Movie Night
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My wife, Phyllis, works evenings as a nurse. When she has a night off, she likes to watch movies in the comfort of our bedroom. She prefers Lifetime movies and horror flicks.

I like to say if you’ve seen one Lifetime movie, you’ve seen them all. They even have similar titles like, “When a Tall, Good-looking, Rich, Stranger Calls, What Shall I Wear?”; “The Stranger in My Bedroom Who Looks Exactly Like My Brother’s Picture on the Milk Carton”; and my all time favorite: “Stranger in the Guest House Who Walks Around Without a Shirt Most of the Movie” (he turns out to be the pool guy).

I can at least rest my eyes (snooze) during these movies, but if Phyllis settles on a horror film, I know I’m in for it, as scary stuff makes me nervous. I know I’ll be hiding under the covers for half the movie; the other half I’ll heading out to the kitchen to take on truckloads of extremely nourishing snacks. I eat a lot when I’m nervous.

I’ll start with the closest thing in the cabinet, while keeping one eye on the TV; it may take me a few seconds to realize I’m eating raisin bran from the box. Then I may mow down a bag of chips and a quart of ice cream. Next it’s time for more salt, so a few pretzels are in order. I’ll stall until the mayhem slows down, or maybe even, a commercial blessedly shows up.

I time my kitchen breaks to coincide with the moment the axe murderer or serial killer is about to do somebody in. If my timing’s off, and I’m still in the bedroom, I dive under the covers, but not always quickly enough as I sometime catch a glimpse of the latest victim with flying body parts, which are later stuffed into a Hefty bag.

There are three of us watching the movie as our puppy dog, Precious, always joins us, or to be more accurate we join her as she lets us sleep on her bed. Precious doesn’t care what we watch as long as the volume is down so she can get her much needed puppy rest. Sometimes I enlist her assistance as a ruse to leave the movie when I know a crucial moment is coming up (when the slasher is getting ready to strike, you can tell by the creepy music).

Usually, I’ll say to Precious: “Do you need to go out? Don’t you need to potty? Daddy will take you out right now”. Precious will yawn and stretch and indicate that she wants to continue napping, but will go out if I think it’s absolutely necessary, i.e., I sense another round of flying body parts.

Phyllis recognizes this move as the dodge it is, but contents herself with asking, “Don’t you think you ought to tie yourself up before going outside?” (My robe belt is trailing along beside me after my latest dash to the kitchen.)

Going out often turns out to be a bad idea, as Precious will think it’s a fine time to tour the neighborhood rather than keeping her mind on Puppy Business. She is sometimes distracted by giant worms, night crawlers, which are creepy in themselves. She would love to bite into one and take it home to Mom, but I discourage her. Since I’m in my bathrobe I’m not exactly dressed to go touring.

And I soon begin hearing footsteps though I see nobody; the neighborhood is very dark; there are way too many shadows, the hair on the back of my neck stands up, which means the Serial Killer is behind us. At this moment I pick Precious up and run back to the house.

I’m out of breath when I return to the bedroom. Phyllis says, “Did you see a ghost or something? Maybe we should have watched Lifetime.”

“We could catch the last half of ‘Switched at Birth,’” I say, “or ‘How I Married My Twin Brother.’ I bet nobody is hacked to death in that one”. “Maybe next time-I want to finish this one.”

“Why don’t I just take a shower and meet you back here for the news?”

I like to take long showers. By the time I get out, Phyllis has finished her scary movie and started a Lifetime masterpiece, “The Suzie Wilkinson Story: Based on The Absolutely True Story of How I Ran for My Life from my Handsome But Brutal Ex-husband/Boyfriend Who Was a Box of Rocks, But Looked Dreamy Without a Shirt.”

“Oh, this looks good,” I’ll say. As I head to the kitchen.

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