Artwork: ghost


Author: MAG '21-'22
As seen in: For Your Consideration #

The year is 2004. It’s Friday in 2004. You head to the Blockbuster in 2004 with your dad to rent a movie. You’re near the candy and Dad is over by the X-rated movies. He’s going to pick something out for him and Wendy to watch after you go to bed. Life is good. It’s not great, but it’s good. 

Suddenly, you hear Dad crumple to the ground. He’s seizing up. “My arm! My arm!” He says, as if crying about it is going to help. You put your fingers to his forehead. He’s bone cold. “Dad? Dad? Dad?” You’re shaking him to make sure you’ve got the right dad. He‘s dead, but it‘s no time to mourn. It‘s time to save face. 

“Alright everyone in Blockbuster, this is a hold-up!” You shout, grabbing your Dad’s gun from his ankle holster (he was an air marshall who had been suspended for applauding too loudly during an in-flight movie). Waving the gun, you move the customers to the back of the store. You ask for a shopping cart and Lyle, the store clerk and a real people pleaser, is the first to defect to your cause.

“You want the Red Vines? Take the Red Vines,” Lyle says, making you feel… making you feel like what you want matters? Like your dad is dead but now you have Lyle and you have these hostages and you have Red Vines, even though you don’t really like Red Vines cause they’re like bootleg Twizzlers but Lyle seems like a real tastemaker so you go with it. 

“Yeah, I’m taking the Red Vines,” you say, putting a handful in your mouth at first but as the hostages start to spaz a little you eat faster and get pretty sick. 

Lyle, always the consistent accomplice, steps in: “If you need to vom, just go out back. I can take care of things here.” He lines up the customers one-by-one and explains to them how Blockbuster‘s 4 movies for $3 business model is technically profitable, buying you time to go out to the dumpster to throw up. You think about how Lyle is the real hero today, not you. 

As you spew entirely unchewed Red Vines into the dumpster outside of the Blockbuster in 2004 you see the garbage can is filled to the brim with unopened DVD copies of Marmaduke. What the fuck? That movie doesn’t come out for six more years. You go back inside to tell Lyle there’s a gold mine of unreleased dog comedy waiting out there and you’ll cut him in for half. But when you go to tap your dead father’s gun on the window of the Blockbuster what happens? The door is locked. Blockbuster has gone out of business. Permanently.