And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game. Such a great movie, too.
Best Actor: Bill Murray as Baloo in The Jungle Book. This is so far my favourite of the recent Disney live-action remakes.
Best Quote: “I’m your father. Trying to comprehend how much I love you would be like trying to visualize the size of the universe.” — Kevin Costner as Larry Bloom (father of Molly Bloom) in Molly’s Game.
No! Though it was an old car Brody babied it. Tune ups, transmission flushes, oil changes complete with high grade synthetics; yet, the Tribute wouldn’t turn over. It was as if there was nothing but grease and stale air under the hood. He just wanted to leave. That coffee conversation was more than just weird. The level of crazy those two are on… It wasn’t just the kind of crazy where you shake your head with a crooked grin like you do for tornado chasers, or people who belong to fanatical religious groups. No, this kind of crazy was the kind you don’t feel safe around. Like if you are listening to your religious zealot of an uncle ranting about his views and then realize he is carrying a gun in his jacket.
“Please Brody, don’t leave!” The older woman was standing in the parking lot a few yards away but in his view. It was like she was desperately pleading with him but respected him enough to give him space. Not so with Chester. He was at the passenger side door, palms on the window, and wide eyes.
“Brode! Ya gatta help us!”
Brode? Chester hardly knew him, what made him think he could move straight to nickname mode? That and the fact that he hated that unnecessary shortening of his name that for a second he’d forgotten his fear and shot the portly oddball the ol’ wtf stink-eye.
Then Brody looked again at Anita, and immediately regretted it. Oddly enough he felt bad for her. He saw in her pain, sorrow, and a vulnerability that one doesn’t expect to see in the eyes of a crazy person. And there was this odd feeling of responsibility for her, even love and loyalty, if she really was who she was claiming to be.
So tired. So annoyed. Somewhat still scared. But Brody found himself opening the door and getting out like a child who begrudgingly agreed to do what his parent asked. He stood and Anita approached.
They just stood for a few seconds looking at each other. To Brody it was hours. Chester stared unashamedly, waiting for what would happen next.
“Did you do it?”
Anita shook her head yes slowly.
“Do what??” interjected Chester, being soundly ignored.
Brody closed his eyes and exhaled. “This…” gesturing to the hood, “is my baby.”
“Oh the cah!”
“Yes, the CAH!” Brody mocked. “Forgive me for not wanting to be a part of your…witchcraft!” Witchcraft? It wasn’t the word he was looking for, but he was too shaken by the events of the last half hour to be flustered by poor word choice.
“Brody, we didn’t hurt your car. We just made it….not start.”
“Yeah, just for now,” added Chester.
“We need you to just listen. We will show you that what we’re saying is true and will keep you completely safe. Please Brody.”
Well, she had a way with words. In minutes they were back at their Denny’s booth. Coffee was cold, but no one was wanting any in the first place. They decided to start over and get to know one another a bit better. Perhaps that would help ease things a bit. Chester was a recent high school graduate who was adopted as a baby by an American couple in 1924. He lived through the great depression and the start of WWII. Like most young men his age he was sent oversees to fight the Nazis, and like most young men who were of Asian descent, he was sent on the front lines. He wasn’t as eager to join the fight as some of his peers. He’d even had a buddy join the Canadian army a couple of years prior to Pearl Harbour (This really piqued Brody’s interest.). Chester fought valiantly, but after a year and a half he died bleeding to death of bullet wounds, lying in the middle of a dirt road in Tunisia.
Chester seemed a little too matter-of-fact about his war experience and death, at least according to Brody. But Anita clarified. She explained how in what we call “the after life,” souls aren’t affected by the distresses and hardships of life on earth. And she spoke up at just the right time. It was her turn to share.
Anita was a happily married mother of three, grandmother of two and great grandmother of four. She was a high school math teacher who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on her 81st birthday. It was a scary time for her family, but by that time it was much easier to deal with the disease. Unfortunately it decided to return, this time to attack her lungs, a part of the body that scientists and doctors struggled to find cures for that had as good success rates as other types of cancer. She said she still misses her family, but in a different way than you do.
“Wait. You’re in your 90’s?” asked Brody incredulously.
“I died in my 90’s yes.” Knowing what he was getting at she added, “People live a lot longer in your immediate future. They also age slower. A lot of giant leaps were made in the field of medicine back in the mid 30’s.”
By now Brody’s nerves had eased enough for him to want to know more. It was time for him to ask some questions about Anita and Chester’s current situation.
“So, when you’re, um… in heaven,”
“Heaven!” Chester repeated with a smile and laugh you’d expect to see on an old man.
“Yeah. Well, what do you call it?”
“We don’t call it anything,” offered Anita. It just seems impossible to get used to people calling this “after life” or “heaven.”
“But it is ah-some!” said Chester. “That’s how we found you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Anita knew from her mom’s stories that you were a boxing fan and that you’d been there for the Puri-Stone fight of 2025.” Chester made ‘boxing’ sound like ‘baxing.’
“So you guys can time travel and go wherever you want?”
“Yes, but there are rules. Just like in natural law, no one really sets the rules. They’re just there. For instance, I can’t just say to myself I want to go to the local grocery store of my childhood on May 1, 1973. But if there is a specific notable event, one that lives in the minds and hearts of souls, living and dead—especially one’s own—it’s easy to get there.”
Brody was unaware that his mouth was open while he listened, nor how big his eyes were, nor how his head was cocked to the right, which made Chester giggle a bit.
“And how!” said Chester. Geez, listen to this guy. He really is an old man.
“We can fill you in more later Brody, but for now, we really need to get to a shower. Can we use yours?”
“You want to take a shower?”
“No no, not take one,” Chester interjected, “Clean as a whistle we are. We do still need your show-ah though.”
Brody was back to feeling nervous again. There’s something about bringing someone you just met to your house so they can use your amenities that feels a little off. Chester seemed to notice this.
“Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. We get in your cah and you let me do the driving, and I promise you we’ll get you home safe.”
“What, you guys can teleport?”
“Something like that.”
More out of exhaustion than anything Brody agreed to the deal, but he couldn’t possibly have been prepared for the car ride he was about to take.