The Bored Chairman

The small rental house sits on a hill, far from the neighbors. Its solitary perch is what attracted Tim to the place. Shy by nature, he considered it a find when he came across the cozy cabin lookalike even though it was reputedly haunted. In all his 50 years, he’s never encountered any paranormal or extraterrestrial activities and finds no reason to believe in them now.

As he’s wont to do every evening, Tim finishes eating dinner on his kitchen table, sips his rye, and starts talking to the empty chair across from him. Although timid, he likes to hear the timbre of his own voice when no one is around. He continues to spout about his day when the wooden chair transforms into a wooden head with its facial features and hair looking painted on. Its expression appears focused, fully engaged at what he was saying.

It must be the whiskey, Tim thinks to himself.  Can’t be delirium. Although he’s been called a drunk, he doesn’t believe it because he can still stand and walk after many rounds of shots.

He rubs his eyes and stares at the chair, slapping his hands on the table just to make sure he’s awake.

“Ho now,” the outline of the mouth blurts out.

“Who are you? I didn’t invite you here.” Tim tries to assert himself.

“Day in, day out . . . especially day out, you jabber on and on. So here I am to wackle, wackle back at ‘cha.”

“What does that even mean?” Bewildered, Tim can feel goosebumps forming on his arms and the hair behind his neck rising, as he’s starting to register the deadness of the wide-eyed expression on the face. Tim inches away from the table as he notices the head shaking a little, as if trying to move from its place.

“I’ve always wanted a body to call my own.” The head nods.

The sudden change of subject and the subject itself are enough to cause Tim to bolt out of his chair. As if powered by an invisible slingshot, the head catapults toward Tim, who loses his balance from the hit. Before recovering from his fall, Tim feels a little top-heavy, almost as if he is wearing a football helmet.

“I also wanted a buddy of my own,” Tim hears in his head, knowing the thought is not his own. Heart thudding, he runs to the bathroom mirror and looks at his reflection. The wooden head stares back at him with a wide grin.

Image by blogetta

A Walk in the Woods (a movie blurt)

This movie is based on a book by the same name written by Bill Bryson, who at 44 years old decides to hike the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles long). Robert Redford, who is in his late 70s, plays Bryson in the film. He is accompanied by a long-lost friend, Stephen Katz (played by Nick Nolte); the two traveled Europe together when they were in their early 20s. They lost touch soon after their European trip and through some fluke they find themselves reunited to hike together.

Even though it seems a stretch for Redford to be playing a man in his 40s, such a thing can be overlooked because of the repartees between Bryson and Katz, beautiful photography, and other interesting characters — notably one of the hikers they meet along the trail. Before I watched the movie, I thought it would be boring because it’s just about two people walking and talking, but it isn’t like that at all. The story line’s themes – relationships and one’s purpose in life – make for some funny scenes, notable truths, and fine dialogue.

Crushin’ Roulette

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

Pete has mixed feelings as he listens to Joe about Rose. At one time, Pete thought she was the one who would end his self-imposed celibacy. It was a close call, but now he’s glad he waited. Ironically, it was the waiting that ruined their relationship, but in many ways saved him after he found out more about her.
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A Grand Good-bye

Image by Anna

Image by Anna

Kelsey cuts herself but no one really pays attention to her. She doesn’t mind because she’s lost her ability to care about what others think of her or her situation. Her parents are too preoccupied vying for other people’s attention. Her siblings seem a generation older than she. What friends? The last Facebook message she received read, “Kelsey flings her boogers around. Beware of UFOs.” Old junior high school crap. Forever memorialized because she doesn’t know how to delete the account.

She’s in her first year of college now. Why did she even bother going? She chose psychology as her major even though she doesn’t want to hear other people’s problems. She took it on only because she didn’t know what else to do. Pressure everywhere. Finally, spring break is here. A break-out from all her problems, her haters, herself. She’s going to go big. Going to the Grand Canyon, where there’s just her and nature. No more people, no more boring lectures.

