By William Thomas
As love notes go, it wasn’t exactly the words of Ludwig van Beethoven: “Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest of heart. Of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”
It wasn’t even close to President Ronald Reagan’s mushy missive to his beloved Nancy: “I more than love you, I’m not whole without you. You are life itself. When you’re gone, I’m waiting for you to return so I can start living again.”
And it wasn’t as well crafted as the first love letter kicked out by a computer: “My lust tempts your fond ardour. My liking ardently cares for your hunger.”
It was simply a scrap of paper floating end-over-end down a narrow alleyway when I picked it up, probably dislodged from a car windshield or the back door of a house. Hand printed on a small, slender memo it was a story of tragedy, lust and revenge in a mere 15 words.
“Brad, my cell phone not working. Come sleep over. Kids with their Dad tonight. Muffin.” A happy face appeared above Muffin’s signature and “XO” underneath it. It was a beautiful thing this epigram — an intriguing little story told in fewer words than you might find on a grocery list.
Sadly, “cell phone not working” in today’s world is a real tragedy. Unable to “selfie” herself, the useless cell phone could provoke suicide, making Muffin every bit a tragic Shakespearean figure as Macbeth. The only difference is Muffin is apparently sleeping with Brad, not her mother.
“Come sleep over.” The line drips of Frank Sinatra’s erotic invitation to love. “Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away.” But it’s gotta be a real short flight because …
“Kids with their Dad tonight.” Okay so this is not the story of Ozzie & Harriet. It’s more like Stud & Muffin, which would make an excellent name for a Stag & Doe party. Yet, Muffin’s separation sounds rather amiable, unless the kids are real hell raisers and the night at Dad’s is more like Night of The Living Dead with the father preferring the company of zombies to his own offspring.
For the movie, I’m thinking Brad Pitt as Brad, Jennifer Lawrence as Muffin, and Phil and Sal Fondacaro, Hollywood’s most famous dwarf twins, as the kids. Bill Murray would be Dad.
The film opens with Brad, a grinning, beer-swilling hunk watching an afternoon Jays game on TV while constantly looking at his cell phone for the booty call that will never come. Outside, next to his shiny Camaro, a stranger picks up a note that has been separated from the windshield wiper blade by a slight breeze. Upon further inspection, the audience learns that this is not just any stranger but one in desperate need of a column idea and three hours from deadline.
Meanwhile in a three-bedroom clapboard in nearby Humberstone, where people still believe “An Officer and a Gentleman” was a true story, Muffin rifles through her closet trying on a dozen teddies in order to select the perfect one for a tryst that will never take place, the invitation having gone with the wind.
At the same time in an apartment above the City Hotel, wearing a helmet and hockey gear, Dad has locked himself in the bathroom where he alternates between stabbing pins into his Brad Pitt doll and speed-dialing Muffin who forgot to drop off the box of chocolates that are laced with Demerol to knock the little buggers out cold. But her cell phone is not working. And he can’t drive to her apartment because the twins have jammed the fridge and stove against the bathroom door. As he screams for help from neighbours, the children proceed to drop potted plants and small appliances on people walking on the sidewalk below the living room window.
Phil laughs hysterically as Sal opens his mouth to reveal the tiny B-disc battery from their mother’s cell phone, this while they’re using skewers to spear fish for snowflake eels in Dad’s aquarium. They stop long enough to sing the movie’s theme song, “Brad Pitt Won’t Get Lucky Tonight.”
With the boys using his La-Z-Boy recliner as a trampoline and the cat imbedded in the living room ceiling, Dad jumps out the bathroom window into the dumpster below. He’s done this before when bad dates ended up staying the night.
He drives his rusted-out beater to the house he still owns but can’t live in, fully expecting to interrupt his ex-wife bench pressing a new boyfriend on the kitchen table but, no, she’s alone and crying. She’s never been without her cell phone before.
He fixes her cell phone, she fixes him dinner and together, they sing: “If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain.” They take a selfie of themselves and while Muffin goes to get more chocolates, Dad sends the photo to Brad.
No, Brad will most definitely not — “What about the boys?!?” “It’s alright, they’ll be in custody by now.” — get lucky tonight.
For the lack of a cell phone, the note was written. For the loss of the note, the boyfriend was abandoned. For the unruliness of the children, the parents were reconciled. For poor superstition, a school of fish died. “Selfie Love — The movie — A Multi-Malfunctioning Thing.”
For comments, ideas and
copies of The True Story
of Wainfleet, go to