Last time I had home time, my daughter Willow and I decided to have a movie night while Micah was out having his dialysis. He does night-time dialysis now, so that left the evening free for us. Willow is 11 1/2, just at that age where she wants to watch more adult movies, especially scary ones.
I had told her that one of the scariest movies I had ever seen when I was young was The Shining. Who could not be scared by Jack Nicholson in that movie? Especially when he’s taking that axe to the door of the bathroom and Shelly Duvall is in there screaming, because she knows she has nowhere to go and her husband has completely flipped his lid and is swinging that axe ever closer toward her with murderous intent… Oh my.
It just so happened that I found a copy of The Shining while I was out on the road trucking. I was re-supplying somewhere—I don’t remember where (Walmart?)—and happened to dig through the store’s bin o’ cheap stuff. That movie was in there and I think I got it for $5. I hadn’t had a chance to see it yet and hadn’t seen it since I was a kid.
I hadn’t wanted to, truthfully. The movie gave me nightmares. I wondered if the movie was anything like the book, so I bought the Steven King novel it’s based on and got even worse nightmares. I think The Shining is probably the best of his horror books (I haven’t read his more recent stuff, so I qualify that by the horror stuff I was reading in the 80’s at any rate).
Willow knew I had the movie, because she watched me unpack. She suggested we watch it. I told her again that it was really, really scary and she might regret watching it if she watched it with me. She assured me that she already knew what it was all about because Marrla (a family friend) had told her some of the great lines from the movie.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
“Come play with us, Danny.”
She also said, “Besides, Mom, I see all kinds of scary way grossness on TV shows like NCIS all the time. They’ve got yucky bodies autopsied and stuff.”
I explained it wasn’t the same kind of scary. Not all scary requires blood and guts. The Shining is suspense scary. She seemed dubious about the distinction.
So I relented. We both got our snacks and drinks and snuggled up on my bed and watched the movie on the TV in my bedroom.
Willow started out next to me on the bed, sitting up straight, and was doing fine. About a third of the way through, I noticed she had slipped under the covers. Then it seemed like with every new little scary thing, as Jack is losing his mind and the little boy is meeting the ghosties of the hotel, Willow sunk
under the covers,
until all I could see of of her body was the top of her head and fingers clutching the blanket up to her face, just below her eyes.
For a while there, I wondered if she was breathing. She was holding absolutely still, ready to cover her eyes at a moment’s notice with the bedspread she held a death grip on. She had sunk down as low as she could go. I asked her if she could see the TV okay, and I heard, barely audible, “Mmmhhm.”
I reeeeaaaaallly had the urge to reach over and grab her and yell “AAAUGH!”, so that she would scream and jump as high as the ceiling, but I resisted the temptation. The girl is lucky her mommy is so nice. Her grampa would have done it without hesitation.
Finally the movie was over. I asked her what she thought of it.
“Great. Now I’m gonna have nightmares.” She turned over and flipped the covers over her head in exasperation.
Bwa ha ha ha! I am tempted, really tempted to try and pull one over on her the next time I come home. I could tell her that I missed her and her daddy so much being out on the road that I got a new job. That her daddy and she and I are going to move to some remote place out in Colorado and be the new caretakers for this bed and breakfast hotel over the winter. Oh, and by the way, I heard that it’s haunted…Which is perfect, because we’ll be moving in just in time for Halloween…
Better check with Micah on that one. Get him in on the act. Lessee, how can we make that believable since he’s on dialysis? Oh, yeah. Micah will be switching to home dialysis, so we don’t have to worry about him having to go to clinics three times a week. *laughing evilly*
Should I do it? Naaah. I’m too nice. That would be mean. Scare the poor girl half to death. Teach her for not believing her mom about what makes a movie scary, though. But then….I think she already learned that lesson.
What do you think?