But I needed the teen to be alive….
Why, then, was this balm for my soul’s remainder?
By which I mean, to watch a movie from 1957
on a computer screen
at 3 a.m.?
The shaggy monster creeping
like a dirty Labrador draped in a pile of shag carpets
making slow progress toward the chrome fishtails of the Caddy
where teens necked
oblivious to the intentions of the interstellar throw rug
to make them his first earthly meal
(when he finally managed to crawl his way to the summit of Make Out Hill)?
Why did I wait for the credits,
see the name of the boy with the letterman jacket and buzzcut,
go to Wikipedia, let the cursor drift
in the hopes that Dean Smith (not his real name)
was an “is” and not a “was”?
I knew the Lyndon Johnson-looking guy who played the old sheriff
must be long-dead.
As for the yelping terrier that bravely barked standing on hind legs,
dog years did to him what the “monster” did to his onscreen persona.
But I needed the teen to be alive,
if only gaping at dentures
that swam in a glass of water
on some doily-covered end table in a musty rest home bedroom.
It turns out this other monster cannot be defeated
and Dean Smith is an urn of marble was,
like my grandma or Abe Lincoln
or any of us tomorrow.
Joseph Hirsch is the author of many published books. His shorter works have appeared Terror House, 3 AM, and Bull: Men’s Fiction. www.joeyhirsch.com