Swinging on the Stars

Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are…


The two of us drifted lazily in the shared beams of an unfamiliar moon. The solar system where our temporal lives had played out their stories was now a distant memory. So, too, were the corporeal bodies we’d once inhabited. Now, together, we sail through the universe, sharing a thirst for the onward journey. We hurtle through far-off galaxies, feeding on the wonders around us.

We swing on the stars.

During our temporal existence, our paths never crossed. Now we are constant, eternal companions.

Pausing our journey, we mingle with the moonbeams bathing a planet reminiscent of the one that spawned us. Old memories surface; with them, our sleeping humanity rouses. Recollections make us, once again, almost human.

“Look,” said Norma, “a shooting star!”


After timeless travels throughout the universe, her child-like wonder continues. Tinkling laughter dances lightly through my mind. It is her laughter.

The star’s incandescence quickly fades. Norma’s wistful thoughts restrain me, thwarting my desire to track the flaming object, to follow its path wherever it might lead.

I swing on the stars.


“There was a time they called me a shooting star, said I was brilliant, that I lit up the silver screen…”

I said nothing. What use have I for ancient memories? The journey was onward.

“They weren’t all bad, you know. The years with Joe – they were good. He loved me. He might have been the only one…”

I stayed silent, sealing my mind against past regrets.

“But other years… I slept through those, wrapped in barbiturate dreams of stars and moonbeams. I suppose my star travel really began back then.”

Her anguish sent currents of sorrow eddying through me, evoking human feelings that had long lain dormant.

“I spent years staring at stars while Mama spent years in the nut house, while foster daddies took terrible liberties, and made me ripe for old men with filthy desires hiding behind screen tests. And to what end? A 30 second walk-on while the camera watched my ass…

“But my Joe… He thought he wanted Marilyn, but it was Norma Jean he really wanted. But I’d lost her a long time ago.”

I longed to be off, but her grief held me. “Then the years with Frank and Dean?”

“Funny I’ve never run into any of the guys.”

“It’s a big universe, Norma; we’ve never run into the Kennedys either…”

“Don’t speak of them. At the end, I was vulnerable… four years shy of forty, time catching up to me…”

Sadness dimmed the stars.

“In the end, it wasn’t the users or abusers that made me do it.”

Her eyes briefly materialized. In their blueness, I glimpsed the tears of a thousand sunsets.

“In the end, it was the goddam loneliness.”

“Look!” I said. “Another shooting star!”

We watched it burn, leaving shimmering particles in its wake.

Marylin-marilyn-monroe-34230228-1131-707 (2)

Word Count: 500
Song:  ‘Swinging on a Star’ by Jimmy Van Huesen and Johnny Burke.

Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on a challenge by ThainInVain to write a 500-word story about a celebrity (alive or dead) who applies for a job and gets an interview. Well, I did say loosely. 🙂 Instead, my mind took off in another direction, but I hope you all enjoy the ride, nevertheless. ThainInVain hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge which can be found here.

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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22 Responses to Swinging on the Stars

  1. W. K. Tucker says:

    I’d like to think that Norma Jean is now “swinging from the stars”, along with the multitude of damaged artists whose lives ended much too soon, usually by their own hand. Evocative, well-written story, Kate…

  2. stacilys says:

    Hey Kate – Wow, yea Marilyn Monroe. Great writing, my dear.
    How was your holiday? Nice seeing you back.

  3. Lucy says:

    Excellent, Kate. Yeah, where are the Kennedy’s? Maybe they burned up orbiting the sun. I really liked this, Sister Grime. I believe you captured Marilyn’s frame of mind back then. Lucy

  4. This is a delightful read. Absolutely smiled throughout the read. I felt I was t.h.e.r.e. and liked the whimsical flavor of this story. 🙂

  5. Adan Ramie says:

    An amazing piece, Kate.

  6. Mark Baron says:

    Really fantastic work, though I expect nothing less of you. 😉 It may not have stuck strictly to theme, but I loved this…I am a huge fan of Ms Monroe, and you capture the sadness of her earthly existence so well…and give hope of a stellar after life. Marvelous, darling. Simply marvelous.

  7. willow1945 says:

    Kate, I loved this! Marilyn is a favorite of mine. Your imagination was really out there this time, and I was right there with you. Very poignant portrait of Marilyn and her sad life–wonderfully done.

  8. Really well done – quite a special piece!

  9. So great to see you back, Kate and what a great take on the prompt!

    Even in death, Marilyn exudes that childlike wonder that others cannot help but be attracted to. Beautiful descriptions, Kate, another corker of a tale from the pen of Ms Loveton! ❤

  10. An incredible piece of writing! 🙂

  11. Lovely tribute to MM in a great story. Your descriptions put me out there in the galaxy. And you chose a favorite song of mine, first sung by Bing Crosby in Going My Way, an old classic (before my time – not THAT old)!

  12. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 32 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  13. Seems the rest has done you good! This is a really unique and interesting story! I There’s some really powerful descriptions, such as “glimpsed the tears of a thousand sunsets” and “wrapped in barbiturate dreams of stars and moonbeams.” Nice work, Kate! TiV

  14. When your mind takes off on its own, Kate, it takes us on a fascinating journey. Don’t ever stop doing what you do — please.

  15. mihrank says:

    wow – this is deep detail and perfect!

  16. You, my dear, are the star. Welcome back!! Well done, Kate.

  17. Kate, i like this, like it very much, it takes me this way and that but most of all it makes me sit up and pay full attention – good writing does that.
    My best to you

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