Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost Convoy, Part IV: Clive Lockwood

He was at home, watching a movie, when it happened. It's really because he had nothing better to do. Clive Lockwood was a man in his late sixties, and had led a pretty full life already. He had nothing much to lose.

Clive had been a pastor in a rural parish, Methodist, though he'd never really had the conviction of faith. He spent three decades with his flock, and then retired, but had never considered what to do with all that time. His congregation had never expected much from him, just the service and a few reassuring words, and since he was socially withdrawn by nature, retirement had at first seemed to be an ideal situation for him. And then he experienced it, and Clive's attitude changed. He really didn't have anything to do. With the constant reassurance of the parish to attend to, all its functions and parishioners taking up his time, what was he supposed to do? He had no friends and no hobbies, and that was about it.

One day he went to a video store, figuring that a relic deserved to be among relics, and spent a few hours perusing the shelves, and he recognized nothing at all, so he chose one at random. The first time he attempted to watch the movie, Clive fell asleep, and he was embarrassed to discover that he had hardly made it past a half hour. So he tried again. In fact, it took three tries for him to watch the movie the whole way through, and he was pleasantly surprised to find that, all told, he had enjoyed himself. It wasn't a particularly deep movie, no great message or acting, just an experience that had amused him.

He did some research, both on the movie and what others had said about it. He found that he didn't much care about what he was supposed to think. He returned that movie and got another, one that looked similar, that would give him the same kind of experience. Two weeks later, he had watched a total of fifteen movies, and had gotten a pretty good understanding of what he most enjoyed. Then, of course, the video store went out of business.

Clive was forced to visit the city in order to find more movies. He chose a bookstore, but tried to locate titles on his computer and call ahead, because the trip took almost a whole hour, and he didn't like to sit in the car that long. The bookstore didn't seem to carry his kind of movies in quite the same way the video store had. He decided to order them. For months and then for years, this pattern continued. He didn't know that the name "Clive Lockwood" had become a little notorious in that store.

It was while he was watching one of these movies that one of his former congregants called him, and told him to turn on the news. At first, he thought she might be asking for some reassuring words, but it soon became apparent that there weren't any possible. This really was the end. He got another call, and then another, some exactly the expected kind, others that only confused him. He decided to unplug his phone, another relic, naturally.

How exactly he ended up on the frigate Clive couldn't say even when he was boarding, when the others in line were swapping their stories, nervously. Clive saw the pilot, and instinctly waved toward him, but the man seemed to be preoccupied, and no wonder. Clive was still trying to figure out how exactly he'd gotten there, hours later, after the big launch, when the pilot's voice came through on the speakers, asking for some suggestions about their situation.

It wasn't for a few minutes until Clive finally felt some clarity. He'd seen a movie like this.

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