Charlie’s Room: Indie Films and Night Music

“There’s some mail for you on your desk,” Marianne said. “Most of it is junk mail.”

“Anything look interesting?” Isaac asked.

“Well, there’s a homemade envelope. I think it’s made from a lunch sack,” she said.

“That does sound interesting,” Isaac said. He changed his shoes, hugged Marianne and headed for his desk.   “Where’s Charlie?” he asked.

“In his room reading,” Marianne said. “He’s almost finished his book and can’t put it down.”

“Ah. It must be a good one then,” Isaac said. He started sorting through his mail. “Bill, bill, junk, junk, junk…oh, here we go,” he said. He’d found the blocky envelope made from crumpled brown paper.

He opened it and pulled out a folded sheet of paper that had been ripped from a spiral notebook.   He unfolded it and three tickets slid out and landed on the desk. Isaac started reading the letter and smiled. Marianne looked over his shoulder. “Who’s it from?” she asked.

“Cousin Reginald,” Isaac said.

Marianne leaned back. She wrinkled her nose. “Oh,” she said.

“He says that he’s made a cutting edge film, and it’s going to debut at an indie film festival,” Isaac said. He held up the tickets. “He sent tickets for all of us. It’s next Saturday.”

“But we were going to go to the zoo,” Marianne said.

“We really should go and support Cousin Reginald,” Isaac said. “This seems like kind of a big deal.”

“All right,” Marianne said. “I’ve never been to a film festival.”

“Neither have I,” Isaac said. “And Cousin Reginald has offered to give us a ride there and back.”

“No,” Marianne said. “Absolutely not. He still makes that awful homemade cologne, right?”

“Yes, he does,” Isaac said. “He’s thrilled that it hasn’t caught on at all. But I think he’s nervous and wants someone to talk to on the ride up.”

“Then I’ll drive Charlie there, and then we’ll have the car and be able to leave early if we need to,” Marianne said. She folded her arms and raised her eyebrows.

“Fine,” Isaac said. “I’ll let him know.”

Saturday evening, they returned home tired, but happy. “That was fun,” Charlie said.

“What was your favorite part?” Isaac asked.

“We got nachos for lunch,” Charlie said. “And I liked the cartoon about the dinosaur with a pet dog.”

“What did you think of Cousin Reginald’s film? It was pretty popular,” Isaac said.

“It was funny,” Charlie said.

“I did think it was clever,” Marianne said. “But it hardly took any work on his part. He just titled it ‘It’s All About You After All,’ and live-streamed the audience on a screen for half an hour.”

“And yet it won several awards,” Isaac said.   He pulled a small brown bag out of his coat pocket.   “Oh, hey, look at this,” he said. “Cousin Reginald gave it to me.” He slid a weird twisty-looking flute out of the bag.

“What is it?” Charlie asked.

“I don’t know. Cousin Reginald didn’t know either. He said he bought it at an antique shop because it reminded him of me.”

“What does that mean?” Marianne asked.

“Maybe that he knows I like music?” Isaac said. “ I don’t really know. But, Charlie, go get ready for bed, and I’ll try to play you a lullaby.”

“Okay,” Charlie said. He raced off.

Marianne laughed. “If you don’t know how to play it’ll probably sound terrible.”

“Who knows,” Isaac said. “You’re probably right.”

When Charlie was finally tucked in and ready for bed, Isaac finished wiping down the flute with a soft cloth. Then he held it up to his lips and blew. It squeaked and Charlie laughed.

Isaac kept blowing gently until he could get a steady tone. Then he tried covering different holes until he could manage a rather terrible rendition of “Hot Cross Buns”. Then he tried for “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. By the time Charlie was snoring softly, Isaac was able to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

On his third repetition of the song, Charlie’s sock drawer started to shake.   Isaac kept playing. The socks burst out and started to dance in a circle in the middle of the rug. Isaac kept replaying the song and watching the socks dance until all the muscles in his face grew sore. He slowed the tempo of the song down and the socks shuffled back into the drawer.

The bedroom door opened a little wider and Marianne looked in. “Oh, good. Charlie’s asleep. I don’t think I can listen to you play that one more time.”

“I don’t think I could play it again,” Isaac said. “My face hurts.”

“Time for bed,” Marianne said. “We’ve had a busy day.”

“It was a nice day,” Isaac said. “But it was rather busy. Let’s go to bed.”