A Brief Ditty About “Phantasm” and the Not-So-Well-Groomed Quarantined Writer

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A “Phantasm” Sentinel Sphere

“I don’t like the way you look,” says the wife.

“What’s wrong with how I look?” I ask. “I’ve been sitting at my desk all day, writing.”

“You look sloppy,” she says.

“Who am I trying to impress?”

“That’s not very nice.”

“I’m trying to make money?”

“There’s not enough money in the world to fix the way you look right now.”

I peek into my closet mirror. “Nah, I guess not.” Empty air ensues. I pick up the slack. “I need to get back to my article.”

“You have hair on your ears,” she says.

“Great! Maybe a miracle will happen and I’ll grow some on the top of my head too.” (I’m bald, not by choice.)

“You really don’t look that great today,” she adds. “I’m telling you nicely.”

You really don’t look great today … that’s nice to you?”

“It’s honest,” she replies.

“What do you want from me? To put on a suit?”

“Would beat those raggedy jeans you’re wearing. How many days have you had those on, anyway — ”

“About a month,” I reply.

“Really?” she asks, incredulously.

“Just the fact that you ask me — ”

“You got no ass in those things.”

“I’m sitting down. How do you know?”

“I’ve seen you standing up.”

“I lost weight,” I proudly proclaim.

“Bullshit.” Yeah, she’s right. They’re just old jeans.

“Why does your underwear stick out when you walk around the house?”

“Is there anything else?”

“Just asking.”

“I dunno,” I say. “I wanna rap?”

She doesn’t answer. She ignores my comment, and moves on to other, more important pursuits.

“You also have hair on the back of your neck, you know.”

“Jesus Christ. Maybe I strive to be the object of your affections.” Sarcasm. Never works. She angrily storms out, only to return two seconds later.

“I just remembered,” she says. “Aren’t you going to be on a Zoom call tomorrow?”

“Yeah why?”

“Can you at least shave your chest hairs?”

“Who the hell is going to be looking at my chest hairs? I’m a guest at a virtual Phantasm convention.”

“What’s Phantasm?”

“The horror movie … remember?”

“Kidding. We just spent two days with Reggie (Bannister) and Gigi. I know my Phantasm. It’s the film with balls.”

“Yeah, that’s it. They’re called Sentinel Spheres, though — ”

“What time are you on?”

“11 our time.” (Pacific.)

“Just make sure you shave your face, your neck, the back of your neck, your ears, and clip the nosehairs. Just because you’re in isolation doesn’t mean you can’t look good.”

“I’m a fucking guest at a horror con honoring a movie that features flying balls that kill people. Do you really think the attendees will care?”

“Doesn’t matter. You should look better.”

“Let me remind you of the film. It’s been awhile, I know.” I pull out a couple of stills.

“Still think people are gonna care about the way I look? These are my people.”

She thinks about it … and suddenly reaches for my prop Lemarchand’s Box from the Hellraiser films. She begins to toy with it …

Wrong film; nonetheless, not a risk I’m willing to take.

I stand, and exit.

Now excuse me as I do what has of late become foreign things with a razor …

For those of you interested in attending “the only online Horror Convention for Phans,” see below.

I look forward to talking to you on May 2, at 11 Pacific, and I promise to look my very best ...

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Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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