lights, camera, action!


Lights. Camera. Action!

by Ed Collins/May 04

Standing next to my car, fumbling with my keys:

A guy rolls by on a spiffy yard-long skateboard. During the time I watch, from when he comes into my view, until he leaves it, he’s rolling, ever so slowly, like he’s on one of those airport people-mover belts, while he checks out the storefronts.

Then, like in a movie, another guy walks into the scene. He’s wearing baggy Levi’s and a white short-sleeve tee shirt; on the back, across his broad shoulders, in big block letters, is written:

Hey, snap out of it!

I heard that expression in Moonstruck, when Nicolas Cage tells Cher he’s in love with her. Then she slaps him.

The guy enters The Paladin video rental store.

Then, while I take The Club off of my steering wheel, a girl appears to my left. She’s got on these skin-tight white pants with a row of black buttons running down the sides––like a mariachi costume. The pants alone are enough to delay my departure. She’s petite with almost too thin legs, but a perfect butt.

She’s has short, blonde, out-of-control hair that I’m sure she analyzed before leaving her house, or more likely, studio apartment.

She’s got an unapproachable pouty face that makes her look bored or unhappy or both.

I’m not sure how old she is. She could be in high school. She could be pushing thirty.

She’s wearing a black T-shirt and a white sweater, unbuttoned.

Under her left arm, half covered by the sweater, she’s carrying a Taco Bell dog––a Chihuahua, I believe.

It is a movie scene. And it’s perfect: The funky video store. The pants. The hair. The buttons. The dog. The butt.

As I start my car she walks into the open door of the store and past the counter on which a crude hand-printed sign reads:


Time slows for me as she takes a few more steps before coming to a stop.

I look over my shoulder at the cross traffic, then back into the store. She’s looking past the counter at a display or something. Suddenly she smiles broadly, as though she’s greeting a close friend.

She doesn’t look so unhappy now.

It’s the guy with the T-shirt. She knows him, I guess.

No––he too is holding a Taco Bell dog.

As I put the car into reverse, the girl continues to beam. Meanwhile, the two dogs, held in their owners’ arms, begin to sniff each other’s noses.

Cut. Check the traffic again. Reluctantly, back up.barcloaf1-1