A Couple Sit Down To Watch A Movie...
It was almost seven o’clock and Barbara Taylor’s husband still wasn’t home from work. She wasn’t getting so much worried as she was mad; normally Dennis walked in the door right at six-thirty. She was just starting to punch in his cell number when he stepped through the door with a small plastic bag.
“Where have you been?” she asked.
“I’m sorry, Barb, but I wanted to surprise you so I stopped by the video store and grabbed that movie you’ve been wanting to see.” He reached in the bag and pulled out a DVD. The title of the movie was ‘Loose!’, a mild horror flick about a family terrorized in their own house by an escaped psychopathic killer.
Barbara’s red mood softened, but Dennis could see she still wasn’t as happy as she should have been.
“What?” he asked.
“That was sweet, Dennis, but the DVD player isn’t working. I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I tried watching a movie this afternoon and it just quit. It’s no big deal. Besides, you’ve already seen ‘Loose!’.”
Dennis set the movie down on the table. “And that’s exactly why I want you to see it. It's a great movie, Barb, and don’t worry about the DVD player. It quit on me the other night and all I had to do was jiggle some cords in the back. It’s got a short or something.”
“If you say so,” she said. But she didn’t really think he could get it working.
As soon as they finished dinner the two of them were settled on the couch in the living room watching the movie. To Barbara’s surprise, Dennis didn’t even have to jiggle any wires, and the movie came on as if nothing was ever wrong with the player.
The first fifteen minutes were nice and mellow, but Barbara could tell by the music and the scene that something dramatic was about to happen. She snuggled up against her husband, and even though Dennis had seen it before, he was still too absorbed in the movie to notice his wife’s attentions.
On the screen, the psycho, Leonard Gritz, was about to make his first scary appearance, having snuck into the Parker’s house through an open window earlier in the day. Dennis knew as soon as Mrs. Parker opened the pantry door, Leonard would jump out, seize her, and wrap his hand over her mouth so as not to let the Mister know he was there.
Mrs. Parker casually opened the pantry door, reached in, and pulled out a jar of spaghetti sauce off the top shelf. She closed the door.
“What?” Dennis said, shaking his head. “That’s not what happens.”
“What do you mean, ‘that’s not what happens’?” Barbara asked.
Dennis didn’t want to ruin the movie for her, but he was too befuddled by what he’d just seen, or didn’t see, that he told her anyway.
“Are you sure?” Barbara asked.
“Pretty sure,” he said.
“Well, maybe it happens later.”
“I don’t think so.”
Just then all the power went out in the Taylor house. But the movie continued to play. There was still no sign of Leonard, and Mrs. Parker went about her business in the kitchen as usual.
Barbara and Dennis looked at each other. Then at the TV. Then back at each other.
“Dennis, what’s going on?” Barbara asked, the anxiety in her voice beginning to show.
“Good question.” He stood up and walked over to the TV to investigate why it was still on. On the screen Mrs. Parker was at the kitchen sink, and Mr. Parker came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, giving her a loving hug like nothing was wrong. Mrs. Parker turned around, and the two of them embraced. But there was still no sign of Leonard the psycho.
Barbara went to the window and checked the neighbor’s lights. “Everyone else’s power is on,” she said.
“Doesn’t matter,” Dennis said. “What I can’t understand is why all of our power went out, but this movie is still playing.”
In the movie, Mr. Parker went back to his living room. Mrs. Parker picked up her cell phone and dialed a number. Barbara’s eyes darted back and forth from Dennis to the movie.
Barbara’s phone rang.
She picked it up and watched the TV screen as Mrs. Parker asked her if she had her doors locked.
“What?” she asked, staring wide-eyed at the TV.
“There’s supposed to be some psycho on the loose in your neighborhood,” Mrs. Parker explained, both on TV and into Barbara’s ear.
Something crashed in the Taylor’s kitchen. Barbara’s eyes nearly popped out of her head. The phone fell out of her hands and dropped on the floor.
“Dennis!” she yelled at her husband, but he was already rushing past her into the kitchen, completely oblivious of her surreal conversation with the woman on the movie. “No, Dennis! Don’t go in there!”
Barbara couldn’t move. She heard Dennis yelling, and then a brief struggle.
A moment later she heard footsteps approaching from the kitchen. Barbara was frozen to the spot, speechless.
A large man with long, scraggly blonde hair suddenly stepped into the archway. The shadows from the TV played ominously on his old, weathered face, and in his hand was Barbara’s meat cleaver, blood slowly dripping from the cold, hard steel.
It wasn’t Dennis.
On the TV screen, Mrs. Parker was just putting her phone down, a puzzled expression on her face. Mr. Parker came back into the kitchen and asked his wife what was wrong.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I just tried to call Barbara Taylor and tell her about that Leonard Gritz psycho, but the phone suddenly went dead.”
Mr. Parker put his arm around his wife. “Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about them,” he said. “I’m sure they’re just fine.”
"I hope so," she said. "I really hope so..."