World Without Radios

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young boy and his mum watches a series of films in a parallel universe. In a world without radios.

Submitted: August 28, 2019

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Submitted: August 28, 2019

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It was back in 1985. I was ten at the time. I was living at Bushmere Road with my mum, in Gisborne, New Zealand, in a parallel world. I had just finished watching episodes of the Transformers on the film projector: the theme song to transformers playing through the speakers.


Transformers, robots in disguise.


Once the credits had ended, I rewinded the film. It was John Logie Beard that had introduced the film projector to living rooms across the world. Not only that, he invented security cameras when he worked out how to send moving pictures through the wire to a cathode ray screen. He called it television, but the security companies snapped it up. These day companies around the world use it to keep an eye on their properties or private homes. The images are stored on the same film you use on film projectors.


Once I rewound the film, I put it back in the case. I heard my mum yell “John, come and get your breakfast!”


I threw the film into the blue plastic tray, left the living room and walk down the corridor. The kitchen was on the left opposite the rotary dail phone on the wall. Mum had set the table. I poured myself some cocopops with milk as mum placed the music tape in the cassette player and pressed play. She usually listened to classical music or 50’s music.


Mum sat down, scrutched some wheatbix into the bowl, poured in milk and suger and started eating as she read the news paper. That was the only way you could find out about the news. By reading the news paper. She turned the pages.


Once I had finished eating my careal, I got up and put the toast in the toaster. Mum looked up over her news paper with her blonde hair and said "Still hungry?"

"Yes, mum. I'm a growing boy".

I put copious amount of peanut butter on one piece of toast and Marmite on the other toast. Then brought them back to the table.

Mum asked me “So, John, what should we do today?”


“Um, I’ve finished watching all the Transformers films,” I replied “I need more film”.


“We’ll get us some more films at the film store then”.


Mum smiled at me. My real dad had died when I was five and my older siblings had moved out. My sister already had a baby. Mum and I lived in an old house in the countryside.


“That sounds neat” I said. 


I enjoyed going to the film store to pick out some films. Once I had finished up my toast, I drank down my milo. It tasted sweet and chocolatey. Mum finished her tea. I hate tea. How can anyone drink that stuff?


“Come,” said mum “Collect all the films and take them to the car”.


I picked up my blue tray of film from the living room while mum picked her red tray of film. We put the film in the back of the yellow Holden Kingswood ute. We went and locked all the windows and doors of the house. Mum backed the ute out of the garage. I closed the garage door. Then hopped in. Mum pulled out of the driveway. We headed to the city.

 

***

 

We arrived at Lytton West which was a suburb on the western side of Gisborne between Lytton High School and Gisborne Hospital. We took our trays of film from the back of the ute and carried them into United Films Lytton West, which was a film rental store. We plopped the films on the return counter.


“Hello, Mrs Clark. Hello, John,” said the store clerk with a grin on his face.


“Hi” said mum.


“Hi” I said.


We put the films into the return bin, then took our trays into the aisles where mum asked me which films I wanted to hire. We picked out the film Jaws which had an image of a great white baring its teeth. Then we picked ET with an image of the aliens hand; Close Encounters of the Third Kind showing an image of a UFO. I selected Star Wars Return of the Jedi which had the image of an X-wing fighter jet. And Superman portraying Superman flying in the air with his fist at the front.


“Now pick out five films for you,” said mum “Remember, it’s five for ten bucks”.


“Ok” I said.


I picked out the films Thunder Birds with an image of the rocket; Scooby Doo, Gremlins, He-man and Never Ending Story which showed an image of a boy riding a fury white dragon.


“Are you happy with the films you selected?”


“Yeah,” I smiled, nodding.


“Let’s go purchase the films than”.


We took the films to the counter. The clerk scanned the film cases into the computer. The computers were quite primitive in those days. He placed the films into the plastic bins. The clerk said to mum “That would be twenty bucks, thanks”.


Mum swiped her card through the Efpos machine and punched in the pin number. The clerk printed out the receipt and gave it to her. We took the films back to the ute, climbed in. Mum backed out of the carpark. We headed back home down Lytton Road towards the middle of the city.

 

***

 

Once we arrived home, mum and I carried the trays of film into the house, after mum unlocked the front door. After we had sandwiches for lunch and I washed it down with juice, we went into the living room. Mum asked me “Which movie do you want to watch?”


“Superman!” I shouted.


Mum took the film Superman out of the tray, threaded it through the projector and switched it on. Superman was one of the movies which inspired me to become a writer. In this movie Superman was lured to Lex Luther’s leer where he placed a chain holding kryptonite around Superman’s neck. The kryptonite made Superman vulnerable. Lex kicked Superman while he was down and pushed him into the pond.


He set off explosives along the Los Angeles fault line, causing the railway bridge to collapse and the damn to burst. Lois Lane got killed. Kitty, who was Lex Luther’s assistant, rescued Superman, took off the chain with the kryptonite and threw it into the pond. Once Superman recovered, he used his body to fill the gab across the railway bridge to stop the train from falling into the river. He flew around the Earth at the speed of light to reverse time so that he could save Lois Lane in time and atop the dam from bursting. He captured Lex in the end, handing him over to the police.


Then we watched Jaws. A young woman got attacked by the shark. The sheriff reported it as a shark attack, but the mayor wanted to cover it up as he didn’t want the beach closed down. A little boy got killed by the shark. His mother wasn’t pleased that they failed to prevent the tragedy. They called in the shark expert and a shark hunter. They caught a shark, but it turned out to be the wrong shark. The Sheriff teamed up with the oceanographer and hunter to capture the shark. It was a big shark too. They attached kegs to the shark. Tried shooting the shark too. At the end, the sheriff shot the gas tank that happened to be in the shark’s mouth, thereby blowing the shark up.


Mum said “I won’t be going to the beach after watching this movie. Put the next film on”.


“Ok” I said.


I rewound Jaws, put it back in the case and put on ET, threading it through the projector. Mum gave me biscuits and Milo. We watched ET. The alien got left behind and hid in the shed. But the boy my age found him, brought him into the house. He hid ET in the house while he went to school. Drew Barrymore and ET screamed when they saw each other. ET learned to talk. ET said “ET phone home”.


ET used his alien powers to build a phone to contact his people. ET got sick. The officials took ET away to the lab. But the boys rescued ET. The boy placed ET in the basket in the front of his bike. ET made the bikes fly in front of the moon. The spaceship came and picked up ET who said to the boy “Be good” before being taken back to his home planet.


“Put on the next movie as I cook dinner” said mum.


I rewound ET and threaded Close Encounters of the Third Kind into the projector. Mum called out “John, dinners ready?”


I ran into the living room, grabbed my dinner and took it into the living room. Mum followed me into the room. She switched on the projector. We had chops, mashed potatoes, peas and pumpkin for dinner.


In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, some scientists arrive to see some warplanes that had disappeared during world war 2. A man encountered UFOs flying past his truck with the police car pursuing them. A little boy, about two, encounter the UFO too and his mother gets scared. The locals in the middle east learn the alien notes. The man makes a mountain out of mince. He finally tracks down the location of the UFO, after the US Government covered it up saying it was a toxic gas leak. The scientists communicate with the mother ship using a keyboard with loud speakers. The space ship replies with the same notes. Then disappears into the night sky.


The last movie we watched was Star Wars Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker rescues Han Solo and Princess Leah from Jabba the Hut. They fight and get away. The evil Galactic Emperor constructs the death star over Planet Ewok that’s inhabited by small bearlike people. The Ewoks capture the hero’s but release them after Luke Skywalker levitates C3PO with his mind. They join forces with the Ewoks to fight against the storm troopers and destroy the death star after deactivating the shield. They had attached loud speakers on the sides of the x-wing star fighters so that the fighter pilots could communicate with each other.


Darth Vader chooses Luke over the Empower, throwing the emperor into the core of the death star. Luke takes off Darth Vader’s mask at his request as Darth Vader is Luke’s father. After the Death Star is destroyed they celebrate on Planet Ewok. The spirits of Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda smile down from the sky above them. Turns out Princess Lea is Luke’s sister.


After the credits come on, mum rewound the film and put it back in its case. I got into my pyjamas, cleaned my teeth and hopped into bed.


“Good night, John” said mum.


“Night” I replied.


Mum closed my bedroom door as I fell asleep on this cold winter’s night.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 simon arthur. All rights reserved.

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