Cat slept on the couch. Curled up in a fetal position. A big ball of fur. TV was on. Sound was down low. People mouthed words. Johnny Carson laughed, but, nothing came out. Just pictures coming into the living room. The cat didn’t move.
The old man kept looking at his watch. Checking the time. Carson was done telling jokes. It was close to midnight. The Late Show would be on next. He flipped through the channels. Saw there was a movie on the local station. James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause. Didn’t he die in a car accident? the old man asked himself. Again, he looked at his watch.
This was the part where Natalie Wood started to fall for Jimmy. And Sal Mineo was just along for the ride, being a smart ass, maybe a confused kid. I think Sal Mineo was confused in real life, the old man laughed. All those actors were back then, he started to count on his hand. Sal Mineo, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, even Burt Lancaster. All of em. Messed up in the head, he got up and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator. He looked again at his watch.
It was getting close to two in the morning when headlights came through the blinds. The car door slammed. Another piece of rust fell off the boy’s Maverick. Old man woke up. Immediately he looked at his watch.
You know what time it is? Boy said yeah. Said he got off work late. Long shift at the Quicky Mart. He grabbed himself a beer.
So you just got off work? Boy nodded, yes, in the dark. Speak up, the old man said. Boy told him not to worry about it. Said it was none of his business. The old man continued to just sit there. The movie was over. Sal Mineo had been shot by the cops. The credits rolled. Old man began flipping through the channels again. The Rifleman was on. Chuck Connors was out to get somebody. They messed with him first.
Boy took off his boots. Laid down on the couch. Sipped his Old Style. So did the old man. It was a real father and son moment. The two of them watching TV and drinking beer in the dark in silence. The sun came up and shined through the blinds hours later. Both of them asleep. TV was on The 700 Club.