the kind of distraction, welcome ultimately in this vaguely humiliating context, to encourage mother to wheel out a nice steaming pot of infusion and those magical Madeleines again, although it must also be said …

    Prompted by an unusually short sentence in the 3rd volume of ‘Remembrance Of Things Past’ by Marcel Proust: “It was followed by an interval so long that the audience, who had returned to their places, grew impatient and began to stamp their feet.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice one! I love those Type of characters. Especially on the Hollywood of those years and very often I wonder myself “what happened to that lady in the chorus?”… Impossible to contribute this time…it was clear I have not a clue of how to write in my preview “contribution” , I am reading know a horrendous job description for a more horrendous job offer and I have completely forgotten my WordPress password… Anyway, nice fiction and nice contributions…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for reading and your comment, Peter. I’m happy you share the same fascination with the fate of the chorus girls as I.
      But you should know that claiming to have no writing talent is no excuse in these parts… I let you off this time but the next one you’ll be in! I enjoyed your commuter existential love story CLING very much.
      Good luck with the job hunting, though you know that you don’t have to suffer pointlessly and that you can do what you love and get paid for it? All you have to do is take full responsibility for your life and all your decisions…
      keep me posted on that 🙂


  4. My new Thomas Mann sentence starts off with the fuzzy impersonal pronoun ‘it’ (presumably denoting art, it’s vintage Thomas Mann after all) but that chestnut is old and tired: nobody talks about art in commercial fiction anymore (commercial fiction, exclaims Dagmar). A more modern referent is required–so, dear reader, I will provide one: strangulation. Actually, self-strangulation if the picture prompt is to be of any use in this exercise. You will agree that the practice is somewhat fastidious, taking place in a cloister-like environment–an over-refinement , if you will. But since Betty Blissom (pictured at top–a.k.a Hedda Gabler, a different one) is to be the heroine in a nouveau noir detective series, strangulation is best left for insignificant and pestiferous characters, otherwise the series is dead on arrival.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Naturally I was going to write a story about a drag queen, which was the subtext, I think, of my sentence prompt (using Death in Venice–a badly translated Death in Venice, which may explain my frequent hallucinations). You’d think I’d been reading Jean Genet! The sentence was half a page long and nearly incomprehensible. The lesson here is either to use prompts from books that are written in English, or to learn a thimbleful of select languages, thereby neutralizing the pernicious effect of shoddy translations. Thank goodness you were able to wheedle a sweetly syphilitic tale from Empty Horses–and no translation was required!

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      1. Müsste er sich anstrengen, wenn er nicht schon tot wäre, was natürlich bedauerlich, allerdings bleiben uns damit weitere Schachtelsätze erspart und sowieso auch die vielen Enthüllungen, vor denen auch der große, fast schon als Heiliger verehrte Mann in unserem Enthüllungszeitalter nicht verschont geblieben wäre, da wäre er entzaubert worden, ich frage mich ja immer noch, was auch

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Genauso sehe ich das auch, a pretty nasty Vater und Zeitgenosse, der leider gute Schachtelsaetze schrieb. Ich weiss noch in einer Sendung mit Reich-Ranicki der Mann unsympathischerweise und unelegant verteidigte, weil er ja ein so Grosser und ueberhaupt die bösen Stimmen…


  6. Nice game with the following reading result: The socalled ‘dog grotto’ in Naples is simply a subterranean lake of carbondioxide which suffocates dogs that enter it. I will think of this when I step next time in any of these greasy dog’s ‘remainings’ somewhere in the city.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, the gas is sinking to the ground at an height of 0,4 m or so, but I would truly not bet on it. So I really need to go now to the real underground of my town soon (old bunkers, forgotten tunnels and things like that).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think that the humans would have to join the dogs on the ground and stick their noses down into the gutter. On second thought why does this phenomena not kill humans? ; )


  7. “”Hush”, says the boy.”
    No, I don’t wanna hide anymore- I am what I am, answers the girl.

    (This short sentence is from All the light we cannot see written by Anthony Doerr.)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. (oh, auf deutsch ist besser!- für mich jedenfalls)
        Warum sollte er den Umschlag öffnen, wo er ihr doch vorher schon gesagt hatte, dass er von der ganzen Sachen nichts hören wollte?


      1. He da, Hedda, sagte sie zu sich selbst, das ist dein bester Fang im Netz. Grant, einmal eingewickelt und eingekabelt, der käme ihr so schnell nicht aus. Hedda, durchaus ein pragmatisches Fräulein, wusste, dass sie, um gegen die ganzen Garbo- und Dietrich-Verschnitte auf den Studiogelände anzukommen, zu anderen Methoden greifen musste. Und Cary Grant, das war bekannt, hatte als ausgemachter Tolpatsch ein Faible für handwerklich begabte Menschen. „Das haben wir gleich“, murmelte sie, bückte sich und half Grant aus dem Kabelsalat. „Dem Studio schenke ich bei nächster Gelegenheit mal ordentliche Kabelklemmer“, sagte sie zum im. Grant starrte sie beeindruckt an. Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind, dann kabeln sie sich noch heute…

        Mir fiel nichts besseres ein …. müde auf der Couch 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. super! ich hab beim Lesen die Szene vor mir gesehen, wie Cary zu ihr aufschaut und dabei versucht nonchalant seinen Schuh aus der Kabelschlaufe zu ziehen… Aber die lustigen Feinheiten sind mir erst nach mehrmaligem Lesen bewusst geworden, z.B. He da, Hedda 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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