By Josh Rountree
The dust biker comes into the video store that afternoon looking for slasher flicks. He heads straight to the horror section, not bothering to remove his breathing apparatus, and pulls a couple of classics from the shelf. Friday the 13th Part III and the original Halloween.
“You like this kind of stuff?” I ask when he hands the tapes to me for checkout.
“Yeah, so?” His voice is a mechanical whine and the desert winds have rendered his gray body suit smooth and practically transparent. I can’t see his eyes through the scored surface of his goggles, but I can feel the edge in the way he’s staring at me.
“I like them too,” I say. “I’ve seen hundreds of them. Slasher flicks, I mean.”
“Yeah, so what’s the best one?”
I don’t even have to think about it. “You ever seen Sleepaway Camp?”
His neck makes a stretching, leathery sound as he shakes his head side to side. “No.”
I sprint to the back of the store, pull the sun faded VHS box from the shelf, and add it to his pile. “On the house. Just let me know what you think when you drop it off.”
“You aren’t charging me?”
“No, just a favor from one fan to another.”
He might be smiling but I can’t see through the grill of his mask. He looms there like Jason Voorhees, silent and unreadable. Dust rides the creases of his suit and he reeks of illegal petroleum. He’s s seven-foot shadow come to life, an abstract artist’s rendering of torn metal and melted rubber pooling along an endless broken highway. He exhales heavily and it sounds like the rattle of failing pistons.
“Do you have a bag?”
I bag up his tapes and he grunts his thanks on the way out the door. The front wall of the store is made of glass and I watch as he starts his bike and speeds away toward the shimmering red horizon.
I hope he likes the movie. (Continue Reading…)