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Anything Goes

  (inspired by Kate Capshaw's comments on the Today show, May, 1984.  All similarities to Destry Rides Again are strictly deliberate <G>.  This story first appeared in Well of the Souls #5 published in 1984.)

San Francisco was a lively, bustling town in 1937. Its famous port had made it the center for travel and commerce for the West Coast from the time of the clipper ships to the time of the China Clipper. For some, it was a gateway to success in Hollywood; for others, it was a pathway to fortune and glory in the Orient. This was still true, despite the fact that travel to the East was decreasing. Japan's attacks on China, which had given her control over more and more territory, had frightened many people out of traveling to the area that year.

 

Such was not the case with Indiana Jones. The Japanese occupation and an  urgent message from an old colleague in Peking were the reasons for his trip.

Tonight, however, such serious matters were far from his mind. He planned to enjoy the night-life of San Francisco with his girlfriend and assistant, Marion Ravenwood.

 

Their cab let them out in front of one of the better nightclubs.  Indy helped Marion out, and for once she let him, maneuvering carefully, unaccustomed as she was to her long skirt and spike heels.  He gave her his arm and they entered together.  When they were shown to their table, the blonde vocalist was already in the middle of her act.

 

 

But now I tell each young gazelle

To go to Hell--I mean Hades

For since I've come to care

For such a sweet millionaire

While pairin' off a game of golf  

I may make a play for the caddie

But when I do, I don't follow through

'Cause my heart belongs to Daddy

If I invite a boy some night

To dine on my fine finnan haddie

I just adore his asking for more

But my heart belongs to Daddy

Yes my heart belongs to Daddy

So I simply couldn't be bad

Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy

Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dvah

So I want to warn you laddies

Though I think you're perfectly swell

That my heart belongs to Daddy

'Cause my Daddy, he treats it so well

He treats it and treats it

and then he repeats it Yes, Daddy, he treats it so well *

The couple was just sitting down when Indy noticed something. "Your hair's falling down again." He grinned teasingly, playing with the long strand that had come loose from its carefully-arranged upsweep.

"God-DAMN-it! Again! I swear I'm going to get my hair bobbed."

Indy chuckled. He'd heard this argument before. "Sure. If you really wanted it that way, you'd have done it long ago. You like it long as much as I do. It's pretty that way."

Marion had only been half-listening to him as she visually searched the room for some sign of a Ladies' Lounge. "Be back as soon as I get this fixed up." Indy watched her appreciatively as she left, thinking how much the blue satin gown with its slight decolletage and side slits to the knees became her.

Indy ordered their drinks from the waiter, then his attention went back to the floor show. Rather, it went back to what he could see of the show from their less-than-impressive table. The soloist had since switched to another song.

When every night the set that's smart

Is intruding in nudist parties

In studios,

anything goes

When Rockefeller still can hoard Enough money to let Max Gordon Produce his shows, anything goes

The world has gone mad today And good's bad today

And black's white today And day's night today And that gent today You gave a cent today Once had several chateaux

When folks who still can ride in jitneys Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys

Lack baby clothes, anything goes

That song made Indy remember an adventure which had started with a blonde singing the same song in Shanghai two years before. His eyes widened in astonishment. He bent forward, leaning his elbows on the table, peered more closely at the singer, then reached into the pocket of his black dinner jacket for his glasses. He was right. Willie Scott. The last he had heard of her, she was headed home to Missouri, or wherever it was she was from. Now, it looked as if she hadn't given up her show business aspirations after all.

When San Goldwyn can

 

With great conviction

 

Instruct Anna Sten in diction  

Then Anna shows, anything goes

Just think of those shocks you've got and those knocks you've got

 

and those blues you've got

 

From the news you've got

 

And those pains you've got

(If any brains you've got)

From those little radios

 

When Mrs. R., with all her trimmin's

Can broadcast a bed from Simmons 'Cause Franklin knows, anything goes**

The audience burst into polite applause as Willie finished her act. She among the tables, greeting fans and local VIPs. She visited a few tables, passing within earshot of Indy's. "Hiya, Willie. Find that prince you were looking for yet?"

She whirled, startled, looking for the source of this voice out of her "Why, Dr. Jones. What a surprise. Did you ever find that fortune and of yours?" She seated herself in the empty chair at his table.

    "Occasionally." He looked pointedly around the room. "This doesn't look like Missouri to me, doll."

     "After being the best singer in Shanghai, I sure wasn't going back to live on a farm like some hick hayseed! They don't feed you snake before ripping your guts out and lowering you into hot pits here either. I'm as much of a celebrity in Frisco now as I was before you shoved me through that window in Shanghai. I just got a studio contract and they tested me for Scarlett 0'Hara."

"What's that? Something important?"

Willie was annoyed. That treasure-hunting academic was so ignorant of the important things in life. "Only the most important role to come along in the ten years, IndiANA. Don't tell me you've never heard of Gone with the Wind!

"Vaguely. Something about the Civil War, isn't it? So you're going to be a movie star. Shorty'll be very impressed. Maybe you can get Jean Harlow's autograph for him."

She ignored his implication that he was not impressed. "How is the kid, anyway?

"Oh, he's fine. He's in a mission school a friend of mine runs for Chinese refugee kids in Oakland. You'll get to see him this summer, if you want to. He's spending his vacation working for a traveling circus. Doing the whip act," he concluded, deadpan.

"I wonder where he got that..."

 

"Excuse me. That's my seat you're in." Marion had returned.

Willie glanced up briefly, then finished her sentence. "...idea. At least it beats those lousy elephants."

"You hear me, sister? I said, get out of my seat."

"Marion Ravenwood, Willie Scott. Willie and I met a couple of years ago in Shanghai. Willie, I think you've got some fans over there who want to speak to you." Indy was desperately trying to avoid a confrontation between the two women.

"They can wait." Who did that skinny, hard-eyed brunette think she was, anyway, telling a star what to do?

Marion saw no way of budging the blonde outside of hurling her across the floor; not a good move in a high-class nightclub. She decided on the subtle approach instead. She borrowed a chair from a nearby table and established herself firmly between Indy and the blonde. Making herself comfortable, she lit a cigarette, blowing the smoke not-so-subtly in the direction of the singer. She only smoked occasionally, and it was just luck that she happened to have a pack in her evening bag.

The tension in the air was nearly strong enough to cause spontaneous combustion as the two women sized each other up_. Willie looked the brunette's hair and make-up over critically, then dismissed her as any serious competition. Marion, huh? Well, no-one'd ever mistake her for Marion Davies. She was too tall and bony to really be attractive, and as for those atrocious freckles...! Willie was appalled. The woman didn't even attempt to cover them up! The singer ran a delicate finger thoughtfully down her smooth white skin, thinking of the hours she spent with cremes and lotions, making sure it stayed that way. In fact, this Marion wore no makeup except for lipstick, and the color she used didn't even become her. It didn't even match her nail polish, for she wasn't wearing any on her dowdily short fingernails. Willie regarded her own carefully manicured and polished nails with satisfaction. They exactly matched her lipstick in Tangee's newest shade, Jungle Red. Indiana Jones must be getting desperate these days. You wouldn't think someone that cute would be seen in public with a woman like that. After all, she didn't even pluck her eyebrows!

Marion scrutinized Willie carefully, taking in the heavy makeup, stiffly permed and lacquered hair, impractically long and perfectly painted fingernails and the valuable, yet tastelessly showy jewelry she wore. Bleached blonde bimbo! was her conclusion. With all the brains of a bowl of Jello, to boot. Cut the bust measurement in half and you've got her I.Q. Probably couldn't even hold down this job if she didn't have a "sugardaddy" taking care of things. Chances were she'd never done a real day's work in her entire life, just had everything fall easily into her lap. Marion wondered how the hell Indy had gotten involved with a golddigger like her. This one would only be interested in rich men, and what they could do for her. Indy would have been no help to her on either score. I bet he knows how close to her real color that blonde actually is, though, she thought with more than a twinge of jealousy.

The waiter finally arrived with their drinks, creating a welcome diversion. Willie gestured to the man and he returned shortly with a Martini for her. So much for any hope of her leaving. Indy felt that even snakes might be better than the awkward situation he was in now. He took a long swallow of bourbon and his brain raced as he tried to think of a topic of conversation which would break the tension. He rummaged in his trouser pocket and came up with a battered-looking wallet totally at odds with his formal attire. "Shorty gave me a copy of his itinerary when we went to see him. We won't be here to use it, but you will." He handed Willie a folded paper, which she took and tucked into her bosom. "Kid hasn't changed a bit. Dragged us out to some airfield in the boondocks so he could see Amelia Earhart take off on that round-the-world flight." Willie looked blank.

"You do know who Earhart is, don't you, sister?"

"What do you think, I'm stupid?"

"You said it, I didn't." Now that her cigarette was finished, Marion twisted the butt viciously into the ashtray. She then picked up her Scotch and swallowed it in one well-practiced gulp, returning the glass to the table with a triumphant thump.

