Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Film Noir Fest

Before he'd been arrested, the only thing I knew about Declan was that he liked nice girls. That's what he said in class to his friends before the bell would ring and I'd have to shut them all up. Never thought too much of it. Some students like to boast that their players and Declan was one of those.

"Like 'em cellophane shrink-wrapped," he'd say, and his buddies would laugh like they were barking. The girls didn't really understand Declan. He seemed too shy by half to be as boastful as he was.

I was teaching a Film Studies unit in class, the focus that year being Film Noir -- you know: those dark films with a detective doing a voice-over through a big chunk of it. It was rolling that year; the students all loved it. Always nice when something goes well.

Declan had put his sites on a girl in my class. She was a giggly kid -- cute, sweet-natured. He liked to mouth to her across the room. I'd catch him and bust him down for it a bit, but he always took it in stride. He was older than her -- that I did know. That might've been the problem.

He wanted to take her out, he said, to his dad's place some weekend. His dad lived some twenty miles away, and from what I understood, wasn't home much. Declan wanted to do a film noir film fest-- just the two of them. The Big Sleep to start. Followed by Chinatown. Then Blade Runner. They'd finish the night with Sin City. I wouldn't mind doing that one myself.

She didn't think it was such a hot idea. So he asked again. No, she'd say. And he'd ask again.

Finally, he got down on her knees -- I saw him do this, right outside my door, out in the hall -- and begged.

Everybody talked about it that following Monday. But nobody seemed to know anything. The cops even came around and asked me. They were particularly curious about the film noir unit. I said, Isn't that something? Seems they fell into a film of their own. Wonder how that happened? The cops didn't get it.

I got a note in my mailbox the other day. It was from Declan. On it were the words to this song. I haven't told the cops yet. But check this out:

Nice girls, not one with a defect --
Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct --
Red dogs under illegal legs
She looks so good that he gets down and begs

She is watching the detectives
"Ooh, he's so cute"
Watching the detectives
When they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
They beat him up until the teardrops start
But he can't be wounded cuz he's got no heart

Long shot of that jumping sign
Visible shivers running down my spine
Cut to baby taking off her clothes
Close up of the sign that says, "We never close"

You snatch a tune, you match a cigarette
She pulls your eyes out with a face like a magnet
I don't know how much more of this I can take
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake

You think you're alone, until you realize you're in it
Now fear is here to stay, love is here for a visit
They call it instant justice when it's past the legal limit
Someone's scratching at the door, I wonder who is it?
The detectives come to check if you belong to the parents
Who are ready to hear the worst about their daughter's disappearance
Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay
It only took my little fingers to blow you away

Just like watching the detectives --
Don't get cute --
Watching the detectives --
I get so angry when the teardrops start
But he can't be wounded cuz he's got no heart

Watching the detectives,
Watching the detectives

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