Spring Reprints: Week 3 pt. 2

The security camera at Morrison’s Party Rentals is lonely. Its job is to document its own solitude. Or its job is to enforce its own solitude, and the record of this job becomes a movie that no one watches, hours-long footage of an oblong square of concrete. The star of the movie is the beer can that cartwheels across the sidewalk in a gust of wind, or the frantic shadow of the hornet building its nest in the lee of the drainspout. The tapes get downloaded each morning, stored on an old hard drive collecting dust in the manager’s office. Eventually, at the suggestion of a drinking buddy, the manager buys a motion-sensor trigger for the camera, ends up saving hours of empty footage each night. Now the movies become vignettes. The story of double-bagged garbage and a persistent raccoon. The story of Dale Perkins’ little brother learning that a Sharpie doesn’t keep a straight line on brick façades the way he’d imagined, and the sequel in which he edits the giant penis he’s drawn with a can of Rust Oleum so that it looks more like a giant penis. The story of rats, of falling ice, of pigeons startled by lightning storms in summer. The stop-motion details of the seasons creep by in the background, motifs about the patience with which nature plays the long game. [Read more]

“Al, Off the Grid” by Gabriel Houck is our final digital reprint of 2018. Thanks for reading!