The pale blue glow off his iPhone illuminated his face in the midnight hour. He stared blankly at a text from a mysterious number that simply read, “I H8 U!” Carson racked his brain, trying to remember everything he had done over the last twenty-four hours.
Suddenly, a new text popped up. “When R U coming back?” In the dark of night, Carson had failed to realize he didn’t recognize the room he was in; the only thing he recognized about his surroundings was the lingering scent of burnt popcorn. He stood up, bumping into a row of seats in front of him, and suddenly realized he was standing in a vacant movie theater.
Carson thought he had seen the movie that was playing before—well, until the on-screen actors started talking to him. He sat back down, trying to figure out how he wound up back at the theater…in fact, Carson couldn’t quite remember anything about the entire night. The actors were yelling at him now, their faces growing ever closer to the screen—and then one stepped right through into the movie theater.
It was Carrie Fisher, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. She ran up the steps to the final row of seats where Carson was, stared at him, and asked, “When are you coming back?”
Carson looked down at his phone, completely embarrassed at the fact that he had forgotten he had given Carrie Fisher his number at that producer’s party some years ago. The more he recalled that party, the more his face reddened, his embarrassment increasing as he remembered the circumstances under which he had given her his number.
“You know,” Carrie said, “you’re a jackass, but I still love you. When are you going to finally take me out?”
“Well…how about right now?” Carson struggled to make eye contact as he asked and as he glanced downward he became aware of an entirely new problem.
“About that…” Carrie said cautiously. “There’s one small problem. I died in 2016.”
Carson outstretched his arm, but as he reached for her hand to console her, he was unable to grasp it; his hand swept right through her own. Suddenly, Carrie Fisher began fading away in blackness.
As Carson cried out to the quickly vanishing Carrie, she began chuckling, and upon further inspection Carson discovered why; he was standing completely naked in the middle of the movie theater. It was one of his wild “naked in a movie theater, talking to the ghost of Carrie Fisher dreams again”…how typical of Carson.
Elizabeth Bates is a writer and teacher from Washington state. She is a co-columnist of “Full Send” at The Daily Drunk. Bates has additional recent or forthcoming work with Versification, Seaborne Magazine, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington state with her husband, son, and two Siberian Huskies.
Keith Langston writes for Travel Channel, Screen Rant, and Passport Magazine, among others. His personal essays have been featured in Hobart and Talking Writing. His passions are travel, film, and tea.