watching a movie together?
“You think they’d move the clock away from the wall a few feet.” The brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt has just charged up the stairs and slammed his bedroom door, and one of the aunts has run over to stop the clock from ringing in response. “That’s a fixable problem.”
“You’re missing the point,” says Root, twirling some chow mein around her chopsticks. She’s sitting cross-legged, picnic style on a blanket on the floor. “It’s a comedic device.”
“Fine. So when do we get to the murder?”
“Soon. Kinda. It’s offscreen. Just… enjoy this for what it is.”
It’s Halloween, and Root downloaded Arsenic and Old Lace because this was her ritual when the other kids went trick-or-treating. She’d copied the local rental store’s VHS and watched it over and over, including every year on Halloween night. Not an exciting prospect for an evening in–until she offered to order Chinese, her treat. That sealed the deal.
“I always thought she was cute,” says Root, watching Cary Grant and his lady love kissing in the graveyard in that old-black-and-white-movie way–mashed mouths, no tongue. Root looks a little sad, watching them–no one should look sad while eating chow mein and watching sub-par movie kisses, but that’s Root for you.
“Did you know how gay you were then?” It comes out facetious, but it’s a real question, more or less. Root picks that up, the way she usually does.
“Not really. The few romantic impulses of my adolescence were… a sort of Schrödinger’s attraction. I wanted to be, at the same time, the woman herself, and the person who could love her.” She laughs. “Compulsory heterosexuality, taken to its logical, absurd extreme.”
The movie cranks its way forward and, true to Root’s promises, picks up the pace. Turns out the old maiden aunts serially poison old guy drifter types, a dozen or so, and have been burying them in the basement. Nice twist.
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” drawls Root, noticing the pickup in interest.
When the extra food’s pushed aside and getting cold, the next time the action slows down–the evil brother is taking way too long to intimidate his creepy assistant–the best way to pass the time between exciting episodes is clearly a high school style makeout session. Root is more than game to roll over on the blanket, completely ignore the action on her laptop, and turn her attention to being pinned to the floor and kissed mercilessly.
“This is the best way this movie’s ever gone for me,” she whispers, breathless and thrilled. “Or any movie, actually.”
“Oh, really? No high school flame made the moves on you in the backseat at a drive-in?”
“Don’t be silly,” she says, and submits to more long, lazy kisses.
Eventually things pick up again, and Root watches, contentedly, from her supine position, her wrists pinned behind her head.
“Want me to let you up?”
“Nah. You feel good. And I kind of like watching it upside down.”
Another long, sticky, delicious kiss, then, just for the hell of it. Root clearly doesn’t care anymore about finishing the movie.
“But you’ll love me for my mind, too?” she quips, between kisses. It’s not a declaration, just a quote from that silly graveyard kissing scene in the movie–a memorable one, and easy enough to finish.
“One thing at a time.”