Fishing in Beirut

April 6, 2010

Part 6: Things As They Are (scene 15)

Filed under: Character : Johnny, Part 6: Things As They Are — fishinginbeirut @ 10:23

Johnny got up very early. He’d been going to the movies for a week now, checking the guide and travelling through town. Hable con Ella, Scarlet Diva, La Haine and City of God. Every great film made him want to see another.
This morning, on the southside at Balard, they were showing Once Upon A Time In America. The full, uncut, four-hours. He guzzled his coffee and left.
On the Metro, standing, rattling along between Chatelet and Cite, he was reminded of a trip once taken. He had spent a day in London in his youth. There, he’d spied what he took to be Cosmo girls, revelling in their natural habitat. Pretty mid-twenty year olds, tottering about the high street in search of bags and shoes. These were women with make-up and highlights, armed with enormous sexual vocabularies. Their love lives in reality consisted of lying still like cadavers, wondering why the fool on top wasn’t making the earth move. They were sexy and empty at once.
Anyway, he was in no mood for thinking of them, and eagerly awaited the film like a child on Christmas morn. He paid for his ticket and entered. The theatre was very small, maybe 12 rows of red seats, and he slipped in mid-aisle near the back.
When it started, with a phone endlessly ringing, he noticed there were only two other people present. He hadn’t been aware of the fact. They were both closer to the front than he was, a man and a woman, not together. On the screen a soft breast was exposed.
There was a break after two hours, and he stood outside with the others, smoking amidst small talk. It was a funny moment, the three of them in the middle of the day, sharing smoke and conversation in a quiet part of the city. The day was cloudy and still, no hint of sun rain or wind, just a slow and gentle day, with a chill to it.
The woman had Christmas shopping to do afterwards, an MP3 player pre-paid for to collect. Johnny didn’t know what that was. She told him and then he remembered, it was just he’d never heard of the name.
The next two hours passed quick, spent in the company of gangsters and deceit. De Niro and Jimmy Woods had their differences. Johnny scratched a shaving cut around where the jugular vein was, or at least where he’d always thought it was located. Maybe his anatomy was shaky.
He let the credits roll out before leaving, the amount of people involved in film-making unreal. The construction of a movie took an ant colony. He read the names of hundreds whose remit he couldn’t fathom.
Every other moment leaves a distant one forgotten. Every other name does much the same. They scrolled past, Mark this and Sarah that, and he understood quite clearly that a life was nothing more. Seconds blazing in your consciousness, and then lost.

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