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June 6, 2012

I have always been here before

Previously on “Fables of the Deconstruction”: My boss suggested I take a vacation. This was apparently based on the fact that I had been showing up to work disoriented, delirious, babbling incoherently. Initially, I tried to argue that I was fine, but as the conversation progressed, it became obvious that my mouth wasn’t saying things that were relevant to the situation. I couldn’t get it to say the words I was thinking. I decided it was probably a good idea to take a break.

In one sequence, I was in the hospital. They hooked me up to some machines and started analyzing my dreams. There was a montage sequence in which dozens of seemingly unrelated images flashed by, like a slide show at high speed. The reaction shot of the faces of the dream doctors as they tried to process the information on their little television screens was designed to be unsettling.

In another sequence, I was getting ready to take a road trip, preparing to drive down to Nashville to see a live music show. I had never been there before, and my friend couldn’t believe it. “You’re a life-long music fan from Louisville, Ky., and you never went to Nashville?” he said.

“Yeah, it’s weird, huh?” I said, but it didn’t seem real; there was an ominous shot of clouds gathering overhead as I closed the trunk and waved goodbye. As the camera pulled back, it was revealed that another, unknown individual was watching my departure from the window of a nearby house.

In the third sequence, it was suggested that I was a narcoleptic. I was shown falling asleep at strange times, sitting at the breakfast table, while jogging, while standing on the sidelines watching a football game, with no warning whatsoever. These incidents looked like fainting spells; my body would simply crumble, like a marionette with its strings suddenly cut.

These scenes were followed by “point of view” shots in a variety of surreal circumstances, shadowy places with weird, slow motion and/or dreamlike elements, large black birds, hands held up to shade the eyes from the sun; the soundtrack featured a muffled narrative, and then the camera would find me, sitting at a table drinking wine, wandering through a dusty library, pointing at a map, and then, as the camera would pan away, I would be shown waking up where I had previously “fainted,” struggling to achieve wakefulness, groggy, as if shaking off a roundhouse punch.

This week’s episode (which is also the season finale): The camera pans down on my body lying flat on a table in a hospital examination room with weird brain science equipment all around. I’m apparently sleeping. There’s a shot of the faces of the concerned medical professionals looking anxiously at dials and read-outs, and as the camera moves again across my face, my eyes flutter, and the scene cuts to me driving down I-65 toward Nashville.

I’m listening to a Bill Hicks CD, and I’m laughing out loud at the snorking noises he makes representing some unfortunate young pop star sucking on Satan’s cock. The sequence follows my progress to the show at the Bluebird Café featuring Eef Barzelay and Bobby Bare Jr., performing a solo, acoustic songwriters duel, taking turns playing original compositions for a rapt audience seated around little tables.

After the show, I ask Eef what the story was behind his song “Denver,” wherein he sings about an extra-marital affair that results in a pregnancy, and although he suggests the song was invented from whole cloth, he isn’t clear in that explanation, and the ambiguity becomes official. (You can find the song on YouTube.)

Next, there’s a daytime shot from the point of view of a driver on the interstate as an oncoming 18-wheeler crosses the median and comes head-on into the camera. The screen goes black.

The camera fades in on the accident scene. There’s a sheet covering what’s left of a small passenger vehicle, and the camera moves away from the scene, down the line of traffic standing still on the highway. Drivers and passengers are walking around their cars, looking in the direction of the accident. The camera moves faster and faster, until, miles from the crash, it suddenly settles on my car, wherein I am shown struggling, once again, to wake up.

For further consideration: Fans of H.P. Lovecraft and post-modern horror movies should see “Cabin in the Sky” in the theater before somebody spoils it for them. 

Correction.

By Curry
The recommendation in the final comment was supposed to be for the "horror" film, "Cabin in the Woods," which is showing at Village 8 today and tomorrow (and maybe thereafter, but I'm not sure). There is, by the way, a movie called "Cabin in the Sky;" it was the first film directed by Vincente Minnelli, an all-black musical released in 1943, and it is certainly worth seeing, but in the context of this column, the recommendation makes no sense whatsoever. Please forgive my clumsy fingers.