Girl On The Screen

By now Jethro thinks he's got the hang of tragedy. The trick is in the caring. Rose/Jethro


"Breaking news, a shuttle headed for a viewing trip of the Sapphire Waterfalls broke down, resulting in the mysterious deaths of two passengers . . ."

Jethro jabs hard at the buttons, shutting down the news feed.

He leans back in his hotel room bed, and listens to a deafening rock beat until his head goes numb.

.

.

Beside him Marcus whistles his appreciation as a dark skinned girl with tight, curling ringlets and an even tighter dress sashays by.

"That's one hot babe."

Jethro shrugs noncommittally. "Sure."

"You seen any better recently? On your vacation?"

He leans back to think, and pictures blond hair, doe eyes and pink, pouty lips. "Sure," he says again. "On the screen."

"What'd she look like?" his friend asks, but is distracted as his cousin swaggers across the square with the latest Dog-Bot XI.

The tinny tone of the Celestial Donuts blares in Jethro's ear.

"Stars burst, stars dye,

fa-a-ding in and out.

Down low, up high

searching the skies for you."


The lights are back on.

The screen fizzles.

She locks eyes with him. Imploring. Lips moving. Mouthing.

"What?" he asks, but she's already gone like she had never been.


"Could I link my screen to the shuttle entertainment feed?" he requests over the phone.

"Yeah, I saw a show I liked during my trip."

"My transfer code's 2-1-4-23-15-12-6."

"Thanks."

.

.

He spends his free days sprawled in front of his computer, painstakingly sifting through the mess of shows, but he can't find her.

She's like a vision, he thinks.

Then he considers if he's going insane.


"Doctor!" she begs, and from the curve of her lips he knows this word means pain.


And in the night, when the house is silent and the sky empty, he draws his covers close.

"I'm Jethro," he says, and holds his breathe as no echo comes.


"Jethro," his mothers says, her voice purposely light. "Your father and I, it isn't working out-"

His fists clench. "FINE! Like I care. I don't care. I don't."

Love is just songs and fairy tales, but loss is like homework and heart ache; it doesn't go away.

(It's only a flash glimpse but the look in her eye is like one thousand glass-shards of moments, patched and pieced of longing)


He listens with music in his ear, and gives out scowls for smiles.

By now Jethro thinks he's got the hang of tragedy.

The trick is in the caring.


She always wears pink in his dreams.

"I'm looking for him. Have you seen him?"

"This will end in heart break," he tries to tell her.

"I have to keep looking," she says

"Why?" he asks, and he wakes.


"Why?" he cries upon waking.


"Jethro-" says his mother, imploring him to behave in front of the guests.

"Jethro-" growls his father. "This needs to stop."

"Hey man-" Marcus tells him "We're getting worried about you"

"You're behavior recently has lead us to wonder if the trauma of the -incident- last year has not yet worn off," the counselor informs him.

"Chorus has often been noted as a stress relieving opportunity." His teacher winks. "Join?"

So he does.


There's a shipment of organic flowers, and Jethro slouches up to look them over.

The pink ones with the curved petals and delicate aroma catch his eye, and before he knows it he's opening his mouth and requesting a bouquet.

They smell sweet; he thinks he knows why.


"And now a song that hit the top of the charts, by Jethro Cane, who has declined requests to make another, it's Girl on the Screen!" the radio announcer blares.

"Well it was Midnight when I saw a girl on the screen
the look in her eye of a broken dream
Still searching,
I think she's searching, even now . . ."


She is fixed in heartbreak, wreathed in sorrow, and her unseeing eyes plead with the universe.

"Er, I hope you find it. Whatever you're looking for," he says awkwardly, digging his hands into his pockets. "And-uh- thank you. Really. Thanks."


"'Morning," his roommate yawns. "How are you?"

"I'm fine." Jethro grins, and he means it.

END