When I awoke alone in the chair, my mouth felt different. At first I couldn’t really feel anything, but then I began to wiggle my tongue around, searching for my teeth. As I was exploring, the dentist returned, sans mask.
“How’s it feel?” he asked with a smile, his curly mullet flowing freely.
“I fees weir,” I mumbled.
“Not surprising. That was the first time I’ve ever done anything that extreme. I’ll have to monitor how you react closely.” He approached as he spoke, flashlight in hand. “Now open up wide.”
She was cold. How long had she been in the bathroom? Her body felt like it belonged to someone else; she had no control over her limbs, her fingers, her neck. Her head floated. It took a moment of gazing, unfocused, into the toilet bowl before the image of him heaving her thin body against the shower door flickered in her head.
“And after that we drove out to the countryside to the star party to watch the lunar eclipse.” He drew a star and a moon on the railing with his finger. “The ancient Chinese and Scandinavians supposed it was a dragon devouring the moon, but the moon always returned. There we were, the two of us, newly met in a population of, at that time, six billion-plus. Remember when you pointed to the Andromeda galaxy and said you’d like the myth better if she saved herself instead of waiting for a prince to do it? I thought, this woman is my hero. I thought of all the pinpricks of light above us. I thought how we too sent off reflected light, traveling 186,000 miles per second to the edges of the universe."
I tapped back through the previous days’ photos. They were blank until the morning of her death three days before. Then, one by one, day by day, the small square photos went back through time, the last photo taken exactly one year prior to her death.
Scrolling through them, I recognized nothing. Some photos had trees not seen around here. One was from such height it made my skin crawl. I could feel my face grow clammy as I downloaded the phone’s photos onto her computer. Some were fuzzy, several were macro shots of details, others half obscured by over exposure or shadows. Checking the metadata on each photo, I sorted them by place. Some were local, taken around our Tennessee landscape. But when I was through, 366 photos were literally all over the U.S. map.
... it’s a divine calling we must answer. To spread the word to the furthest reaches of the universe. Wherever light quells darkness, men in white button-up shirts and black ties will continue ringing doorbells.
“Miss, uh,” stammered Dr. Haan, looking into May’s eyes. “Can you translate what I said?” He pointed with his eyes toward her mother, sitting with her back straight as an arrow, arms crossed defiantly at her chest. She stared at May with a soured face. “What did he say?” she asked twice, raising her volume with urgency.
May leaned in to the doctor’s desk, listening with great intensity this time. “Your mother has cancer. Gastric cancer.” He said it, accentuating each individual word, as if each weighed heavily on his tongue to say it again. She gave the slightest nod, showing she understood every word.
Kayla had always loved rainbows for the colors, but Kelsey loved the mystery in them. The challenge to try to discover what really happened at the end.
“Very important, resting the meat. Keeps it juicy. By the way, saying juicy reminds me of that dive Juicy Lucy’s down the coast—had the best crab cakes, ever. Remember? Have you been back since the last time we were there? Got a little ugly, as I recall, but I apologized for that. Anyway, the cocktail sauce was to die for. Lucy made her own horseradish, you know.
“Next, the soufflé. I’m sure you’ll recall the chef at Noveau!, who compared soufflés to poems, suggesting one should discard the first one thousand of both. Not that your soufflé won’t be perfect, or that your poetry sucks. I never said that. Never. But, just in case, maybe you should have a Plan B. How about shrimp on the barbie?
“Ok, that was mean but, seriously, maybe you guys should just go to Outback."
Mom talks about the camps in this flat, distant monotone. She keeps going until I start to cry. Then she stops, looks around as if remembering where she is, and says, “Enough Gitteleh. Hitler ruined my life and now he should hurt you, too? Enough with the stories.”
And then I feel that by crying like a weakling who didn’t even go through these things. I have completely failed her and worse, THE SIX MILLION.
The tiny pack animal has yet to acknowledge me. It prefers to skip across the desk, sniffing and feeling bits of crumpled paper and broken pencil leads. It did not pause at my half-eaten sandwich. I think to myself, “I thought elephants are supposed to like peanuts."
It packs a much bigger punch than its predecessor and is far less goofy and cartoony than Episode VI. Luke Skywalker becomes a man, Han and Leia actually start to figure out their feelings for each other, and I'm not yet sick of R2-D2 and C-3PO. The deepest emotions are on display but it never falls into melodrama.
These Marvel movies have always contained teasers for the next installments, but this is the first one that’s felt like a commercial more than its own storyline. The movie seems to be more about introducing characters and plotlines that will play bigger roles in the next Marvel properties, from the upcoming Black Panther to the Infinity War films, that it remains in a sort of narrative purgatory.
If nothing else, Adult Beginners proves that Nick Kroll can do more than play a smarmy asshole. He can play a smarmy asshole with a love of family.
Ex Machina is smart yet accessible, led by the powerhouse that is Oscar Isaac, with a sharp script that makes you question both the characters on display as well as what is self-awareness and the morality of playing God.
Child 44 is a plunge into mysticism as much as it is historical fiction. It’s a thrilling nightmare, one that scares us more than any recent Hollywood horror film has, and it’s a warning sign. “This, too, can come to pass if we’re not careful,” the movie tells us.”If we don’t pay attention to the encroachments on civil liberties by our well-meaning lawmakers, and if we don’t go the extra mile and build communal bonds with our neighbors, this nightmare can materialize.”
The only thing worse than the plot are the characters themselves. They're all just absolutely terrible people. If at least one of them were somehow likeable maybe I would have cared as they began to get killed off one by one. Yet all I could do was silently cheer, knowing that there was one less person on screen standing between me and the freedom of leaving the theater.
