Kevin James Bleeds in the Dark by Nathan Tyree

I fill my pockets with stones before we buy our tickets from an acne scarred girl who tells us the price with a snarl. We stand in line behind loud rednecks to spend a weeks wage on two paper cups filled with Coke and a tub of popcorn, then wander down the hall to locate auditorium number twenty-seven, which is where our movie is playing. It’s not that we really want to see this movie, it’s just that there’s nothing else to do, and if we get bored we’ll start drinking too soon, which is, they tell us, a warning sign. We take note of the positioning of the fire exists, then take our seats to wait for the commercials that will precede the main attraction. Maybe it’s the other way around. No sane man could tell. They have one of those pre-show slide shows that advertises local businesses and current blockbusters and stars, but something has gone wrong. A single slide flashes over and over. It reads:

Kevin James as Paul Blart in Paul Blart: Mall Cop

An Answer without a question. This slide show may be designed to cause psychosis. A few rows ahead and across the aisle, a round woman with disheveled hair is singing (out of tune) and rocking back and forth like an autistic child. Police and thieves in the street, scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition, she repeats atonally over and over again. We look at each other, but let it pass.

Somewhere behind us a deep voice says back forty, sure. But how can they get there? I mean, shit, with that force they gonna have to let ‘em go. Anyhoo, the pancakes are sure to piss the bishop off, ya know? Anyhoo, aint enough cement. The monkeys got herpes and my dog, she’s a good bitch, man. Gonna kill that rat. Anyhoo, mom’s rough, ya know. and on like that. I look back to see who could be enduring this conversation and see that the man, a withered shape barely more than shadow, is alone and speaking to no one at all. He is self satisfied and complete. As I turn back to the screen to accept the truth about Kevin James, I hear shadow man say and I know now that God never cared about me.

Godot should arrive at any moment, unless he is a rhinoceros. Or else, he will be a lobster carrying a flaming phone book and ranting about Edgar Casey while new year’s day slips away. Whatever. The movie will start in a minute and we can bathe in the alpha waves and curled smoke light. In a few minutes we will be watching as a Hockey Masked killer hacks pot smoking girls and beer chugging dudes into compost suitable for the best garden God can imagine. We can’t imagine much, really. Faith has been broken. I can’t remember the last thing I said to her, but I know that it wasn’t profound. Had I known then that I would never see her again, I might have strained for something meaningful. I, like a fool, thought that it was just another day. They all are, after all.

The lights dim and a cell phone buzzes in the dark. I want to put its owner through a chipper shredder, but hold off to see what Jason would do. WWJD? What Would Jason Voorhees Do? Likely he would want to slump in the corner and read Camus, but that’s beside the point. Avenging spirits, immune to death, rarely react the way we mortals want. Sartre, you see, says that we have nothing to live up to. It would be different if we were hammers or spoons. But we’re not. We’re just men. We bleed like everything else.

Sometimes we dream of water; endless waves washing away the beach that is our life, pulling it out one grain at a time until we are all the way to gone.

2 Responses

  1. Existentialism in the cinema. Quite nice.

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