A collage of commercials

December 28, 2011

Listening to a group of writers. 3. Talking on the CBC. Talking about their books. Like someone trying to sell A-C to the Inuet. But it occurred to me that so many of my characters in my stories have no inner life. I feel like that sometimes. Nothing inside. For a while I thought that humans might be intellectual compost heaps. Information went in and ideas came out. But that was the Educational System in me. As I grow older I find that I can take almost any point of view. And pretend that it means something. In fact as I get older I find I have less and less to say. About anything. A few simple things in my life. My kids. My wife. My friends. Starbucks coffee. And I think that the barrel is almost empty. Then I hear the Governor of Texas talk. Mr. Perry. And I feel like Socrates.

This story is about a commercial. Which is some peoples whole life. They are so filled with cliches that they sound like a collage of commercials.



Mr. Singh. Leaning off to one side. Only slightly. Like Bogart. Leaning on a door jam. Thinking about some dame. And another drink. Mr. Singh. Gathered himself. In front of his store. A pride of lions was placed behind him. One for the ‘M’. The other two for ‘GM’.  Digital effects. Between Mr. Singh and that huge yellow sign. The one that read. Just before the apocalypto. EVERYTHING MUST GO. Which was a faint hope. A last gasp. A shot in the dark. It was sell everything. Or Mr. Singh would have to go. Broke. And he knew it. But which had little. Nothing to do with the matter at hand. Mr. Singh’s shadow. Stumbled. Across the face of the lions. Bending their ear. Another cigarette. He told his story. They looked indifferent. Couldn’t have given a crab’s ass. If Mr. Singh was there. Or some other chum. They’d just finished eating. A republican. Wouldn’t mind chewing on one of those. Mostly fat. Mr. Singh loved his profile. Like Alfred Hitchcock. Although Mr. Singh himself looked more like Alfred E. Newman. That mad cap icon. Of American industrial might.

Mr. Singh. Looked quite distinguished. In his salt and pepper suit. The producer smoked a cigar. He was anxious to get the whole thing into a can, race it back to the studio, edit it, put it on the television and collect his money. Before the lions got hungry. Digitally speaking. The director. A small Frenchman with a slight Jamaican accent. Wearing a beret. Smoking a French cigarette in a German cigarette holder. Sat in a lawn chair. Smiling. How he loved to watch his own creativity. Ravel. The camera crew stood some feet away. Their dogs were dead. They’d been on their feet all day. Something this stupid shouldn’t take this long. They all agreed. Someone called out ‘somebody better say something’. The director cried. Action. Mr. Singh began to do the moonwalk. Sliding his shoes like feet in sand. Man, he was smooth. Tapping his toes like Sammy Davis. Junior. Cocking his head to one side. His hips tucked under his shoulders. His fingers snapping. Like lady fingers. On July 4. Strutting toward the camera. Like Mick Jagger. His lips pouting. Like Brigid Bardot. He sang:

“Have I got a deal for you! Best deal since 1940. Two. They brag about bargains. In Buffalo. Save yourself. In Buffalo. Boy, you got to forget. Those boasts. From those boys. Have I got a deal for you? We got your rugs. Spelling out your name. We got your couches. Dressers. That will make those chins wag. Checking out that tag. Old ladies in Barrie. Will be driven crazy. We got bargains. Don’t be no Judas. You can betray. Genghis Khan. For half of what you gave. At church. For Jesus Christ. Can you hear that jangle. Of change in your. Pocket. What a sweet sound. Go ahead and forget what you got for nothing. No one pays to enter this world. But look at the price. You pay. Not to leave. Keep your nickels and dimes. Maybe some day. A collector. A handsome collector. Will reward you for your patience. Don’t be afraid to steal. We wiped out that commandment. With each of our prices. Don’t worry. About poverty. You’ll always get by. When you come to Singh. Slow down. Keep your money in your bank. Come on down. Lets Singh you a different tune. Everything must go. From my house. Right into your house. We just want to treat you right. Have I got a deal for you!”

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