In the back of our local toy-store were the expensive items behind a jewel-case– really, the realm where anyone’s older sister would be with press-on nails and hair scrunchies, cocking her ear into a phone at some slumber-party and giggling. Not only did they lock-up the Nintendo games behind there, but carried lava lamps and jewelry and make-up kit’s.
And then the purple sack caught my interest. For a while, Nintendo sold a kind of Ouija-board or divination game like an electronic Tarot card reading– like those “Magic 8” balls where the answers were largely interpretive and “kept it rather vague”.
Whether it is “keeping the intercom, open” for matters of the undefined, the mysterious, “or some kind of insight, from above” teenagers who took things “too seriously” might stare into the crystal ball (– their television-set) and see what kind of reply would burble-up from the strange depths of electricity and random-chance, “like a radio to the netherworld” or god or whatever as the old gypsy’s hand of cards had reached the modern age of 8-bit gaming.
And there would be Lydia, as we know her from Beetlejuice– lugubrious, drooping nightingale of gothic pomp and circumstance, lo the mortification– all of 15 years-old and secretly an idealist as all cynics must truly be. Just a hitchhiker down “Spook City, USA” and her moody attention, cradled like an orb for the NES controller in her hands.
Pierce thine heart, the immortal cry as the mandrake spreads its wings and the chariot of Hades comes to ferry your question to realms, unknown.
“What is the higher, true path for an artist?”
The eight-bit computer music droned-on, like a thunder-clap outside of an ominous castle tower– namely, her bedroom.
“Send me an answer, oh Swami of restive nights”.
The phone rang, as the computer cut the cards.
“Hello, would you like new siding for your home or cabin? Please stay tuned for an important message. . . . .”
Lydia hung-up the phone.
Renfield, the cat of blackest midnight brushed-up against her crossed knees, sitting Indian-style.
“What message to you bring me, my little pretty?”
The cat tugged on her sock with its teeth. It wanted food. Like other things, hunger was constant along with low, chronic-level migraines unto teenaged petulance.
“Until you call upon the dark. I’d better get-up, now”.
Renfield meowed on her heels as the game-screen showed a tower struck by lightning and crumbling like the walls of teen-queen isolation. It said, “a change is near”.
Well change, sure. Change the channel. Or move from one’s moody perch. You see? The game always told the truth.
Will there be a sequel to Beetlejuice?
“Ask me later”, but the answer is getting “less hazy”.