Brooks

Brooks

August 10, 2021 3 Comments

 

 

 

I didn't know anyone outside, so I worked on the fire, teasing it with rolled-up paper and laying on bigger sticks after the flames got high. I was up at my friend's house in Allentown for the weekend, and about ten people sat around his back yard watching me work, drinking wine and shelling shrimp as the sun went down.

At one point Brooks began to talk. Brian DePalma is a worthless hack, he said. I mean Blow Out has its moments but they are little more than brief pinpricks in an otherwise vast and mediocre tide. Brooks was 14. He spoke in a loud, flat monotone and wore a fanny pack across his chest like a bandolier. He sat in the fold-out captain’s chair beside his mother with his left leg twisted twice around his right, the shoe of one foot nestling like a bird against the opposite shin. The light from the fire flickered in his glasses. 

Say what you will about Spielberg but he’s twice the director DePalma is. Jaws of course but the later Spielberg will be remembered. No one talks about Munich. No one talks about Minority Report. And I don’t think anyone understood Indiana Jones in the first place. It’s pulp fiction before Tarantino, who is so far up his own ass he can only speak in curses. 

Brooks raised his hand to point at me where I sat. Excuse me, he said. Are you a writer? I want to write a dream I had the other night and I’m uncertain how to proceed. I woke up as a spider in a house by the beach. 

I was a spider, Brooks said, with long thin legs and I opened the window with my multiple arms and climbed down the side of the house and over the dunes. I came to the water but the fog was already in, sitting on top of the ocean in the morning sun. I could only see a few feet out, and I could hear the surf but I couldn’t see the waves. 

What do you think it means? I asked. 

And then two geishas walked by, Brooks said. I don’t care what it means. 

He adjusted his seat and looked to his mother whose eyes had been and were still lost in the flames. He reached for the edge of his sock and pulled it up tight against his leg. What does E.T. mean? he said. It's a boy on a flying bicycle. 

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Cameron MacKenzie's work has appeared in Salmagundi, J Journal, and The Rumpus, among other places. His novel, The Beginning of His Excellent and Eventful Career (MadHat Press) and his monograph, Badiou and American Modernist Poetics (Palgrave Macmillan) both appeared in 2018. His short story collection, River Weather, is forthcoming from Alternating Current Press.

 

 

 

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash



3 Responses

Lana Whited
Lana Whited

August 25, 2021

The short-short is a great format for creative writing students, and I may be using this as an example in the near future.

M.Betsy Smith
M.Betsy Smith

August 17, 2021

I loved this. I have to confess I haven’t read a ton of short fiction. My genre is or has been creative non-fiction but I need/want to up my game and try fiction. My son was a movie buff at fourteen so the story line resonated with me from the start. The descriptions were perfect from the twisting left leg to the pulling up of the sock. The last two lines —spot on! I was told it’s critical to “nail the ending!” You did!

Veronica
Veronica

August 17, 2021

I love this.

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