It Follows comes off feeling distinct, fun and scary due to an interesting new monster, strong realistic relationships, a unique soundscape, and an ever-present tension.
Join The Drunk Monkeys Film Department kicks of their discussion series of the landmark Star Wars franchise, which will lead all the way up to this December's Episode VII.
First up, the one that started it all, 1977's Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
In the 1960’s, cigarette ads often featured women with black eyes, saying they would rather fight than switch brands of cigarettes. The Winston ad featuring this woman read, Me and my Winstons, we got a real good thing. She looks more like a battered woman than a happy smoker.
"The soldiers beat and kicked the men down. It was terrible. They stomped on top of their bodies until the men were nearly dead and could not move. They accused them of being PKK, but this was not true. We were all shepherds. Feraşin had only 1,000 people with over 100,000 sheep and cows. Our family had 500 sheep. We had a good life in Feraşin. It was our Shangri-La. They burned all the houses with everything we owned ... "
... when Vince Gilligan said the spinoff would be a prequel with Saul Goodman as the lead, I was a little letdown, wondering at the direction this spinoff could take. I liked Saul a lot, but a whole show about him led me to think it’d be a comedy, one that really only had one note. I’m here to say I was dead wrong. And I’m quite happy to be.
You remember nothing of the show itself, other than a rustic tree projected in yellow light as the stage's backdrop, running your fingertips over the dark blonde toothbrush fuzz of Tom's buzzcut, the surprise of it after last seeing him with purple locks down to his ears. But that was in March, and this is a new school year and everything. This is post-break up, and there's even an older boy you've got your eye on, but so rare is it that you have some tactile evidence of another body that vaguely welcomes yours. You reach for his hand. Acoustic guitar strings let out their distinctive squeaks. He squeezes back.
Most fighting games, and definitely video games in general, seriously downplay just how damaging fighting can be. While it’s true that a one-punch knockout is rare, a knockout isn’t the only damage that can be done to a person. Cuts, bruises, contusions, concussions, sprains, and broken bones are just the tip of the injury iceberg that is downplayed or flat-out ignored in video games.
Suddenly, the call to prayer blared from the speakers in the minaret. Only in Syria is this call made by a choir rather than a single muezzin, and the harmonic effect is haunting. We were allowed to enter the mosque to observe, but we were relegated to the women’s side only. As thousands, women on one side, men on the other, knelt in murmured prayer touching their foreheads to the carpets, no one seemed to notice the American women clad in gray hooded robes watching from the corner.
This scene shows Snyder’s approach to horror in Wytches. He’s using childhood fears, be it of a bully or of something strange in the nearby forest, and suddenly making it adult- the bully has a gun and the strangeness in the forest turns out to be horrific, yes, but something that forces you to radically change your social life because everyone blames the incident on you. The fears of childhood are being matched with the fears of adolescence and the fears of adulthood.
I’ve learned and mastered the skill of ignoring inappropriate statements and questions like these. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before, so I can just brush it off as I always do even though I feel nearly powerless and weak. I can’t answer their questions or assertions or else I will become a joke that they will mock. Helpless.
They expect me to show proof that I’ve exhausted absolutely every other option before accepting the orientation as true for me. It only exists as a last-resort diagnosis—given, of course, under the authority of someone they trust—and even then, I probably ought to be trying to cover it up or at least not talking about it publicly. If asexuality became a thing we could all accept as part of our reality for a minority of people, well, then asexual people might start recruiting and nobody would have babies anymore.
I picked the route that would take me through places like Kansas and Idaho. Those places can become somber, desolate collections of crumbling small towns very, very quickly, but at least the landscape changes to a certain degree. Even someone who feels a legitimate spiritual connection to the desert is going to find themselves wishing for something, anything that doesn’t resemble the background of a goddamn Roadrunner cartoon, if they go through the entire American southwest by car or bus.
He mistakes idle trash for exotic birds
w/ names he can’t pronounce,
the sound of kid fights
w/ old arguments between
adopted parental figures. He lives
in a model house of blind luck, sensitivity
training & a heightened 6th sense
whose presence is attributed to hearing loss
& basic stubbornness.
"I used to be a boxer," my grandfather said
and you could see the tinge of pride
as the words came out of his mouth.
you could see he had been transported
back to some earlier day
when he had the physical strength
and the stamina
to go toe to toe with any fool who would dare.
they won't let me out of this wheelchair
I thought it would be fun to ride around
I wanted my father to push me
now I don't know where he went
and these people I don't know tell me I can't
I can't get up and walk around
I can't go outside the gate
I can't go home
I can't see my father
I don't want to eat but they tell me I have to
I have to take a bath
I have to change my clothes
I have to comb my hair
I have to go to bed
She struggles to pull up documentaries
about unseen forces, IPAD vs HP.
The running joke is everything’s contagious:
shingles, infectious laughter, cold heart drama
& the love for stray cats that don’t belong to you
but visit from time to time all the same.
A tourist tries to remain cynical
in the presence of a gray-bearded holy man
who sits bare chested, cross-legged,
in the shade of a drooping banyan tree.
But his sarcasm barely makes the journey
from his tongue to his wife's ear
when it's muted by the peaceful aura,
spiritual cadence emanating from the other.
I spoke with my father on the phone,
A static connection, his voice in shadow.
The yard is a play of ice and dirt.
Today it is hard to see shed for shadow,
Dirt for ice, or to hear a voice
No matter how closely I look.