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Be Kind, Please Rewind

The world is forever changing, at times it changes too quickly and not all change is necessarily good change nor is it always a wanted change. What if someone or something does not want to accept change? What if that someone or something is so unhappy being left behind in the doldrums created by progress that a will is created, an energy with a will to fight back and rewind the strides made by progress.

Life is a funny thing. What constitutes as life? If life is memory, energy, a memory of energy from long ago, then can that life come to exist independently based upon that memory and of the energy from what once was so long ago? Can a force build itself in a place, discombobulated from physical form, based on all that went on in that place a long time ago? What if it could somehow go on to recall that past and bring it into the present day?

Diego Forlana is returning to the town he grew up in, a place he has not been back to in close to thirty years. It is not for family reasons that see his return, it not to visit former friends lost to a time long before social media took any kind of hold upon the world, and it is not to revisit that youth of his though a revisiting is just what it may become.

His first job, his first paying job was one that had him take up a position in the town video store. If you somehow were to find a similar store functioning in the world today, then you may as well have yourself a wish for if these stores still do exist then they are few and extremely far between.

It may have been at a time before DVDs and CDs came along though the local store was already beginning to go digital by the time employment came about. The position that got him into a paying job was that of cataloging each and every VHS and the rarer Betamax tapes the store had, numbering them and entering the numbers and necessary details to an incoming computer system, so if a customer were to come in store inquiring about a movie, it could be looked up as to if the store had it, how many copies there are, if one or all were out on loan or not and when it would be due back in store if it were out.

When this was done and sorted, store owner, George Stone would have Diego take care of front desk, looking after customers as well as have Diego go run the odd chore or thee for him. Mister Stone, yeah, he was a good man, and he did take care of Diego in his own way but why has he done just what it is that he has done?

George Stone is why Diego Forlana is back in town, more precisely, that old video store is what has Diego back in town. In 1992 just when DVDs and CDs really were doing the rounds, Diego went off to college. Truth be told, his time at that store really set up Diego with the life skills he needed to go forwards in life, he just didn’t know it at the time, do any of us know of such things when they happen?

So, it came with great sadness for Diego to find out that Mister Stone had passed away. And it came with much surprise that George Stone has left the premises, the premises where that video store once gloriously stood, to Diego.

Yeah, it has been 1992 since Diego had last spoken to George so he was at more than a loss for why Mister Stone would leave him those premises. A copy section of Mister Stone’s Will had been sent to him along with keys and now Diego is back in that town he grew up in and is about to step onto the premises of that old video store for the first time in almost thirty years.

So much grabbed him on return to that store. It is quite possible that no one had gone inside for a very long time and there would be plenty to reiterate such a thought. The outer aluminum shutters had been vandalized over the years and had become so old at this stage that it would be far too difficult to make anything out written upon it such is the degradation.

The lock at the bottom of the shutter was … is a think heavy duty lock that shows signs of rust, still it is more than strong enough to do its job. Turning a key in that lock proved a little difficult, the shutters, slightly dinted, took some convincing though eventually folded up. Then a little piece of magic came.

A lot of stores back in the eighties and nineties would have some sort of bell that would ring when the main store door opened. I’m sure the odd café or bakery still would in this day and age. Mister Stone had some something else installed way back when. The movie ‘The Gremlins’ created quite the stir when it came out, both upon cinematic release and video release so to mark the in-store release of the movie, Mister Stone had a sound bell put in. It didn’t ring, instead it alternated sounds from the movie.

When someone entered the store, they would be greeted either by the tune Gizmo hums in the movie or they would hear him say ‘Mogwai’ or ‘bright light … bright light’. When Diego opened the door, he got Gizmo’s hum and that takes him right back in time. Diego had barely turned eleven years of age when Gremlins came out on video and of course, that would be years before he would come to work there, still he had the memory of being so exited to go rent the movie with his next door neighbour and best friend on the day it was released and of course, Mister Stone had kept a copy aside just for the boys.

Diego had forgotten all about that until he opened that store door in the present day and what joy it brought just to be reminded. Its in this present moment that Diego thinks of the joy it must have brought Mister Stone too for the smile on George Stone’s face when two eleven-year-old best friends entered his store ever so exited to rent out a new movie … well … yeah, to bring joy to a child is something special.

The store, so unlike back in the day, is dull and extremely dusty, other than that it is exactly the same as it once was right down to the be kind and please rewind … posters on a couple of the walls. Oh, be kind, please rewind. How that on its own also bring Diego back in time. Those posters are about ready to fall off those wall though are indeed still where they once were as are posters for the likes of Top Gun, The NeverEnding Story and Terminator 2.

Despite the dust and the dullness, the falling posters, and the length of time which has passed since Diego was last here, there is a strange feeling that hits Diego. It is as if he has come home, like as if this very store was once his home. What a strange sensation this is.

The shelving is all still there, some are slightly crooked though they are complete, stacked and all with video cassettes and DVDs. The dust … there surely is a lot of it. There are three electrical heaters in various corners of the store, none of them working of course as there is no power running to the store, not that any heating is needed. It’s summertime and early on in the day so … but again the memories are there, on a cold winter’s day, coming into the store long before it became a place of work, Diego remembers that he and his friends could heat themselves around one of those heaters without being shooed away.

Begs to think how the Gizmo sounds were able to sound out upon entry into the store if no power is running to the store, and hadn’t Mister Stone disconnected those sounds or at least altered them prior to when Diego moved on? Perhaps the store itself is trying to muster … something.

That in itself now hits him as he moves through the store. Yeah, it hits as if Diego was having his own Field of Dreams moment. If you build it … he will come. Thing is, this is not a movie and Diego definitely is not Kevin Costner moving through a corn field. Perhaps the store itself does have some sort of consciousness, such a thought is ridiculous, or is it?

That thought, not quite if you build it but if you restore it, would people come? Would people come seeking some sort of nostalgia? Yeah, it’s easy to stream or download a movie or any kind of show these days but is it the same? Do people sit in together anymore? Like to watch a movie together, on an actual television? And with goodies too, popcorn, fizzy drinks, and the likes?

No harm trying on a limited basis. He could set it up on nostalgia. Movies of the eighties and early nineties. He has the store, and many a VHS and DVD. He could acquire videos cassette players and sell them too, cheap enough that it wouldn’t really set back any potential customer’s wallet. Hell … he might as well do it, so he does do it.

An old video store opens its doors once more after almost thirty years of being out of business. All you folks out there who are old enough to remember renting out movies especially from around its heydays of the eighties, wouldn’t you like at least one moment of video store nostalgia? Making your way inside, looking round at the multitude, or what seems like multitudes of videos and choosing one or perhaps two to take home. Well, would ya?

There is something about that old poster that encourages a certain video rental etiquette … be kind and please rewind … yeah, Be Kind, Please Rewind.


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