was bored yesterday. So I went to the local video store. There is a privately owned video store located in a mini-mall near my house, Zeke's Movie Emporium they call it. Although Zeke does not have an enormous selection, his cinema boutique is perfect for evenings like this. So I went to the video store and wandered around for a while. The movies at Zeke's Movie Emporium are organized first alphabetically by title, then sub-organized by genre. I strolled through the aisles of videos. New VHS tapes in shiny cardboard cases. Old BETA tapes in giant boxes. All standing at attention on sky-blue shelves, paint peeling heavily. I started at the shelf marked A. As good a place to begin my quest as any, I suppose. And there was Aardvarks Make Great Pets, a whacky '70's situation-comedy about a retired zoo keeper who gives his grandchildren all manner of zany creatures to raise as pets. Comedic genius at its peak. On I trekked until Zebubu's Revenge, a '60's drama that told the heart-wrenching tale of an ousted African prince who kills his uncle to avenge his father, the king's, death. I think this is where they got the idea for The Lion King. That was it. No more videos to peruse and thus far, nothing had struck my delicate fancy. I had seen all the movies that looked good, and in the others, I could see the strings that assisted the alien masterminds in levitating under the dust caked on the plastic boxes. Bad special effects. Phoo-ey. This is the '00's. How do you even pronouce that? The Ooo-Ooo's? Naughties? Whatever.

I then went to the newer releases section. Hmm, Grease, I hadn't seen that yet. John Travolta looked good. I loved him in Saturday Nght Fever. Too bad disco died. I continued my quest until I found something that piqued my interest: Handicapped Masters. The hearwarming saga of two quadriplegic albino brothers with cerebral palsy as they sweat their way to an international gymnasts competition. Looked interesting. Nothing better than a narrative touting the strength of the human spirit to chase away boredom.

As I walked to the register, I happened to glance down at the threadbare carpet. I found scattered along the way the five dimes and one quarter I needed to rent the video. Am I not the luckiest guy on earth? At the checkout desk, I handed the clerk the plastic video box, which he greedily snatched before retreating into his back room from which he returned shortly with the video. I wonder if his name is Zeke. Dropping the tape on the hard white desk he stared wordlessly at me until I handed him the money. He wasn't much for words, but he sure was ugly. He had a fat face. The rest of his body looked anorexic. Just the face was fat. I'll leave that to puzzle over later. It will probably keep me up tonight anyway. He grunted as he took my money, dropping the six shiny coins into the open cash register. Then he began staring again. I stared back for a while. Nothing better to do. Then his fat face started to freak me out. How can you have a fat face and a skinny body? I took my tape and slowly retreated, walking backwards so he could not sneak up on me from behind. He didn't move. Just watched. Staring at me from his post behind the desk, pointing his fat face right at me. I left.

I returned home. After several minutes of trying to pry the video from its plastic case, I found the tab labeled 'push to open', and I did as it said. Imagine that, it opened. I pushed the tape into my late-80's model Zenith VCR and pushed play, turning on my television at the same time. While waiting for the vacuum tube of my ancient boob-tube to warm up, I looked down at my shoes. They were dirty; the once white imitation leather was now a dull gray, worn raw in places by constant friction. Too bad I'm poor. My television began to glow faintly as I saw the FBI warning: Do not copy this tape, it said, though not in so few words. I glanced to my left. There was my video collection. A multi-tiered book shelf filled with videos, each had a label hand-scrawled in pen. I had all the most recent movies. My collection was rivaled only by the video store's. Not surprising, as that was where I got most of them. FBI warnings aren't terribly effective. Perhaps they should use fewer words.

The television was glowing brightly now, and the film was about to begin. The first thing I noticed what that it was the wrong movie, or maybe they had just altered the title a bit at the last minute. The new title was: Useful as a Primrose. Then it began. Maybe they changed the plot, too. I saw no quadriplegic acrobats. What I did see was a cross between a Shakespearean drama and a bad imitation of an unreleased Monty Python sketch. A very bad imitation, and this definately was no Hamlet. Not even the Mel Gibson one. As far as I could tell, there were three men and one woman in the film. The men ran around dressed in bright red V-necked baithing suits. The old ones, like from the '20's, when people were afraid of water. A fear which I feel was justified after seeing Shark Attack 3 on TBS last weekend. The woman wore a baggy orange dress that made her appear fatter then she already was, a difficult task for a simple dress indeed. Throughout the movie the actors, if they can be graced with such a title, ran around in public places quoting Shakespeare at the top of their lungs. "What light through yonder window breakes?" quoth one of the men running down the center of a crowded street, forcing drivers to swerve and curse. The obese female followed close after him shouting "That is the question!" and forcing the cars to swerve even further and curse even louder.

Then it was over. The film ended rather anticlimatically, as you can expect, with the actors beating themselves to death with shovels and rakes and various other gardening tools. Then the credits. All four names. Not a bad movie, actually, I thought. It was better then The Matrix: Reloaded. I took the tape from the VCR and inserted it into my screechily protesting video rewinder. I wish they would come up with a video that doesn't need rewinding. Kind of like a CD, but with movies, not music. Maybe like a laser disc but smaller. That would be nice. I clicked off the television and watched as the glass screen slowly dimmed. The video finished rewinding and popped up much like toast out of a toaster. I put it back in its plastic case and then sat down to write this story. I think I will rent another video tomorrow.




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