Oliver Buys Film (Partial Scene)

by Jay HOLLEY
 

The Polaroid film is on the endcap of the third isle in the section, flanked on the left by a rainbow colored display for a hand-held video game, on the right by a futuristic display for the latest electric razor. A flat panel monitor shows an animated graphic illustrating the exciting new “triple action” of the razor, and this draws Oliver’s attention from the film. He turns his head back to the rack of film, scans up to down, looking for a package labeled ‘600,’ and feels the words, “Look, it’s the elevator man,” smacking him in the ear.

Oliver turns toward the small brunette in the yellow dress, still sucking a lollipop. He looks from her to the rolls of her mother’s neck, to her mother’s bulging face, then back at the girl. He forces a smile. “Hello,” he says, and then turns back toward the film. He grasps a package, not 600, and carefully reads the syllables of each word printed on the back of the blue box. As he reads of the “excellent results, from birthday parties to football games,” she tugs on his jacket.

Holding up two video game cartridges, the girl asks, “Which should I get, Mario Kart or Pokemon?”

“I think you’d be better off buying a stick of dynamite,” says Oliver, adding, “but if you must choose between those two, go with this one with the pretty box,” while tapping one of the cartridges before a word of protest can leave her mouth.

The child makes an exaggerated nod and says, “Thanks. I want both but mommy says I can’t.”

“She looks like a sage, your mother.”

“She’s mean.”

“You’ll manage.”

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