The 'Antique Geek' is a historical fiction blog written by one of The Phoenix's
Poetry editors, Kristen Slone
The Antique Geek:
Within the Fibers
They are partners in history and witnesses to the effervescent march of time. A chair and a radio which would solve some of histories mysteries if they had eye and ears, hearts and stomachs. Some of the most valuable tales have been interwoven into their splinters and transistors, if only they had a brain. I am talking about a hand-built 1940’s era directors chair, sturdy in its bones of maple and dressed in the finest smooth upholstery. Blackened leather, smoothed by age and hind-ends, plush with dust and soot and smoke and life. To its left, a radio from a long-since-passed company. From the era of burnt sienna oranges and yellows, wood paneling and bellbottoms, a radio that has been taken care of and serendipitously partnered with a chair of mystery over time. Neither aware of the other, but having been a part of so much together. A repaired knob on the radio speaks to a fall from a shelf, a violent past. Dried wood glue poking from the arm rest speaks of damage done, perhaps thrown to the side in haste – or hate, anger and frustration, the project must be done. While wear and tear took most of their fellow studio counterparts, these two live on together, ceaselessly against the gripping fingers on the hands of time.
In the back of a repurposed warehouse in the middle of rural North Carolina is where these two fellows of chance and happenstance live now, but that was not always the case. Within the grains and stitching of these two furniture staples belongs stories of Los Angeles and budding stars, of betrayal and despair, vengeance and the guttural hate that emits from the bowels of the human condition. The studio was always smokey, ash trays overflowing with stifled buds and dust. This room was where aspiring movie stars came to die— er, cry. Mr. Justice was in general a fairly greasy man, his comb-over matching the same black slickness of the leather on his chair. Let me reiterate, capitol His chair which was understood to be untouchable by any other gluteus maxima on the set. This offense to be punishable by law, resulting in but not limited to a lengthy lecture on the sacredness of a director’s seat of choice. The worst of that though was less the volume and hostility of his voice, rather the hotness of his breath and the occasional droplet of venom, (or spit, take your pick), landing on your person.
This movie in production during the late 20th century was to be the greatest of its’ time, surpassing every other motion picture in the box office. The storyline of which was not particularly understandable to the average person, it was simply too complicated for simple-minded actors and actresses to truly grasp. This is why it would do so well, taking the nation by storm faster than the speed of sound. It had pizazz, “pushing the boundaries” of what is acceptable during any day and age with scenes that would appall even the toughest skinned movie-goer. Five different men and women had stormed off the set in the past month, but Mr. Justice couldn’t care less. He knew that it would take some trial and error to make this movie a success, he just wasn’t sure how much more error would occur. Every day it seemed that his cast was just as dissatisfied with him as he was with them. They were rude and talentless, butchering every punchline and monologue he had thrown their way. They had gone way over budget despite the studio’s demands, leading to increasing pressure on him to finish the project. This in turn increased pressure on his cast, leading to many screaming matches and thrown objects.
Eventually Mr. Justice’s anger halted his production, the company claiming his instability was not as endearing as they had previously believed, rather it was hindering, causing a final product that was less than satisfactory. The big wigs at the studio even walked out of the film’s test screening, describing it as the most atrocious attempt at movie production that they had ever seen. This furthered his descent into madness, eventually causing him to work tirelessly on the film alone. With no other choice available to him he packed up his project, relocating to a more conducive location to continue his passionate pursuit. He filmed scenes starring only himself as every character in his make-shift studio in the back woods of his home state, West Virginia. The basement of his childhood home made for a controlled environment, allowing him to do as he pleased while finishing the movie. He spent hours upon hours reshooting every scene, pasting together the remnants of the film he once imagined. Finally, after many long, grueling nights of frustration the final product was done. It was filled with horrifying images and scenes, truly exemplifying the true nature of Mr. Justice. He had created a true master piece that ultimately led him to be admitted into Trans-Allegany Lunatic Asylum. As for his belongings, they were subjected to an extremely despondent estate sale attended by Larry Schultz, the general manager of an antique mall in North Carolina.
Justice had been served, and the rest is history.
Kristen Slone is a third year undergraduate student at Pfeiffer University working to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She is one of The Phoenix's poetry editors this semester, Spring 2019.