Saturday, February 14, 2009

Procrastinator's Shadow

So, you waited until the afternoon before Valentine's Day to pick up that gift for your sweetie. 'No problem', you think, 'I'll just duck into this chocolate shop and no one will be the wiser'. So you do, snagging a spot in line there amid the post-lunch rush. Ninety seconds pass and you advance in line, until you're almost within reach of the sample tray. Finally, when you're close enough, you reach over and toss one of those dark chocolate thingies down the hatch. It's chewier than usual and as much needed saliva wells up in the recesses of your engorged cheeks, you notice weird shadows on the back wall of the storage room in the distance. Suddenly, a store clerk appears in the door frame, her outline strangely backlit. Then she stoops to pick up something and you spot me, a TV News cameraman, light on, lens pointed straight at you. Your eyes widen and your throat hitches as you struggle to keep that chocolate abomination from spraying through your moustache. Just when you think you're going to hurl warm brown Valentine juice all over the action news-hour, you notice I'm not even looking into the eyecup. In fact, I barely look interested in anything at all as I scan the far reaches of the room, my eyes darting from truffle to customer to the singsong lure of the open cash drawer.

Relax, I see you. You're the dude in the FuManchu who looks like he ate a Hotpocket he found under his mattress. Normally, I'd frame your particular choice of facial hair in a nice medium-to-wide shot, but it's obvious You Sir, DO NOT WANNA be on tee-vee. How do I know? Well, besides the fact that you look like you're choking down a baby pigeon, it's the whole awkward, negative vibe you're giving off. Really now, if you don't want to be noticed, must you clock MY every move? I haven't seen eyes dart like that since the last time I interviewed the beefy fella from Two Guys Named Chris. Remember, we lenslingers pride ourselves on our peripheal vision and sense of ambivalence. Besides, I already got enough bad actors on tape to cast a CSI episode, what do I need to hassle a cat who can't chew his food? Tell you what, I'm gonna stick my lens back in the cash drawer; you make like you didn't see me and wipe your mouth. Careful though, there's a Soccer Mom right behind you who's just dying to be on the tee-vee and if you so much as cough up a Hershey's Kiss, she's goin' for the Heimlich Maneuver.

Then I'd HAFTA put you on the news.

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