Mine Eyes Have Seen the Gory  video transcript, 2017







Bobby has been thinking about a word. But he cannot recall the sound of this word, nor the letters that form it. It’s been on the tip of his tongue for a year.


In the basement, Bobby sits cross legged and gawks at America’s Most Wanted on the old, boob tube. In this show, the host and his cadre of re-enactors lay bare sordid, criminal predicaments in sentences that bulge with information - a shining example of the practice of the word. Still, his lips will not find it.


So instead, Bobby turns his attention to the host, John Walsh, whose seven year old son, Adam, would have been the same age as Bobby, were he not kidnapped in 1981 from a Sears in Hollywood, FL. Two weeks later, Adam’s head was found by fishermen in a canal that ran under the Florida Turnpike. This horror was hastily made into a TV movie, fraught with dialogue characterized by the word that Bobby cannot recall. But he does recall, that same summer, watching in awe, the head of a devout Nazi melt during the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark. For him, the two deaths are at once, intwined and irreconcilable. With each, the sensation is the same - an adrenal thrust that prickles his cheeks. But the notion of a child’s disembodied head (his own head) is so violent that it seems impossible. And the face of the Nazi, which sloughs off the bone, in implausible sheets of fluid, is so specific that it must be the real deal. Fissures creep from the base of each consecutive thought.


Bobby stands immovable, at a RiteAid magazine rack. He grips the thin pages of Cinemagic in both hands, peeling it wide to an article titled, The Secrets of Graphic Gore, that describes how he can make his own melting head, using canning wax, Crayola crayons and a hair dryer.


The page casts an air of promise that is just like the “Build Your Own Hovercraft” ad in the back of the magazine. In it, a kid Bobby’s age crouches, his face partly obscured by a comically thin seat that rests on a triad of wide discs, as if he were fine tuning the homemade craft’s pitch and yaw. The header, in all caps: “YOU CAN FLOAT ON AIR” cleverly followed by bold letters that boast, “FREE” which actually refer to the fine print that reads, “Astronaut iron-on with order.” And buried in the gutter of the ad: “ Send three fifty for plans and photos, to Wijit Works, Newport Beach, CA.” Preceded by,  “Powered by an ordinary vacuum cleaner motor. It really works!”


What works? The  machine or the scam? Then the thought: “What parent is going to let their kid dismantle the vacuum cleaner?” The layout unfolds with such a lack of good faith that it terminates in suspicion and the soothing hint of possibility drifts off the page.


But The Secrets of Graphic Gore is different. Cinemagic has made good on its promise by laying the recipe bare in the unrepentant detail of a Playboy centerfold. Everything is revealed, and crayons come easy.


One month later, eight year old Jean Fewel is found hanging from a tree at the edge Finley Golf Course, having been raped and strangled. The site is a five minute drive from Bobby’s house and he never recognized its darker potential, until now. It was just a stuffy lawn where old Southern white men sauntered on bad knees, gin drunk, and casually brandished metal clubs. He is reluctant to see the photo of the barren tree, starkly printed in the local paper. It’s branches fan outward in a capillary array of abject possibilities.


Bobby understands that if he ever sees real melting flesh, he won’t believe his eyes, since he’s only ever seen fake melting flesh, that’s meant to look real.


Bobby expects that Jean Fewel will be lamented on America’s Most Wanted. She is not. The show seeks fugitives, and Jean’s killer is already locked up. At the time of this thought however, Adam’s killer moves freely through the world, the driving force behind the show, the argument for flat footed dialogue. The intangible word. Even so, he assembles the Jean Fewel episode in his head, framing a shot of the dreaded tree and unsettling himself further by inserting the faces of his sister and his uncle into the reenactment. They explain the scandal, as usual, through the wooden gracelessness of exposition.



There it is. Bobby remembers the word and it disappoints him. It sounds nothing like he imagined. He had hoped, at least, for more syllables. Vowels that contorted the throat to make a graver noise. He wants to forget the word and wonder again. But it’s too fucking late for that. The tree at Finley Golf Course is flowering.