Willie was seething. She had to keep reminding herself that she was a lady, no matter what. She turned to Indy, batting her eyes. "Then you're not staying in Frisco?"

"No. Marion and I," he emphasized the combination, looking warningly at Willie, "are leaving for China in two days."

"What a shame. I was hoping I could show you a bit of the town before you go. You'd have a lot more fun than you would chasing any old mummies in China. I'm always being invited to nice parties. I think I could even get you into one at San Simeon. Maybe you and Mr. Hearst could do some business."

"I'll BET they could. Look, toots, maybe you're too dumb to see what's right in front of your face, so I'll tell you straight out. This guy's with me. He told you that, I told you that, so why don't you just run along? Go see what the boys in the back room will have, or something. If you hurry you'll probably be able to find another customer for tonight." Despite a warning kick in the ankle from Indy, Marion continued. "Cheer up. Your price is probably out of Jones' league anyway."

"Marion..." Indy started angrily, but it was too late.

Willie'd had it. "How DARE you!" Her hand swung out to slap Marion hard across the face.

Marion responded with a right cross which knocked her opponent backward onto the floor. "If the shoe fits, sweetheart...." Willie picked herself up dazedly, then hurled herself at Marion with an inarticulate yell. The two women crashed into the table, knocking it over. Indy managed to rescue his bourbon before the table went, and gulped the rest of it before trying to break up the fight.

Their struggles had meanwhile carried them towards a nearby empty table

that had yet to be cleared. Willie spied something and took a second out from tearing at Marion's hair to reach for it. "Try this on those freckles!" She tossed the contents of a half bowl of sour cream straight into Marion's face. Marion spluttered, then ran a hand across her face to clear it, wiping that hand off on Willie's Irene original. She shoved Willie against that table, trying to get a wrestling hold on the blonde as she was being kicked and scratched by her.

The bandleader looked out in dismay at the fight which was ruining his group's performance. He turned to the band and had them strike up a recent local favorite.  A young soprano back-up singer whose henna-rinsed hair gave her a not-too-accidental resemblance to Jeanette MacDonald, accompanied them in a last-ditch attempt to draw attention from the fracas on the floor.

San Francisco

Open your Golden Gate You'll let no stranger wait outside your door...

Indy was meanwhile circling the duo, looking for an opening to break up the fight. He tried to pull them apart and intercepted a roundhouse punch from Marion instead, while receiving some sharp high kicks from a pair of spike heels. He beat a hasty retreat. "Damn! Nearly ruined me for life." He thought quickly, his eyes searching the room for something to use to separate the combatants. In the background he could hear people starting to make bets on the outcome of the fight. The penetrating voice of the soprano, attempting to organize a group sing, echoed annoyingly inside his head. Shorty or no Shorty, he never had liked Jeanette MacDonald's singing. He spotted a fire extinguisher on a column not far away, and started making his way toward it. Halfway there he changed his mind. In front of him was a cart on which the busboy was putting things from the tables he was clearing. In the center of the cart was an oversized bucket which had been used to chill a large quantity of champagne. It was full of water and half-melted ice. Indy hoisted the bucket, looked to see how the fight was going, then set off in that direction.

San Francisco

Here is your wand'ring one Saying I wander

No more...

He reached them, maneuvered himself into a good position, then emptied the bucket, drenching the two entirely. They sprang apart and Willie crawled a little way away, looking as if she were going to cry.

Other places only make me Love you best

Tell me you're the heart Of all the golden West

"You lousy son of a bitch!" Between growing up on digs all over the world and running a bar in the middle of a smuggling route between China and India, Marion had picked up a varied and descriptive vocabulary of obscenities. She was so furious that she forgot where she was and proceeded to use her knowledge to tell both Willie and Indy precisely what she thought of them, picking half-melted ice cubes out of her cleavage and throwing them at Jones. This amused Indy, despite the situation. Comparing her with Willie made him realize what he liked most about Marion; her spirit. She was a gutsy gal, a fighter, not a whiner.

 

A waiter and a busboy had hurried over to clean up the mess once it was safe. Fortunately, nothing had actually been broken. Indy slipped the waiter a bill which more than covered their drinks and got Marion's purse so they could leave.

The waiter was shocked by Marion's outburst. "Madam, please control yourself. There ARE ladies present." He muttered under his breath, "And I thought Carole Lombard had a dirty mouth!" Indy grabbed both of Marion's wrists in his hand as she started to take a swing at the man.

The back-up singer warbled on, apparently figuring that if it had worked in the movie against an earthquake, it would work here.

