Recital by Author &
Donald C. Meyer
  Art by Tom Denlinger
Image by photog/digital artist Tom Denlinger

Preview on the Edge of the Plasma Lagoon (lagoon-obelisk monument)

The rise of technocratic autoerotic totalitarian Pluto-democractic oligarchic Tyrolean republican regimes of the twentieth century offer a political economy engendering the emergence of governmental entities based upon movie previews at the start of the twenty-first century. You might be standing on the margins of your local mall/megachurch, gazing inscrutably at the vertical mall map, desperately searching for that reassuring “you are here” red arrow green circle yellow triangle that will situate you within a matrix of surds, a complex of possible vectors or lines of flight from the relatively unmoored spot that grips your feet towards consumer destinations arrayed about the chapel of plastic fantastic like Easter eggs hidden about a science-fair diorama of a very bloody second coming.

The trick is to fix your location before the map turns into an advertisement, as it does every few moments, are you become confronted not with the multicolored outlines of anchor locations discount shops aseptic jewelers but a phallic-granite obelisk launching from a bay of stone tablets just on the outskirts of a plasma lagoon that looks decidedly like an infrared rendering of the mall/megachurch kept top secret until this accidentally declassified moment.

“Excuse me sir or madam,” comes the Voice behind you. “Would you agree to fill out a short survey concerning a movie preview…?” and before the map returns you are whisked toward what you think is square “23” of the selfsame map—the chapel of the holy megachurch, the Our Lady of Perpetual Motion vestibule complete with digital censor wafting fragrant pixilated notions from spectral hands. The pews have been converted to stadium seating, and the Voice advises to watch closely, to stare straight into the tapestry of a cross-dressing Jesus cradling a tiny, but adult-proportioned version of the Virgin Mary; they turn all ectoplasmic and ghostly as the preview begins:

The film seems to be about a phallic-granite obelisk launching from a bay of stone tablets, as you watch the images of the plasma lagoon spread out in 3D from the bloody pools of Mary’s eyes dripping across the altar and down toward your feet which are now grizzled lumps of clay immobile in the mesmerizing flicker. The phallic-granite obelisk finally launches above the glassy plasma sea and makes it way, first, through outer space, past the terrestrial planets, the gas giants, past those ice balls Pluto and Sedna until it lands on a counter-Earth much like yours, then streaks down to the continent of Pangea and finds the spot where you might have sat those billions of years ago, before the development of carbon-dating and planetary telescopes. The final explosion of the obelisk against the flatland is followed only by the image of the pre-historic megachurch, the exploded Our Lady of Perpetual Motion in shreds and tatters, and the body of you, in the picture, crushed aside a pixilated map of the shopping location.

So the Voice asks you questions about the preview: which scenes do you like and which do you not? Which statements that others have said would you now agree to, such as “I will see this movie because it stars me and Tom Cruise” “I liked it because of the plasma lagoon” “Kids do too much crack and/or ecstasy today, while such mood-enhancing, life-affirming substances were once used only for simple for recreation and can’t you give a child of the 60s a break” “The rise of technocratic auto-erotic totalitarian Pluto-democratic systems is unsettling…”

You answer: “I would not see this movie at all—the subject is trite, the characters are not compelling, and the plot was lifted from a cereal box top…”

But you know this to be lie; you desperately want to see this film, just as all people who watch such a preview cannot help but feel their feet moored tightly to the earth beneath them, their person forever locating itself in the great tradition of persons who may someday be translated to the screen, to a great chain of previews linking every projection to the start of the world.

But you don’t say any of this as you rise from the pew and head back toward the mall map. You keep silent, and so the Voice is likewise silent, but marks down your enthusiasm anyway—because you have shared a special moment without a single concern for the flicker of old-timey verisimilitude.