Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
Prose Poem
SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Double Feature

by Sheri Gabbert

“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers; these are people of the land, the common clay of the new west. You know...morons.”
—The Sheriff in Blazing Saddles

Fifteen teenagers, stuffed in the dusty Kansas trunk of a dark green Pontiac somebody’s brother used to drive but not anymore. Not boyfriends or even girlfriends. Tonight they’re just a bunch of farm kids sneaking into a summer Saturday night drive-in trying not to laugh too loudly and get caught by the wrinkled face with the dangling ash cigarette wanting to read a worn paperback Harlequin instead of taking money from pimple-faced high school kids oblivious to the fact that $5.00 gets a carload in to see Blazing Saddles and The Trial of Billy Jack and there’s really no need to hide boys in trunks and girls on floorboards under long legs.

Arms and legs and pleased-as-punch faces pop out as the car settles itself between a pickup and a Pinto, the one Ford recalled the year before but that people still drive and will drive until the gas line leaks enough to blow it up in a rear-end collision.

They’ve been here before on other hot Saturday nights when winds blew blond bangs out of teary eyes and crumpled popcorn boxes across the parking lot, but back then with parents and little sisters. For a moment that lasts only a moment, muted childhood scenes replay as images distorted on a weather-worn screen.

The memory’s feature, once again, stars dashed-dreams dads who are not Warren Beatty but are too often or not often enough drunk and too often or not often enough fucking best friend’s wives, secretaries, and babysitters. Stressed-out beat-the-kids leading ladies with ignorance-is-bliss faith in Jesus and Republicans and over-weight cheating husbands, wish upon shot-to-hell stars they were Raquel Welsh and not size-fourteen platinum blonds, reduced to vibrator-dependent female hysteria.

Beaten-down kids wish they were watching The Love Bug and Bugs Bunny cartoon shorts but instead stare at R and X and not-yet-rated versions of everybody’s small-town life because that’s the only movie Mom and Dad paid for and nobody cares if the kids watch it.

But who wants to think of all that when the guys are going for hotdogs, popcorn, and Cokes at the concrete concession stand and this evening’s double feature is better than life?

And what the hell! We were only fifteen and our lives really were X-rated B-movies played out on deserted country roads or in clapboard farmhouses any passing motorist could see from Interstate 70.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Sheri Gabbert

is a writer and substitute teacher in the Missouri Ozarks where she lives with her dog, Rilke. Her work is published in Moon City Review (2011 and 2017), new graffiti, Rat’s Ass Review, 417 Magazine, Street Buzz, and The Lawrence County Record.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury