creative projects · Fiction · noise in the room upstairs

Entry #3: Woman In the Television

The chain smoker next door knocked on my door yesterday to beg for some sugar. I gave it to him even though there was a Walmart up the street.  He pushed a two dollar bill in my hand and thanked me in kind later with bread pudding. It tasted wonderful with the exception of a bit of ash. I imagine it is a common ingredient in his dishes.

The woman in the television told me it may have been intentional but I think she was just bitter that she wasn’t offered any. Not that she could. She doesn’t seem to like company. She always turns herself off when I answer the door.

Speaking of, she and I discussed something very interesting last night. As I was writing the last entry, it occurred to me that I didn’t really know anything about her. She revealed herself a few minutes after I first plugged in the TV set between static scarred sitcoms.  She looked like a cross between those cooking moms on Food Network and a suburban housewife from a 50s cleaning ad. She was up-dos, painted lips, and dress aprons on a 15’’ black and white screen. She hates it when I sass her and has a way of talking that reminds me of my 2nd grade teacher telling me to stand up straight or to tuck in my shirt.

I wanted to get to the heart of her function so I decided to record our conversation for future review. Here is said conversation:


[Some names and identifying details may have been changed for privacy reasons.]

Me: What are you exactly?

Woman in Television (WIT): Has no one ever taught you proper manners? I am not a “what.” I’m a “who.”

Me: Alright. Who then?

WIT: Why?

Me: I’m curious.

WIT: Are you recording this? That’s silly.

Me: Why?

WIT: Because you keep looking down at your notebook every time each of us speaks. Not only is that stupid but it makes for some awkward conversation. Why not record this on that funny little program on your computer?

[Switch to audio record]

WIT: You are rather strange, Mr. Harkin. Tell me, have you ever figured out the answer to my question?

Me: This isn’t about me right now. I’m learning about you.

WIT: Conversation is a two-way street, Mr. Harkin. We both have to do our parts.

Me: Fine. But I go first! 

 WIT: Alright.

Me: Who are you?

WIT: I am the woman who lives in your television screen. Nice to meet you.

Me: That’s not what I—

WIT: [Sing-song] Ah-ah-ah! Now it’s my turn.

[Short Pause]

WIT: How has your day been, Mr. Harkin? Have the currents been treating you kindly?

Me: Yes–Good…

WIT: Excellent. You know that I only look out for your best interest, Mr. Harkin. God forbid a bad day falls on your shoulder.

Me: Thanks… Um—How did you get in the TV?

WIT: Is that important?

Me: Yes. Incredibly.

WIT: Knowing something doesn’t necessarily fix anything, Mr. Harkin. If anything it complicates matters. Messes with the brain.

[Long Pause]

Me: I don’t care about that.

 WIT: Oh, but you do. I can see it on your face. [Laughter] Oh, don’t make that face, Mr. Harkin. It’s very unbecoming.

Me: You’re not answering my question.

WIT: I am actually. You’re just not listening.

Me: How did you get in the TV?

WIT: I’m just here. There’s no how to it.

Me: Do you not know?

WIT: I know perfectly well. The question is, do you?

Me: I don’t! That’s why I’m asking!

WIT: Have you ever considered that you’re asking the wrong question?

[Short Pause]

Me: What should I be asking then?

 WIT: [Smiles] Now you’re asking the right question.

And that’s where the conversation ended. Before I could ask her anything else, she turned herself off. No matter how many times I turned and pressed the TV dials, it wouldn’t turn on. For a moment, I feared that the television had short-circuited but I’m pretty sure she just wanted make a dramatic exit.

She’ll be back. She usually does when she wants to correct me on something.

But the conversation has left me wondering. And fearful. And with a slight hand cramp. Maybe I should have typed it.

Last Edit: 26 March 2016




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