Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Lost Cinetasmagoric Text

The little man wearing wire-rimmed spectacles invents words in his spare time but right now he asks for too many samples at the ice cream shop. All the other customers feel hung up by how long they have to wait for him to pick his flavor. A couple passes by the shop and ducks into a movie theater two doors down in order to be spontaneous; they see a movie based on play written by a famous man of letters they first read about in a museum located an ocean away. The usher rips their tickets before directing them to theater number seven. The usher used to save the stubs of every movie ticket he purchased but when he started working at the movie theater his collection became grim reminder of the job he enjoyed less by the day. He muses to himself about burning all the stubs while tearing the ticket of a tall old man who frequented the theater so regularly that the usher felt mild embarrassment that he didn't know the old man's name. He directs the elder cinephile to theater number four. The gangly, gray gentleman saw everything, though Hollywood's new releases had grown more disappointing each year. Yesterday, he had watched a charmless romantic comedy about mismatched television producers reviving a flagging morning talk show. As he enters theater number four, he braces himself for a loud, unoriginal action flick about an ex-con finding a new job as a stunt driver. But the movie turns out to be stylish and inventive, oscillating between highly visceral moments and oddly detached ones. The old man feels deeply engaged with every moment of it. In one scene, the lead actor had a terrible twenty-four hour flu during the filming yet still pulls off a convincing tear through the brightly lit streets of late night LA. "You need a vacation," the famous actor's friend says over the phone, "You've been working nonstop for too long." The famous actor wouldn't hear of it. "I still remember when I couldn't find a job to save my life. Now I'm going to get while the getting's good. It's a fickle industry; who knows how long my fifteen minutes will last." The friend shakes his head. “Life’s too short,” he thinks, standing in the Cactus Jungle, an outdoor store that sells an exquisite plethora of succulents. After ending his too-brief call with the famous actor, he begins using his phone to take pictures of the cacti he considers potentially worth purchasing. Each picture brings enormous quantities of botanical data to his attention. A sour young woman carrying a tired looking cactus she just purchased clears her throat as she cuts by the phone-wielding interloper. Everyone's so attached to their phones these days. People are the worst. After leaving the Cactus Jungle, she arrives at the bus stop, bitter recriminations churning in her head more slowly than even the most viscous varieties of molasses. The toxic molasses distracts her from the whistle of an ashen hobo who crosses away from the bus stop. One may have perceived the whistle as targeting the girl, but this would only be a misdirection. The hobo pursues the crows of the area with whistles, clicks, gurgles, and the (encoded, he believes) vibrations of his voice. He imagines the crows as his compatriots. Perhaps he is a crow himself. But it isn’t the hobo who flies up and away from the errant calls of the other birds. Only a really special crow could soar, as this one does, with such mysterious intent, towards the clock tower of Old Town. Perching next to the tower's steeple, this crow never felt happier, if crows are capable of feeling emotions that resemble ours in any respect. Below, the hand of the obsolete clock strikes four. Affixed to the innards of the clock is a pendulum having a coil of wire so connected electrically with a controlling clock placed at a distant station such that a current of electricity is made to circulate through the wire at each beat of the pendulum of the controlling clock. The coil bob moves over two magnets, which, exerting either attraction or repulsion, as the case may be, accelerate or retard the pendulum, making it to keep in beat with its controller at the distant station. The atoms vibrate, and I believe they are encoded, the lighter faster and the heavier slower, like images on a screen.

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