The 8 O’Clock Movie

By Tino Villanueva

Boston, 1973—Years had passed and I assumed a Different life when one night, while resting from Books on Marlborough Street (where things like This can happen), there came into my room images

In black and white with a flow of light that Would not die. It all came back to me in different Terms: characters were born again, met up with Each other in adult life, drifted across the

Screen to discover cattle and oil, traveled miles On horseback in dust and heat, characters whose Names emerged as if they mattered in a history Book. Some were swept up by power and prejudice

Toward neighbors different from themselves, Because that is what the picture is about, with Class distinctions moving the plot along. A few Could distinguish right from wrong; those who

Could not you condemned from the beginning when You noticed them at all. Still others married or Backed off from the ranch with poignant flair, Like James Dean, who in the middle of grazing land

Unearthed the treasures of oil, buried his soul in Money, and went incoherent with alcohol. When the 40s Came, two young men were drafted, the one called Angel Dying at war. It’s a generational tale, so everybody

Aged once more and said what they had to say along the Way according to the script. And then the end: the Hamburger joint brought into existence to the beat of “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” Juana and her child the

Color of dark amber, foreshadowing the Mexican-looking Couple and their daughter, all in muteness, wanting To be served. I climbed out of bed and in my head Was a roaring of light – words spoken and unspoken

Had brought the obliterated back. Not again (I said, From my second-floor room)…let this not be happening Three-and-a-half hours had flicked by. As the sound Trailed off into nothing, memory would not dissolve.