By CL Bledsoe

Maybe once a month, my brother would rent
a VCR, browse the fifty or so movies at Jack Ryan’s
market, and bring home Missing in Action, The Magnificent
Seven, anything by Mel Brooks, 80s comedies.
Jack Ryan didn’t stock the kind of movies
that won awards. Dad got mad if we rewound
or fast-forwarded because he thought the movie
would break; we tried to explain we’d get fined
if we didn’t rewind. Boo would make popcorn
on the stove, we’d watch the same movies over
and over for the few days we had them, my brother
and I reciting jokes to each other on the couch.
Dad would sulk on his chair in the corner, pretending
to read a book or do a crossword puzzle.
“That ain’t real,” he’d say if we got sci-fi,
but he never questioned John Wayne’s perfect aim.

Stuff My Stupid Heart Likes by CL Bledsoe (co-author of and The Wild Word:

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