• Writings From a Past Life: Death Like Garlic

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    This week’s past life writings comes from Christine Faris, who as a middle-schooler took a trip to a decrepit movie theater and wrote a story based on the experience.

    Because that’s what we have to do, folks. As we’ve written about before, writers need to step out of their comfort zone now and then to experience different settings, different people, different ideas. A simple trip to the supermarket may seem like nothing more than an annoyance, but if you keep your writer’s eye open, that irritating errand could instead turn into the basis for a solid short story. Or even a classic poem.

    So without further ado, Part I of Christine Faris’s “Death Like Garlic,” wherein our heroine takes a solo trip to her local movie theater, has an awkward sort of coming-of-age moment with the theater’s ticket-taker, and meets a fellow moviegoer … who may or not be a character ripped from the film itself.


    Death Like Garlic

    I hate going to the movies alone.  The people who work at the cinema give me these awful, pitying looks as if to say “Oh, poor thing.  She must not have any friends.”  I do have friends, but they are not the sort of people who appreciate vampire films.  They simply don’t understand the intricacies behind the legend that is Vladamir Draculya.

    As I buy my butter and white cheddar flavored popcorn, my diet with a hint of lime pop, and my extra large box of milk duds, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before my perfect metabolism is finally defeated by my ever-present fat genes.

    The ticket boy, with the acne which makes it impossible for him to get a date, flashes a metallic grin at me.  He is one of the realest people I have ever met.  One day, when he finally buys Proactive and makes his final orthodontic trip, he and I will share more than a love of bad accents and fangs.

    As he takes my green ticket and rips it in half, he tells me he can’t join me today because he’ll get fired.  I tell him that he’s snuck in 101 times before.   He says it was one time too many; his co-worker caught him and said if he ever snuck in again, the boss would be notified.  What a jerk.  I look to my left.  I look to my right.  Good no one is watching.  I give him what is meant to be a swift hug, our first.  To me it symbolizes the end of caring what my friends think and the beginning of finally being happy.  As our hug lingers, he whispers in my ear,

    “You are beautiful.”

    “So are you,” I breathe in response.

    As we break apart, I notice the faint smell of garlic.  He is so superstitious.

    “M’am, your theater is all the way down the hall, to the right, and up the stairs,” he says in a loud voice, to mask our relationship to anyone who might be listening.

    “Thank you sir,” is my reply.

    As I make the long journey down the hall and up the stairs, I can’t help but notice that with each step an unknown odor gets stronger.  It is like musk and dusk and twilight have become one very odiferous essence.  I feel foreboding’s fingers lightly brush my cheek, but they’re gone quicker than they arrive.  I’m sure that the smell is a result of sticking the vampire flicks in the very dankest corner of the cinema.  Whatever.

    As I make my way to the center of the theatre, I notice a man in the shadows of the top row.  He gives me a voluptuous smile and a wave of his slender hand.

    “It looks like we are the only ones who possess good taste,” he calls down, with an ever so slight emphasis on the final three words.

    He is European; I can’t quite place his exact region.  He is probably well traveled; the suit he is adorned with looks quite expensive.

    Wait.  Why is he wearing a suit?  I guess he’s here because it’s close to the airport and he has a long layover.


    Tune in next week for Part II of “Death Like Garlic,” when our narrator faces “the most life changing decision one can make.”


    Christine Faris is a senior creative writing student at Stephen F. Austin State University. The inspiration for her writing comes from travel and living in the East Texas Pineywoods. The inspiration for this particular story came from a middle school trip to a very dilapidated cinema. You can follow her musings at http://findingtheendoftheworld.wordpress.com/


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    […] we left her last week, the narrator of Christine Faris’s “Death Like Garlic” had just entered the movie […]

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