Lost in Space

By Murray Carlson

We drove silently through the rainy Seattle night. When we stopped, I couldn’t feel my body. I was a shell walking into that dimly lit room, where a red curtain was the door to the hallway. I looked around the room just to take my focus off what might be brewing behind that curtain. I filled my mouth from a bowl of candy.

There was a small television. The dial sounded “chunk, chunk, chunk” as I looked for a distraction of any kind. To my astonished joy, the fifth channel was airing “Lost in Space!” I leaned over to get as close to the screen as possible. I pleaded with Billy Mummy and Mr. Smith to save me. I was shaking.

I heard a young woman’s voice ask “Are you Murray? Would you like to come with me?” I was terrified. I couldn’t move. I didn’t move. It felt like I was watching Murray look at her. She had curly brown hair, a soft smile and a short T-shirt. If she took a deep breath she would expose herself. She did the “come this way” finger curl. I was holding my breath.

“I want to watch this show,” my voice squeaked.

She looked at the TV perplexed. “What show? You mean a TV show?”

I went back and searched for Billy Mummy’s eyes for help. In a gentle but firmer voice she asked, “You don’t want to come with me?” Still looking at the TV, I said “This is my favorite episode and I want to watch it.” I heard the curtain pull back as she walked away. I breathed.

His voice came through clenched teeth. “Get your ass in the car.” He threw the door open and carried his jacket into the rain. His shirt was untucked.

I couldn’t feel my body as I watched myself getting into the car like a beaten dog. I had stopped breathing again. Gravel flew as we fishtailed out of the lot.

A few angry puffs later, he seethed, “Goddamnit! You embarrassed me in front of my friends!”

He breathed hot rabid anger into the Fleetwood until the rain stopped and he opened all the windows. His temper was hot. I breathed in the cool air.

He barked, “What the hell is wrong with you? I am being a good parent and getting my fuckin’ virgin son laid.” Under my breath I muttered “My parents wouldn’t do something like this.”

His face went crazy as he screamed, “Did you say that you like your other parents better?”

His fist was a blur. Lightning scorched the left side of my face. I was not in my body. I saw it from somewhere else. There was no pain. I wasn’t in my body to feel it.

His swing was so hard his twist-o-flex Timex sailed out the window. The Fleetwood skidded and slid off the road. He made me get out and find it.

My dad the asshole. I was trapped.

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