I remember those super eight projectors, pictures with white circles on faces filling dark spaces, taking up space on a wall of lead paint.
The wall above the radiator would be hissing in our kitchen. My brother feeds a strip of film through the silver projector, its’ motor humming I reach and touch the projector – pull my hand away – and now I am worrying it might catch fire; then shrink back to a little person sitting on a red vinyl seat, facing the white and red enamel table, facing the radiator, facing the lead painted wall. My legs don’t touch the floor. I stopped worrying.
My cousin, a cowboy, and he is running up and down the stairs, bending around corners to shoot us, sitting peacefully waiting for the wall show, and the cowboy’s hat falls from his head. He thinks it’s cool, and it is done again, pointing the gun, his hat falls, he laughs, we wait.
Too big for his head, it slips off and falls onto the linoleum – back on – it slips off, and falls, and he finally slips and falls. He reached too far to catch his hat. His sister smiles and touches her white and black crinoline beneath her dress, then swings her hips, her white socks sunk beneath black strapped
I move closer to the table and hear the film click through the weave my brother webbed. He turns off the light and moves the silver projector, so a beam of light moves off the clock hanging on the wall, above the radiator, then he adjusts the light as he turns the silver knob to focus on our lead painted wall.
Circle of excitement – its running, its quiet, all heads turn toward the wall, we hear the click – moving with the dancing circles. The film moves, like a snake as it grows longer creating half circles, and the light fades.
Its dark in the kitchen ad my brother stomps his foot – he motions to the cowboy to switch on the light. The cowboy pulls his gun out of his holster.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
The cowboy shoots the silver object sitting on top of our old telephone books.
The cowboy hits the floor and twists in his own circle – he slides across the floor, then laughs. Now the circles disappear. We all moan but the cowboy pulling out his gun from his holster – bang. His hat falls.
The silver projector, its motor cold – and everyone is whining. My brother stomps on the floor, once more. The cowboy reaches high to reach my brother’s head, and places his cowboy hat on him, instead.
Next time, we all agreed, our life one day maybe on a screen.