Now Kelsey’s at the airport, thankful for her little friend, Visa, as supplied by her parents. At least she didn’t have to worry about where to get her next meal. Now she wonders. Am I just another spoiled brat with nothing else better to do? No, she tells herself. I’ve done my share of community service and charity events. I just can’t get in step with others. She boards the plane, finds her seat, and reclines, closing her eyes.

“Kelsey, is that you?”

Kelsey blinks and sees a pair of smiling hazel eyes. Her mind rifles through memories, trying to place the face. Bingo!

“Jess?”

“Hell yeah! Amazing how you haven’t changed much. The same cute freckles and that shade of red hair I can’t forget.”

“Oh my God! I can’t believe this. What are you doing here?”

“Going to hike the Grand Canyon. You? Going to Vegas to roll some dice?”

“I’m still stunned to see you. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d see you after what . . . fifth grade?”

“Yeah, right. From kindergarten through fifth, we were quite the pair together, huh? Tell me what you’ve been up to since you moved away.”

Kelsey grew quiet. How much should she tell this boy, who was her first and only best friend? Well, former; they never kept in touch, so would that make it former then, right? They were only kids.

“You tell me first, Jess. ‘Cuz my mind’s still scrambled from surprise to see you.”

“I’m actually traveling by myself, Kels . . . Hey, remember that? How we’d be called Jess and Kels? We were like twins, but no one ever really understood us, did they?”

“Yeah?”

Jess’ eyes darkened, “I’ll confess, Kels, nothing right’s going on with me. People talk behind my back and say there goes Jess the mess. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but I’ve always had a connection with you. Like, I don’t even feel like we’ve been separated for years.”

“Hey, let’s hike the Canyon together.”

They reminisce over the mischief they caused and recall their childhood jokes. They put off talking about the underlying grimness they really feel. Enough time for that when they hike.

The next day, Jess and Kelsey drive out to the Grand Canyon together, simply enjoying each other’s presence, allowing the iPhone tunes playing through the car speaker to blast away the silence and unsavory thoughts. Upon reaching the Grand Canyon and beginning their hike, their conversation drifts again into the dim realm of their present reality.

They find a spot where they stand alone; Kelsey starts to cry.

“My life is a mess too, Jess. It’s a joke. But, as I’m looking out here right now, I see why we’re here. It’s to appreciate the beauty of this world.”

“I get it now too, Kels.”

They hold hands and look quietly out into the deepness of the canyon. They stare at each other, both deciding in their private thoughts to say good-bye to their original plans to jump. They feel a glimmer of hope as their curiosity awakens to what the next day will bring.

The Overnight (a movie review)

This is a comedy about friendship and marriage. A young family recently relocates from Seattle to L.A. The dad, played by Adam Scott, and the mom, played by Taylor Schilling, along with their little boy, are in their neighborhood playground. They acquaint themselves with another young father, played by Jason Schwartzman, and his son. Jason’s character invites the whole family over for pizza night, which turns out to be quite an extended event. Hence, the title, The Overnight. The whole family ends up staying all night long for an evening full of surprises and laughs.
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Dragon Blade (a movie review)

This is an epic film with emotional tugs, a good storyline, and martial arts and swordplay action aplenty. The movie is inspired by true events during the Han Dynasty in China, although to what extent history actually evolved as depicted is unclear. However, it makes for a good story about an elite corps of Roman soldiers led by General Lucius, played by John Cusack, traveling through a popular trade route of that era. Known as the Silk Road, the area is protected by a small group of Asian pacifists led by Huo An, played by Jackie Chan. Both Lucius and Huo An cross paths and start out as adversaries. As they spar one-on-one in the desert, a fast-moving sandstorm forces Lucius to accept Huo An’s offer to stop fighting and agree to his invitation to stay at the city Huo An is in the midst of rebuilding.
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