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The Hand of Fear

July 29, 2010

I’m perched on a stool at the Apple store, surrounded by people playing with iPads and am trying to pretend like I’m in an office. Strangely, I seem to thrive on this kind of environment. Yesterday, I had two times to write. The first was for an hour and a half in this very spot. The second was two hours on the sidelines of AJ’s football practice. And amazingly, I was more productive than I’ve been in the last week put together. Sometimes I think distractions actually help me to focus. Or maybe it’s just the inability to hop up and clean something when I should be writing.

I’m at the Apple store for the second day of video camp. AJ could not wait to get here today. He’s made two short films. The first was mainly the product of special effects available on Photo Booth and was made solely with the computer’s built-in camera. It involved an alien with two heads, inspired by Photo Booth’s “two heads” setting (which I think is actually called something more pedestrian like “mirror”). The second film was a semi-improv war flick acted by a battalion of plastic army men who were in the middle of fighting the Russians in World War III. The best lines (more or less – I have to do this from memory, as AJ is working on his film as we speak):

Guy with rifle: But how are we going to beat the Russians?

Guy with pistol: We’re going to beat them by defeating the Russians.

Guy with rifle: Well, that isn’t very helpful!

About halfway through the film, one of the army men runs in to report that the Russians were defeated by the Japanese. One of the other men says, “Well that was a really uninteresting way to end World War III. The characters are critiquing the script. It’s all very po-mo.

In the end, the battalion is destroyed by the sole remaining rogue Russian who is dressed just like them and carrying a bazooka. He wanders in and shoots all but one and takes off. The sole remaining army man has a poignant monologue where, like Hamlet, he ponders the relative value of living or killing himself.

I’m the last man on earth. I think I’m going to shoot myself. But wait. I bet heaven’s really busy right now. 3.6 billion people are waiting to get in. And I have the whole Earth to myself.

For better or for worse, his decision is made for him. The rogue Russian sneaks up behind him while he is speaking and shoots him. The last scene shows the monologist ascending to heaven with the aid of the hand of God. Or something. It is followed by a short epilogue in which AJ turns the camera on his own face and proclaims, “So long, suckas!”

“Do you think I can take my hand out of the film?”

“I don’t know, AJ. I think there’s a way to do that, but I don’t know how.”

“Maybe I’ll ask my teacher.”

“I think that’s a great idea.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. coldspaghetti permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:55 am

    Anyone who can work successfully in an Apple store for more than an hour is freaking brilliant. No wonder AJ is genius!

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