Fiction Fantasy Funny

"Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

Sugar is sweet and so are you."

Napoleon’s first wife Josephine was born Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie in Martinique on June 23, 1763. Like Napoleon himself, Josephine was a study of contrasts. As a child, Josephine grew up on a sugar cane plantation and developed a sweet tooth. As a result, her teeth had turned black at an early age so she learned to talk and smile without showing them. Despite this drawback, she was renowned for her grace and style.

Many people in the 1700's had bad teeth. It was not the horror that it would be today, but was still an embarrassment. If a woman wanted to find a rich husband, she had to smile with her mouth closed. Don't show your teeth and let your charm take over.

Josephine is walking by a waterfall in Martinique when she slipped and fell into the water. She struggles to swim to the surface when a strange cosmic force pulls her down deeper to into the abyss. She faints ....

When Josephine wakes up, she is no longer in Martinique. She is in Hollywood, California. The year is 1969. The year of Peace, Love, Rock and Roll, Twiggy, Woodstock, Mini Skirts, Go-Go Boots, the Twist and lots of Groovy Music and of course, Movie Stars...

Josephine is confused. Everywhere she looks, the world seems so strange and also wonderful. The sights, the sounds, even the smells. She looks up and sees an airplane flying high up to the clouds. She never saw anything like that before. She hears strange music but there is no band, no instruments. Where does that sound coming from? A girl with a transistor radio passes Josephine. "Where is that strange music coming from?", she asks. The girl has long blond hair, straight as a pin, and is wearing dark sunglasses, a white shirt, bright mini skirt and go-go boots. "Here, listen for yourself". The girl put the radio to Josephine's ear and her eyes got as big as saucers. "What kind of music is this?"

The girl in the mini skirt starts dancing the Twist. "I am in the groove....Come on, try it!"

Josephine imitates the girl and she started to laugh. "What happened to the waltz?"

"The what? Oh, that went out with the "Mashed Potato!"

Josephine scratches her head. "Where am I? Am I still in France?"

"Oh no, lady. You're in La La Land. Hollywood, California! You are in America!"

"How did I get here?"

The girl thinks for a moment. "You were not here a minute ago. I saw a bright light and then I saw you. Do you want to get something to eat? Do you need a job?", the girl asked.

May I introduce myself. "I am Josephine Bonaparte, Empress of the French. And you are?"

"Oh, I am Bambi.", She replies as she looks in her compact mirror and fixes her lipstick. "I have an audition today for a commercial. I am not an Empress, but I can dance better than you. Come on Jo, let's get some food."

"Don't call me Jo! I am Empress Josephine Bonaparte!"

"Wow, an Empress with an attitude. It's all I need. Do you want me to help you out or not? I am losing my patience!", Bambi bluntly remarks.

"Sorry, I am so used to being adored that I take it for granted everyone loves me."

"Don't worry, honey. We will get you an agent and a commercial job. We'll figure it out. I hope!"

Josephine follows the strange girl with the mini skirt and looks left and right and when she looked down she saw a whole sidewalk full of stars with names on them.

"What is this?"

"Oh, that. It's the Walk of Fame. You see, here in America, we have no Kings or Queens. We have "Movie Stars". Famous people that star in motion pictures.

"What is a motion picture?"

"It would take me a week to explain. You are from the 17th century, it would be better to show you. Let's go to the theater after we get some tacos."

"What's a taco?

"Are you kidding me? A taco is a tortilla with ground beef, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and salsa? I am waiting for you to ask me what a burger is. Easy with the questions, just try it."


The taco stand is nearby and the girl in the miniskirt orders two tacos. Josephine bites into one and spits it out. "It's atrocious! I want Crepes Suzette! I am an Empress! I don't want this slop. You're American food is awful! Where's the wine? Where's the champagne?"

"You can't afford champagne anymore. Napoleon is dead, remember?" This is not 1803, it's 1969! And we are in the Woodstock generation!"

She faints for a few minutes. When she woke up a crowd had gathered. The girl in the mini skirt took advantage of the opportunity to exploit Josephine and had a big sign telling the crowd who she is.

"Back away!", Josephine screams. "Who are these people and why are they dressed so strangely.

"Remember, its 1969!"

Josephine starts to cry." I need a job. I want to be famous in the movies."

"You need to try out for a commercial. How about a toothpaste commercial? "


Josephine give a big smile for the crowd. The crowd is absolutely horrified. Josephine's teeth were all black and rotten!

"What happened to your teeth, Josephine?"

Josephine starts to panic and immediately puts her hand over her mouth.

"Maybe I can be a hand model? I would surely FAIL any audition if I smile! My teeth are black!"

"You can do a toothpaste commercial if you get veneers. That might work. Or you could be the "before" model and have another model for the after."

"What are veneers? It sounds French!", Josephine asked.

