straight to voicemail……on to “back then”

“trying to describe how i feel about that,” he said after switching the phone off.
he wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular when he said this.
as a matter of fact, he wasn’t speaking to anyone at all.
he went to the television and switched it on.
the remote didn’t work and when it did he would have to aim it in all directions, continually pressing the power button until the electronic link could make that “electro-gulp-sound” happen before the screen would come alive.
pressing the power button was easier.
the screen lit with a spectrum of grays revealing actors william powell and clark gable conversing in a jail cell. “manhattan melodrama,” he mouthed almost a whisper, “the end.”
he knew thirties movies well and particularly liked the freewheeling opulence of depression era films and musicals where america could escape.
movies were written like radio back then.
you just have to listen to know everything that’s going on.
he stopped watching TV years ago.
“back then” was a time before his own childhood, but over the years he adopted it as his own.
no doubt they were early childhood recollections filed from black and white philco and RCA televisions that sat atop tables here and there “back then.”
“back then,” might be a moment in time sectioned off, placed on a magic altar and illuminated with romantic notions.
more often than not, they’re sanctified.
maybe they’re a lot of malarky.
he picked up his phone – a little “candybar” model, stared at it as if to do something, then laid it back on the desk to the right of the grey-lit box, the sound of another “radiofilm” starting, a tinny-mono soundtrack orchestra playing causing him to glance at the screen, seeing the film tile “the thin man” across the screen causing him to half smile, a feeling of relief flashing across his eyes, nick and nora charles’, the comfort of knowing the entire screenplay by heart settling in him like brandy.
he stops writing, sitting back and rolling his chair into line with the filmscreen…..he drifts back to “then”……

About stephen trimboli

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