The Shoot (Part Five)

Back at the house, Mike is grading papers, which makes sense because he’s an English teacher, and English teachers spend every spare minute of the day grading papers. That I’m an English teacher as well makes me wonder if I should have brought some papers along on today’s adventure, but Miranda is of the opinion that Mike’s grading is ruining the mood.

“We’re shooting a rock video,” she says. “It’s supposed to be fun!”

“Just one more,” Mike says, cross-legged as he looks up from the sea of papers circling him on his bed like the ridges of a crater. “I’m almost done.”

I’ve heard that before — mainly because I’ve said it before. Grading papers is the ultimate excuse for avoiding life.

Mocha, meanwhile, is still barking, and Miranda is on the phone. With whom, I don’t know, but they’re making plans to meet soon. Which means, I suppose, that our shoot must be nearing an end. What’s next? A few takes with me and Mike frolicking in the snow-covered backyard? We can knock that out in fifteen minutes — a half-hour at the most. Then I’ll be heading home, and I can resume my regularly-scheduled life.

“Good news!” Miranda says when she gets off the phone. “Natalie’s in, and so is her boyfriend!”

“Don’t let me hold you up,” I say. “Let’s get this shoot finished, and I’ll leave you guys to your plans.”

It then occurs to me that we’re all in Mike and Miranda’s bedroom, which is less of a bedroom than a gallery space with a bed. The room is filled with comic books, artwork, and vintage toys — all arranged in perfect, touch-me-not order. The other rooms in the house are pretty much the same, giving the place the air of a hip, funky museum.

“What plans?” Miranda asks. “We’re going to Roxborough to pick up Natalie and her boyfriend, and then we’re shooting the rest of the video.”

“Roxborough?” I say, silently gauging the number of hours the excursion will add to the one I’m already on.

“Can’t they drive out here?” Mike asks.

“No,” Miranda says. “They don’t have a car. Besides, Natalie says there’s a field by her house where we can do some filming.”

“What about the dog?” Mike asks.

“What about the dog?”

“It’s almost his dinnertime.”

It’s almost my dinnertime, I want to say but for some reason don’t.

“Then feed him,” Miranda says.

Mike trudges off to fetch some dinner for Mocha, and I start to feel bad for being such a misanthrope — even if only in my own head.

“I really appreciate what you guys are doing for me,” I say because, really, who else would volunteer to direct, shoot, and edit a video for someone just because they like a song?

“Are you kidding?” Miranda asks. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve done anything creative? I sit behind a desk all day.”

It’s worth noting that Miranda studied art in college. One of her big projects involved covering every inch of a room with playing cards and then inviting people in to pose as if they were attending a cocktail party.

In the nude.

Or something like that.

I probably don’t have to mention that I wasn’t involved.

“It’s actually good for me, too,” I admit. “I mean, just getting out of the house. That was one of my resolutions this year. Get out our more. Be more social.”

The smell of canned dog food fills the room as Mike sets a bowl on the bed where Mocha is accustomed to taking his meals.

“Marc was just telling me that his new year’s resolution was to come out,” Miranda says.

“Really?” Mike asks, and Mocha starts barking at his food.

“Not come out,” I say a little too quickly. “Get out. More often. And be more social.”

“Come out, get out,” Miranda says. “The point is you’re having fun.”

Right. Fun. I almost forgot.


Me in the Pop Culture Wing of the Museum of Mike and Miranda’s Peculiar Interests. I’m dancing with a 3/4 scale model of Michael Jackson, and the dog is barking at me. My shoes are off because I’ve just spent the last half-hour stomping around in a wet and muddy cemetery.