Con Dolores
This Sad Movie CD - Claire Records

I’ve been trying to start this review for a month. Dateline: Orlando, Florida tomorrow. The scene: A porch-swing on the deck of a renovated mansion. Kristy Moss sits patiently, gently rocking on the swing and sipping ice water through a straw; her purse and suitcase lay at her feet. Across the front lawn four young boys in shirtsleeves swing on a tire hung from a tree branch, their laughter echoes into the house. A heavy stomping pounds from the attic overhead and the sound of shattering glass bleeds into the siren whistle of a teakettle. “God Damned Christmas lights, ain’t even December…” roars Ed Ballinger, “ain’t no snow.” Throughout the newly refurbished halls, over the roll-topped desk and out past the shed in the backyard, a tension distributes itself into the late-afternoon air. Sunlight washes out the colors of the photographs on the mantle and replaces them with oily Technicolor rainbows extending over the frames. Lazarus rubs up against Kristy’s calf and hops up onto the swing. After a few long strokes he purrs and dances off to stretch himself across the windowsill. The faint crunch of gravel grows louder and pillows of white dust consume the driveway. Wes Snowden bounces out of the pick-up, slams the door with one hand and lights his cigarette with the other. In one swift motion he hoists an industrial sized valise from the flat back and starts up to the house. No breeze moves through the sky, the four boys sway to a stall and the kettle resonates in echoes from the kitchen. “Unseasonable temperatures lately Ma’am…,” attempts Wes. Kristy puts the straw back in the glass and places it upon the wrought iron table by her side. “Indeed,” she says. “I’ve been hired to keep grounds here till next spring, then I’m off to Tulsa. Steffen got me a session gig playin’ bass,” he continued, “just to get me started, you know…” “If you’re here to keep grounds than I advise you to get to keeping them,” she shoots back pointing towards the disheveled group; “Ed’s been swearin’ all afternoon and them boys ain’t gonna be aged proper for another three years…” She grabs the glass and picks the straw up with her teeth, his cigarette smoke reflected in her eyes. “Awww, fer Christ sakes Pat, where the hell are the pliers (!)?,” shouts Ed. “Hell Ed,” clucks a nimble and wiry voice, “wun’ it your idea to keep the toolbox out back ‘stead a on the wall in the garage?” “Pat’s still here, huh?,” asks Wes. Kristy doesn’t move. “Hey, Pat!” calls Wes, “Quit your hollerin’, I got a pair in my valise…” A distant “That you, Wes?” drifts down the stairs. Wes steps forward and tosses his cigarette over the banister. He leans in towards Kristy, tips his cap, snaps to attention and forces his way out of the conversation and into the house. The radio breathes a sigh relief as “Unexpected Love” streams from the living room. “I could not get you off my mind/You had filled my dreams…” Defending himself against the attack, Lazarus tucks his head between his front legs and shields his eyes from cascading spears of sunlight. “I know I tend to fixate/But I see your face…” Thick, successive steps gather at the top of the stairs and greetings are met with the dull roar of familiarity. “Been some time, Ed…” “Sure thing son, quite some time.” “Lookin’ good Wes; been playin’ that bass?” This exchange goes on for a few minutes and fades out; Kristy lifts her head and draws a cigarette from her purse. Solid footsteps advance from behind her, a strong hand happens upon her left shoulder and she lights up a match. “Wes’ upstairs, huh?” says a smooth, assured voice. Kristy adjusts her skirt; her motions express answers where her words have been known to stumble. “I’m leaving today, Todd…,” she manages. His thumb inches toward the back of her neck and slides gently between her necklace and collar. “It’s for the best…,” he whispers. “It’s time.” “It’s all around me/Unexpected love…” (Josh Gabriel)



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