(There are at least 102 film titles and famous lines in this piece. See how many you can find.)
It happened one night—a night to remember…
“Snap out of it!” barked Rosebud!
“You talking to me?” I asked.
“Well I ain’t talking to the invisible man,” she said.
I’d been in La La Land again. It had been a hard day’s night. I was an American in Paris—Texas—a yankee doodle dandy with a Texas heart who’d snoozed off on the waterfront after a night at the opera.
“It’s alive! It’s alive!” mocked Rosebud.
This was the stuff that dreams are made of. I was under the moonlight on Elm Street, so a nightmare—a grand illusion—wouldn’t mean I was psycho. I looked out the rear window at the thick fog. “Something wicked this way comes,” I thought. I was chilled from the inside out—shaken, but not stirred.
Once upon a time in Hollywood I would have had my knives out, but I was no second-hand lion, so I remembered: leave no trace. I remained the quiet man and could sense the gravity of the situation. Was this to be the apocalypse? Now?
I was about to receive the kiss of the spider woman when I spoke up. “I am your father, the Irishman.”
“Inconceivable!” Rosebud declared. “My father is the man who would be king.”
“The king of the world?” I asked.
“Yes!” said Rosebud, “and someday the king and I will rule from here to eternity.”
“Actually, the truth about Charlie is that he’s the Elephant Man,” I said.
Suddenly I felt a big chill, even in the heat of the night. But I never say never so I continued. “Your eyes are wide shut, Rosebud.”
Rosebud became a towering inferno. “What we have here is a failure to communicate,” she hissed.
“Nope,” I said. “You just can’t handle the truth.”
“The truth about Charlie,” she said, “is that he is kind. He is smart. He is important. Never rarely. Sometimes always.”
“I think he’s just a face in the crowd,” I said.
Rosebud was fuming. “There will be blood,” she shouted, “and guess who’s coming to dinner?”
“Lawrence of Arabia?” I answered. “Doctor Zhivago? Doctor Doolittle? Mary Poppins?” I was no longer going to walk the line for this unmarried woman. I caught the scent of a woman enraged, and thought we were about to have a shootout at the O.K. corral—or I was about to be shot in cold blood.
“I thought you were a man for all seasons,” she said, “but now I see you’re just a jerk.”
“And you’re a bad seed,” I replied.
“Hah!” she said. “I’m a lily of the field.”
“The killing field,” I shot.
In the distance we heard the sound of music—like blue velvet. It lured us to the bridge over the river Kwai.
We left together—the odd couple. All was quiet on the western front, so we made it safely through the blackboard jungle despite my vertigo. This was to be the greatest story ever told, or at least a magnificent west side story. We made it to the apartment where we had the conversation.
“You’re nothing more than a reservoir dog,” she barked. “You say it’s been a wonderful life. All I have to say is ‘Goodbye Mr. Chips’. I’m the terminator!”
The executioner’s song was unforgettable. I cried out, “Wait until dark!”
She seemed bedazzled—dazed and confused—and I made the great escape. It was like water for chocolate. But life is like a box of chocolates. I swept away down nightmare alley. Hungry, I bought a licorice pizza. My eyes cast down, I kept repeating, “Don’t look up, don’t look up”. I was the king’s man and she was my lost daughter. I slipped into a tender bar on Sunset Boulevard.
It was midnight in Paris—most likely my last tango there—and I wanted a room with a view. I went up the down staircase and came face-to-face with the Hunchback of Notre Dame. His face rang a bell. In a league of his own, he gave me safe passage.
Rosebud was right behind him. “I’ve been looking for Mr. Goodbar, but you’ll do,” she cooed, “even though you’re one of the lost boys.”
“A kiss before dying?” I asked.
She took me to the killing room and said, “I built it. You will come.”
…and that’s the view from The Balcony.
Randy Weeks is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Shamanic Life Coach, an ordained minister, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. He wants to be a movie star. Randy may be reached at email@example.com.