How to Be in the Movies
The guests are billeted to their quarters, the men striking matches and the women coughing into hankies. Hear the drone of electric razors and feel the explosive thunder from the neighboring screen. Laugh, now. Laugh, again. Watch the bachelor toss on the couch splashed with jungle flowers. Howl. You are a hound called to the hearth. You want in. Scratch at the door, smelling a hen wrapped and tied in the icebox of your memory, a memory before you were born, in your bones, an instinct. You are a well-bred blur, a shadow on the stoop. On the other side of the screen is a life that is part yours. You own it like an escalator or an airport terminal. A public life. And how many you have lived in a day, in a year, loving common women into higher classes, massaging your mustache, jotting facts into your notebooks. What do they really say? Scribbledy scribble. The encyclopedias are painted wood. The vodka bottle is filled with water. Still, you drink it. Shot glass by shot glass, you gulp it down. You are getting thirstier and more sober. The usher helps you out of your seat. You drive slowly in case someone is following you. At home, you undress quickly and crawl into bed. You pretend to sleep, sure that you are still being watched. You can hear an audience clapping from your neighbor’s apartment. They’ll clap for you next.