As the bus hits the open highway all the mini TV screens flicker to life. Opening credits begin to roll.
A woman is being chased through the forest.
The driver informs us that the in-trip movie will be 'Double Jeopardy.'
"Starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Le(more)e Jones," he intones into the mic. He's just finished telling us that food and beverages are not allowed, the toilet is out of order, and we'll be reaching the ferry terminal in about 55 minutes.
The only other passenger besides me is already asleep.
"In this thriller you'll even recognize many of the sights we'll be passing by today on our way to Vancouver, being this movie filmed on location here on the Sunshine Coast," the driver continues.
It's 4 in the afternoon, traditionally a shift-change hour but the roads are pretty much dead. Occasionally a truck passes us going the opposite way; the mill recently laid off 75% of the workforce. Yet still, most vehicles in town are shiny latemodels. Face takes a lot longer to wear out than credit.
"Due to violence in this film, the minute anyone has an issue with it tell me and I'll shut it off, " the driver says.
This is a town where until lately you graduated highschool, or not even, and went to work rightaway in the pulp mill.
I wake up at the ferry terminal when the driver tells us to disembark. The law requires that no one stays in their vehicles on the car deck.
Before the screen goes black, I see Ashley Judd jump into the water from the deck of a boat. She's been framed.
She's supposed to be in New Orleans but I recognize the dark surafce of the bay closing over her head. This same coastal backwater.(less)
The TV flickered on in the background and Mom and Dad flickered off. While they lost themselves in a warm blue wave of vapid laughter, I scratched out dinosaurs on the dining room table with a letter opener. Mom was furious when she came-to later that night. I cried(more) myself to sleep. That was back when I was little.
I used to play a lot of video games in high school. Mom hated video games. Sitting alone in a dark room, staring at a screen for hours and hours on end--she couldn't understand why I thought that was healthy. Mom was a teacher. A good teacher, she always told me. And I was a good student. Even when she wasn't teaching.
And Dad... I can hardly remember dad being there at all.(less)