Family Movies

A Short Story

Photo by Jamie Kapili | West Hollywood, California

By: Jamie Kapili

Watching movies when you’re little can be weird. I remember trying to watch a movie with my family when I was six-years-old. I don’t remember the title, but it was about dinosaurs. A dinosaur with three horns, which I‘d later learn in Ms. Rigby’s class is called a Triceratops, speared a guy right through his chest. My cousin told me it was only ketchup coming out, but I didn’t know. The dinosaur went up a cliff and held him over the edge. I watched the guy wiggle around like one of those underwater plants until my father put his hand in front of my face. Over the movie screams, I heard my mother say, “Nicholas — ,” and I held my breath. I stared at the back of my father’s hand and imagined the guy flopping over the cliff, dead or something. I didn’t have any nightmares, but I didn’t eat ketchup for awhile.

It happened again when I was older. My family took me to the video store on the corner of our street, and they said that I could pick out any movie that I wanted. I was happy, but when I came out of the aisles with a copy of American Beauty, their eyebrows popped. When you’re older than too young but are still young enough, you start getting curious about life. You want to know about a rose on a naked lady’s stomach if the thorns are hurting her, why she’s naked — whatever. My family thought that I was acting up, so we left with a copy of Homeward Bound, which I’d seen many times. We didn’t talk about my incident when we got home, but I kept thinking about the naked lady’s stomach as dogs ran across the T.V. screen. I still don’t know what it’s all supposed to mean. I guessing having spent years theorizing makes the real truth — whatever that is — boring.