Thursday, July 30, 2009

Negative Negatives

The other day when I went for my run, I spied something rather odd out of the corner of my eye that caused me to stop in mid-stride. It was negatives, old color print negatives from the 60’s (127 or 620 format) randomly sprinkled beside the road in the tall grass. Holding them up to the light, I see that the subject matter is mostly of a family at some long ago picnic eating large slices of watermelon by what I can safely say is a brand new ’64/’65 Ford Falcon but several of the shots also show the father taking the laughing kiddies on pony rides at a petting zoo somewhere.

Why would someone throw their old negatives of a long ago picnic/trip to the zoo out of the car window ? I have no clue. So, here’s a scenario I made up to satisfy curious minds:

Timmy was a nice gay boy. He had never known his father. There was just him, his butch sisters, Myrtle and Girdle and his mom whom everyone called Bert (short for Bertha). Every time he asked Bert about his father, she’d change the subject or order him to go to the store because they were out of Captain Crunch or Tang or some other useless breakfast product. His sisters wouldn’t talk either, they were usually too busy with FFA projects and trying to weave hemp into a wearable fabric, but that’s beside the point. Timmy wanted to know about his father and it was driving him freakin' bonkers (and also to a nightly four-packs of Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers as well)! Many years later when Timmy was 35 and Bert was in the hospital for her third gastric bypass, she decided it was time to spill the beans.

“Timmy, come closer. I want to tell you something.”

Timmy came closer and stood by her bed. “Yes, Ma?”

“Closer, dumb-ass!” Bert hissed, “You think I want the whole God damn floor to hear this ?”

Timmy easily forgave his mother, she always was a little crabby after she had her stomach stapled.

He leaned in real close and got right up in her face, “What, Ma?”

“Look over yonder in my pocketbook and reach inside, you’ll get the answers you seek.”

Timmy did as directed and pulled out a roll of undeveloped roll film. “What’s this, Ma?”

Bert sighed mightily and said, “Have them developed and you’ll get a big surprise indeed !”

Timmy squealed like that guy in Deliverance, “ You mean, pictures of papa ?”

“Yep and something else too and something else, my dear!”

Timmy dropped them off at the Revco drug Store (the only place in town that still developed print film and not just those damn hokey digital pictures) and told them to put a rush on it. One agonizing week later (bastards) the pictures were ready. There they were spread out before him on the passenger side of the front seat, glorious color prints of a long-ago picnic he’d attended with his family. There was Bert, looking all skinny and young with her cat-eye glasses laughing at the picnic table with a Virgina Slim in her hand. There was Myrtle and Girdle in flannel bathing suits playing with a Tonka dump truck in the sand. And finally, there was his beloved missing father and oh, how handsome devil he was ! Timmy see where he got his blond good looks from. But where or where was he ?

There was nobody else in the picture but a little, delicate girl wearing a white dress and daisy sandals with her hands tightly clasped around a nude Malibu Ken doll. Wait… that little girl looked sort of familiar, sort of like….him ! Holy shit, it was him ! He remembered that Malibu Ken doll now. Damn Bert for all her lies ! She’d told him that his wee-wee had to be surgically removed after he’d mistakenly peed on the neighbor’s electric fence. He, Timmy was really, a Tammy. He jumped in the car and flew down the road toward the hospital to have it out with Bert one last time. No wonder his father left without a backward glace. Timmy, I mean, Tammy never even noticed the sudden gust of wind that lifted up the negatives and politely sucked them right out the window on South Grove Street.

The End

P.S. See, given enough time, I can figure most anything out.

No comments: