His circumstances led him to make that choice and that alone – but that does not mean that he had no choice.
I remember Beth Renolds, the girl who was killed by her family because of the TV. You probably saw about it once, on TV. It was years ago when the Renolds family lived next door to us and me and Beth were in the same grade at school – the old Park Elementary, the one with the weird Flash-Gordon spires and stuff that looked like King Kong had stepped on the Empire State Building and made it just two stories tall – but it was a nice school except for the heat was not too good in Winter and the solidified September sunlight shining into Mr. Logan’s third grade classroom where I would sit staring at Beth’s shoulder-short auburn hair moving as she laughed still makes me wake up sometimes right before my alarm goes off, all tingly inside, sort of shivering with regret or nostalgia.
Anyway, I was telling about the Renolds and the TV. One afternoon me and beth are lounging around languidly in their backyard, kind of both wishing we were a little older or braver so we could declare our undying pure burning yearning love for each other – or at least me for her, I didn’t really know how she felt, and afterwards, well, I never found out. That’s maybe because she was a year younger than me – an accelerated student – but likely I just figured something was wrong with me because I was so young but I loved her so much; it was a kind of sexless fiery passion like some gnostic Christian visionary escaping his body – me just looking at her – you know – God!
So we were sitting – not really playing – maybe talking, I don’t remember, I just kept looking at her hair and her lips because they were very beautiful, and we heard Mr. Renolds call for Beth to come inside and see what he had bought. Mr. Renolds had got one of those new Korean sets – with computerized tuners and the hi-res screens. Beth’s older brothers were impressed, especially Bobby, who was about 14 I think – anyway, that very night the Renolds were watching the new TV and I was watching Beth because they had invited me and my brother Silas over, Silas who was Terry’s friend because he was always better at everything than me and could be friends with Terry.
[The “retroblogging” project: this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2013-02-18. I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back. It’s a big
project. But there’s no time limit, right? The above germ of a short story was written in a journal I was keeping while at the University of Minnesota in 1988. There are themes in this story that I found genuinely surprising, given when I wrote it – I guarantee I didn’t not add in or alter the references to Korean technology or the pop culture of crimes of passion, etc. – they were present in the original!]