Moving Pictures: An Andrew Ursler Installment

Hello my lovelies,

I have had a mini haitus from Arts Collide (see this post for the reasons) but we are back for the next installment of the Andrew Ursler story by Mario Piumetti. Catch up on the previous installments here. Feedback welcome!


Moving Pictures

By: Mario Piumetti

            Andrew called Charlotte a couple of weeks after they met up at Little Flower, shortly after the start of the New Year.  It began innocently on a Friday evening to see how she was doing.  That morphed into talking about what they were up to for the weekend, and when neither had anything concrete or important to do, they decided to catch a movie together.  It was largely Charlotte’s idea.  She wanted to see the Cirque du Soleil movie.  Andrew confessed that he’d never seen them perform, much to Charlotte’s astonishment.  She went on about how amazing the acts were, how the performers seemed to fly through the air with supernatural grace and elegance.

“I wish I had that sort of grace,” she said.

Andrew wanted to say something about that, to tell her that he thought she didn’t need to be an acrobat to be nimble.  Instead, he said, “How about we go see it, you and me?”

Charlotte didn’t think twice on it.  She agreed to the idea in an instant.

Andrew felt nervous the next day, pacing through his house and cleaning up dishes when that got boring.  His parents weren’t home, and he was glad for that, otherwise his mother might have thought him peculiar for being so on edge.  He didn’t know if this whole movie plan was a good one.  Then again, he questioned the wisdom of calling Charlotte since the day after his evening at The Englishman when he checked his phone while nursing his hangover and saw he had.

He looked out the kitchen window to the front of the house just in time to see a flash of beige slow and settle in front of his neighbor’s place across the street.  He saw Charlotte get out of her car, and quickly finished up in the kitchen before grabbing his keys and wallet and heading out the door through the garage.  His truck was parked on the driveway.  Charlotte looked way too fabulous for a simple afternoon movie.  Her hair was done up nicely, and she even put on red lipstick.  It was another sign that he couldn’t quite grasp.  The lipstick.  The question of grace.  Was she putting him through little tests?  He wasn’t sure, and he didn’t really want to push things with her.  Towards the end when they had gone out, Charlotte felt that things were getting awkward.  He certainly didn’t want to repeat any mistakes he might have made.

Andrew complimented her with a safe and casual, “You look great.”

Charlotte smiled and looked down at her boots.  She always wore boots.  He saw her only once with any other kind of footwear.  It was on their last night together just before Christmas.  They went to a holiday party at the home of one of Andrew’s friends.  She wore hells, red ones that matched the color of her toenails.  Andrew wondered if they were still painted that color.

They went to a theater in Glendale at the Americana on Brand.  The movie was surprisingly good.  It was in 3D, the first one that Andrew ever saw.  Magic Eye posters gave him headaches, and he reasoned that any sort of 3D display would have the same result, but this one didn’t.  He understood Charlotte’s enthusiasm for the film.  It was like watching a silent movie with maybe only half a paragraph of dialogue at the beginning that then quite literally plunged the heroine into another universe in search of her lover; an acrobat, naturally.  At one point, a tricycle ridden by a pair of yellow rain boots and nothing else led the girl, and Blackbird by The Beatles played.

Andrew leaned over and whispered, “I love The Beatles.”

“They have a whole circus dedicated to them,” she said.

Charlotte glanced at Andrew and grinned broadly.  She liked The Beatles too, and for the next half-hour, the movie became a collection of the Fab Four’s greatest hits: Blackbird, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Get Back, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.  The movie reached Octopus’s Garden.  The performers, dressed like snow-white cephalopods, swam through the air, and that was the closest that Andrew felt to seeing magic for the first time in a long time.  When the movie ended, they stayed and talked until the lights came up, the sound was cut, and the screen went black, and they found that they were the only ones left in the audience.

After leaving the theater, they walked through the Americana all the way to the Coffee bean that was actually close enough to spit at from the theater.  Both of them ordered hot chocolate, and Andrew surprised Charlotte by paying for them just as he had paid for the tickets.

“Shoot!” she said.  “You beat me to it!  I was going to treat you.”

“Well, I’m competitive like that,” said Andrew.

Charlotte looked over her shoulder and out the window.  “Oh, I need to get something from Sur la Table for my house.  Can you meet me over there?”

“Sure,” he said.

Andrew waited for their drinks and then crossed the street to join Charlotte.  She got a fresh spatula for her mom, a purple one with a handle as light as a bowl of Cream of Wheat.  They walked around for a bit after, sipping the chocolate and making small talk of whatever caught their minds’ attention.  He drove them back to his house when they were done.  Charlotte stepped out of the truck so that Andrew could back it up by a large concrete planter, clearing the way for the doors of the garage.  They walked down the driveway to her Honda.  She unlocked the door, tossed the spatula over onto the passenger’s seat, and then looked back at him.  Her smile was warm and inviting.  She did that thing again with her shoulders, that happy little shrug she gave when they got together at Little Flower.

“Well,” said Charlotte, “I had a great time today.  How about you?”

“Yeah, I had a lot of fun too.”

Charlotte’s smile widened so that her dimples became prominent.  Andrew wanted to kiss her.  He hadn’t since Christmas.  In spite of that, he restrained himself, telling her instead that he looked forward to seeing her again.  Charlotte said the same thing and leaned in to give him a hug.  The way she breathed against him, he wasn’t sure if she was pleased with his behavior or put off.  When they parted, Andrew saw she was still smiling.  She got into her car.  He backed away until he bumped into his mailbox.  Charlotte waved to Andrew before driving off, and he waved back.


It's Mario!

It’s Mario!

Mario Piumetti was born and raised in Los Angeles.  He has a BA in English from California Lutheran University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.  In addition to Arts Collide, his writing has been featured in CLU’s award-winning literary magazine Morning Glory, as well as the dark culture magazine Carpe Nocturne where he is a staff writer.  You can find out more at his website:

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