Samantha Lee’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: All the Tin Men
"I don't understand."
I studied it some more, trying different positions and angles, trying to get various perspectives but, nope, none of it helped. I was well and truly stumped.
Jester snorted and flopped down next to me on the sofa, helping himself to a handful of my popcorn as he did so. "What's to understand?"
"Well, a lot actually, but in this instance I'm referring to the Tin Man."
Jester blinked, a slow smile curling his lips. "The Tin Man? Really, Fi?"
"Do you think he's clockwork? He's clearly someone's creation but his weakness is so...basic. Who builds a Tin Man and doesn't test him in the rain? It's like building a skyscraper and not testing its stability in windy conditions."
"Pretty sure it's meant to be a metaphor, hon."
I cast a droll stare in Jester's direction and shock my head. "I know that he's a metaphor; everything in this movie is a metaphor, from the characters to the setting to the random extras. I get it. It's the Metaphor of Oz. The Wizard of Metaphor. Still doesn't excuse shoddy design and poor foresight."
Jester saw my droll stare and raised me a quirked eyebrow. "Why else would the Tin Man be randomly standing in the middle of the forest?"
"Hence my question about his being clockwork. Perhaps he needed to be wound up. It would make more sense that way."
"Uh-huh." Jester didn't sound convinced. I decided not to hold that against him and switched gears. So to speak.
"Okay, well, mechanics aside, why would you create something so...flawed?"
Swiping another handful of my popcorn, Jester made a grunting sound before stuffing his mouth and shrugging.
I rolled my eyes and huffed out a breath. "Jes? An opinion would be nice."
"I'm trying to figure out who your Tin Man is first," he told me as he stole another handful of popcorn.
"I don't have a Tin Man. I was just thinking, that's all."
"Uh-huh. And last week when we watched Casablanca, you weren't thinking about anyone in particular when you started asking about taking initiative and getting involved. Your movie watching habits are completely random. Your questions are totally unrelated to real life. The platypus is an unquestionably serious creature. Uh-huh."
I glared and snatched my bowl of popcorn back. It was empty. Figures. "Fine! I was thinking about the wraiths, okay? I mean, you're basically my personal take on Frankenstein's Monster, the formerly dead all patched up and set back into motion with my very own operating system at the helm. I...I want you guys to have your hearts. To be who you were before...before me."
"Um, Fi? Before you, we were dead. There's not much that isn't an improvement over dead. Granted, okay, some things aren't - like torture, torment, and teasing."
"Well, no, but that was more for alliteration. My point was clear though."
I sigh and shift my position, snuggling against Jester's side and resting my head against his shoulder. "Jes...it's just...just that sometimes I'm not sure how much of you is YOU and how much is you being...redefined to, I don't know, suit me."
"Suit you?" Jester went thoughtful, trying to work out what I was talking about, what I was really trying to say. Of all my wraiths, he was the best at figuring me out, despite being one of the newer additions to their ranks. Khary and Keely had been my first, but they were a lot more duty oriented than Jester. Plus, of all my wraiths, Jes was the only one I knew before death.
"Oh my gods," Jester said suddenly, breaking in on my thoughts. "You think I'm sired to you, don't you? Fi, get real; my name is not Elena and, while you're cute, you're no Damon. Hell, Fi, putting aside the fact you're mated to a vampire prince, you're not even remotely my type, no offence. I'm me, you're you, and the only thing that's changed about my feelings for you since becoming your wraith is that now I'm a lot more invested in your continued survival. Okay? Becoming a wraith ties us to you, opens up channels between us, shares our power, links our fates, and harmonizes our energies, but, hon, it does not change who we are. We're yours, body and soul, but we're not zombies and we're not heartless. We're...us."
I studied Jester, the way he smiled crookedly, the way his bangs perpetually fell forward to veil his eyes, the way his nose twitched when he got nervous. I thought about Keeley telling me stories about his life, always in his native tongue. Khary insisting we always stock Neapolitan ice cream. I hate Neapolitan ice cream - drives me completely bonkers. I thought about Ghost keeping to himself and London going on his travels.
I reached for them and felt them all, felt them respond and answer my touch with the warmth of their own.
"So, what you're saying here," I hedged aloud to Jester, "is that you really, really don't want me sending you off as a sidekick on a mission to kill the witch?"
"To steal her broomstick, technically, and, no, rather not, thanks. Besides, I was never kind-a-human, I don't see sparrows as friend material and more often than not the boy who shoots the arrows is trying to kill me."
I nodded. "Your points are valid."
"Of course they are. Now, on to something that matters - is there any more popcorn to be had? Your homemade stuff puts Orville Redenbacher to shame."
I laughed. "I love you too, Jes."
"For popcorn, Fi, I'd love just about anyone. Now, fetch, girl!"
Quirking an eyebrow, I conjured up some more popcorn and thrust the bowl at him. Hard enough to make him grunt. "Whatever you say, Tin Man."
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