It was a strong ancestral pull from the phantasmagoric, but curiosity shoved me toward Bram, toward the tapping.
—- AE Stueve, What Bram Saw
Today’s short story – a tasty little nightmare of flash fiction:
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams
View out of my son’s apartment window, New Orleans.
“A refurbished Star Wars is on somewhere or everywhere. I have no intention of revisiting any galaxy. I shrivel inside each time it is mentioned. Twenty years ago, when the film was first shown, it had a freshness, also a sense of moral good and fun. Then I began to be uneasy at the influence it might be having. The first bad penny dropped in San Francisco when a sweet-faced boy of twelve told me proudly that he had seen Star Wars over a hundred times. His elegant mother nodded with approval. Looking into the boy’s eyes I thought I detected little star-shells of madness beginning to form and I guessed that one day they would explode.
‘I would love you to do something for me,’ I said.
‘Anything! Anything!’ the boy said rapturously.
‘You won’t like what I’m going to ask you to do,’ I said.
‘Anything, sir, anything!’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘do you think you could promise never to see Star Wars again?’
He burst into tears. His mother drew herself up to an immense height. ‘What a dreadful thing to say to a child!’ she barked, and dragged the poor kid away. Maybe she was right but I just hope the lad, now in his thirties, is not living in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities.”
― Alec Guinness, A Positively Final Appearance
Oblique Strategy: Not building a wall but making a brick
The whole family is now here, one son in from New Orleans, his cat ensconced in one bedroom, the other son from Houston, his black Labrador retriever settled into another.
Our Ring smart doorbell makes our cellphones tinkle in a delightful way every time the delivery man brings another present, the new Internet of Things Santa Claus.
We were up at eight; I had to drag myself – feet hurting, mind reeling – from bed; to see a morning showing of The Last Jedi at the local Alamo Drafthouse (the best place in the world to see a movie). I love the no talking/no texting or you will be thrown out policy. I love the fact that at nine in the morning they will bring a milkshake with alcohol in it to your seat. I love the stuff they put on the screen before the movie.
(on this snippet – if you get the joke “A talent agent is sitting in his office, a family walks in…” you should be ashamed of yourself)
I liked the film a lot better than I was expecting.
There is something wonderfully odd about seeing a movie early in the morning, other than the discount tickets. I’m so used to going at night – to emerge to sunlight and the realization that you still have another day to live – is almost wonderful.
“A cat’s rage is beautiful, burning with pure cat flame, all its hair standing up and crackling blue sparks, eyes blazing and sputtering.”
― William S. Burroughs, The Cat Inside
Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!
When I drive to Plano I often pass by this odd sculpture – a three dimensional mosaic of a dog and cat. It was easy to find out what it was – “Companions,” a mosaic-tiled sculpture depicting a cat nuzzling up to an affectionate dog by San Antonio artist Oscar Alvarado in front of the Plano Animal Shelter. Both pets have collars and tags and there is even a microchip implanted into the mortar of each animal to highlight the importance of identification for all animals.
I wanted to take some photos of the sculpture so I pulled over and stepped out. Immediately the triple digit Texas heat hit me like an open oven door – I think it was about 106 F. Snap Snap Snap and back in the steel-lined air conditioned envelope of my vehicle. In Texas, AC is more important than brakes.