...Outside your door

San Francisco

Here is your wand'ring one

Saying I wander no more

 

"Will you cool off? I don't want to have to bail you out tonight." Indy dragged her along behind him towards the door, until she tripped over one of Willie's heels, lost during their struggle. She picked it up and pitched it at the singer, who was picking herself up off the floor. It hit her right in the small of the back. As they beat a hasty retreat to the accompaniment of cheers and catcalls from the part of the audience not involved with the floorshow, they heard her wailing, "But how will I ever explain this to Miss Parsons?!?"

San Francisco

Welcome me home again I'm coming home

To go roaming no more!

While all this was going on, two men at one of the best tables were settling their bet. "That's two hundred you owe me, David. Looks to me like you tested the wrong girl. I think that brunette'd be a natural, and she's not even a client of mine."

His brother laughed. "But I wouldn't put it past you to try signing her up, Myron. You've tried your damnedest to get every other possibility who's not under contract. You're right about the girl, though. She'd probably test a lot better than the blonde, and just think of the publicity I could get out of two of my prospects getting into a catfight. It'd be even better than testing Eleanor Roosevelt's maid."

"Might be just as well. I don't think she'd be too agreeable to being chased around your office. If she didn't try and knock your head off, the big guy with her probably would." His brother regretfully agreed, and the men's attention went back, at least temporarily, to the show on stage.

"So much for our big night out on the town, Jones," Marion said as they

got outside. "We'd better get back to the hotel so I can get this thing cleaned before it's ruined. I paid a small fortune for this fancy dress and it's the only one I've got, so if it's ruined, you're paying for it."

 

Indy stooped dead in the middle of hailing a cab. He whirled to face her, emphasizing his point with an outstretched finger. "Just a Goddamned minute! You started the fight; I didn't. All I did was try to break it up before you two destroyed the place. If the dress's ruined, it's nobody's fault but your own. You shouldn't have pushed her that far. You certainly can't afford to talk, considering how you earned your keep after Abner died." That something they never spoke of, but Indy was furious, and disappointed in Marion. It wasn't like her to be such a hypocrite.

Her face hardened and she planted her fists firmly on her hips. Wearing heels, she was tall enough to look Indy right in the eyes. "There's a hell of a big difference, buster. I didn't have a choice. I did it to survive--and I quit the second I had a chance. That bitch is either too lazy or too stupid to pull her own freight without someone to take care of her. She's got it real easy. She just gets anything she wants without a bit of effort. I should be so lucky! I had to work damn hard for everything I've got, including that five grand I used for a grubstake. And speaking of people who can't afford to talk, I remember how mad you were in Egypt when you found out I'd gotten that dress from the Frenchman. If it had been some guy I knew who parked himself at the table and tried to pick me up while you were sitting there, you would have been calm and polite, huh? Like hell you would. You can just kiss my ass!" she concluded, stalking away.

He couldn't blame her, he supposed, for resenting Willie after the tough life she'd led. To be totally fair, he had to admit that she had a point about what might have happened if their situations had been reversed. In some ways, they were a lot alike. Maybe that was why they understood each other so well. I see what you mean," he said softly. "I wasn't really interested in her, you know. In Shanghai she was a gangster's moll that I ended up dragging along because she had the antidote to a poison he'd given me. Regretted it for most of the trip. She's just not my type."

"You've got types?" she asked sarcastically.

"Yeah. Lanky brunettes with wicked jaws. And even wickeder right hooks," he added, rubbing his jaw with a small, embarrassed smile. "Looks like she clawed you up pretty well." He stroked the finger marks on her face from Willie's slaps. Then he gently traced the scratches on her face and shoulders with one finger, his eyes twinkling. "Where DOESN'T it hurt?"

She studied him uncertainly for a few moments before she understood his unspoken apology. Her anger faded as she replied in kind, a mischievous expression on her face. "Wouldn't you like to know! But I think it'd be, more

interesting if you find out for yourself."

"My thoughts exactly. As long as we have to go back to the hotel anyway, we can have a nice quiet, private dinner in our room while I'm getting you patched up. You'd better get out of those wet things, too, before you catch a chill." He took off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders as he spoke.

 

He chuckled, shaking his head ruefully as they settled back into the cab, his arm thrown protectively around her shoulders.

 

"What's so funny?"

"It's amazing how little people really change. The worst thing about that broad's STILL the noise!"

* "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" @1937

** "Anything Goes" @ 1934 by Noel Coward from his play "Anything Goes" # "San Francisco" 1936 by Gus Kahn, Bronislaw Kaper, and Walter Jarman from the MGM picture "San Francisco"