"No, it's not french. It's a kind of bright white cover for your teeth. For cosmetic reasons. For TV, the movies!", the strange man replied.

A strange man with a bling suit walks over to check out what was happening in the crowd.

"What's going on here? I work for a talent agency. I need a walk on for a toothpaste commercial. The name of the toothpaste is "Pearl Drops". Any takers? "

Josephine raises her hand up and gives the man a great big smile. His eyes went all buggy and he backs away two paces."

You have black teeth and bad breath? What happened to you?", he declares, totally horrified. How can we spin this? Don't worry, Josephine. We can sell your black teeth and bad breath as an incentive to buy our toothpaste and get white teeth!"

"I will probably be a flop if I smile. I can be a model that doesn't smile. Is that groovy enough to get a part in your commercial? ", Josephine laughs at that word.

"My name is Josephine Bonaparte and I fell in the water by a waterfall in Martinique in the year 1794. I woke up in Los Angeles in the year 1969! My teeth are black because my family owns a sugar plantation in Martinique. All the people have teeth like me in 1794. "

"I have an idea!", the strange man said. "We can do a historical commercial. That way you can keep your black teeth and horrid breath and people will think it's history. The public likes the past and they love Napoleon and Josephine. You even have a movie with that name starring Jacqueline Bisset?"

"Truly? I am known and famous in 1969?"

"Yes, people like you even more than Napoleon. Napoleon died at St. Helena and he was poisoned by the British?"

"Really? I didn't know that?", Josephine cried. "I miss my Napoleon. He ditched me for the Habsburg chick. She was a ditz but Napoleon wanted a son, so he divorced me and married her. She ended up going back to Papa Habsburg and left Napoleon to be an English prisoner. All that glitters is not gold. I was a better wife to Napoleon than she was."

"I am sure you were. If history were a star, Marie Louise would be an "asteroid"! She ran back to Papa and took his "King of Rome" with him. The poor "Eaglet" never knew his father and was never allowed to speak his name in Vienna. He died at age 21. "

"How awful for Napoleon. To lose the son he divorced me for. I had one son, Eugene and a daughter Hortense. Why wasn't Napoleon satisfied with Eugene ? Why was he always looking for royal blood when mine was more aristocratic most Parisians. He had his heart set on a Habsburg bride. A bloodline that is thin and watery from generations of arranged marriages. And I was more of a wife than Marie Louise could dream of being!"

"Okay, okay. Enough of the history lesson. This is 1969 not 1795. Forget Napoleon. He is yesterday's news. Your new job is a commercial concept called Pearl Drops toothpaste! You have black teeth and you brush your teeth and no matter how much your brush with pearl drops you fail to make your teeth white. How funny is that? The target audience will just love it!"

"Are you making fun of me? Do you think I LIKE having black teeth and rotten breath? It's the time I lived in. I am CERTAIN that if YOU lived in 1795, your teeth would be ROTTEN TOO! You would be eating lots of sugar, pies, cakes, sugary puddings, beef pies, wine, champagne and anything our fine cook would bring to the table! Sugar was new to Europe around 1795 and the people ate a lot of it."

The strange man screamed. "I am way too vain to have rotten teeth! I assure you my teeth would be pristine white. Weren't Napoleon's teeth white?"

Josephine bent over laughing. "Well, he ate black licorice. He loved licorice. So he had "gray" teeth. He used salt and a twig to clean his teeth. And he rinsed with whiskey!

Josephine became famous in 1969 as the Pearl Drop's Girl. She had black teeth and bad breath and a million dollar commercial deal. She will probably always prefer the waltz to the Twist, but Josephine gave us her best shot even though she thought she had a slim chance of landing a job in Hollywood. It's just a commercial but it's a start.

"Now give us a great big smile, Josephine!"

March 10, 2022 21:33

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John Hanna
00:59 Mar 17, 2022

Hi Kathryn, Thanks for signing up for the critique circle. The circle assigned this story to me and I find it interesting. But the purpose of the circle is to help people improve. I am no editor, I have massive respect for how they can zip through work to find all the errors, but I will try my best. Below, I listed a few of the errors I found from the start. down deeper to into the abyss - skip the to? Where does that sound coming from? May I introduce myself. "I am Josephine Bonaparte, in motion pictures. - pictures." "What's a taco? The ...


15:39 Mar 17, 2022

Thank you for reading my story and for the advice! I will certainly take your grammar advice!


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17:34 Mar 17, 2022

I will try Grammarly in my next submission. I can't fix this one because the deadline already passed but I do very much appreciate your corrections! I get so into my own head that I don't see alot of the errors myself. Bless you for caring enough to tell me. I will be happy to read your work as well.


John Hanna
18:31 Mar 17, 2022

I know! Writing is exciting!


18:41 Mar 17, 2022

Yes it's both exciting and heartbreaking. But well worth the effort. Thank you!


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