EMPTY VESSEL

The woman sitting next to me at the movie theater pulled out a flashlight and began shining it on the enormous screen as the house lights dimmed for our feature presentation. She flicked the light on and off, displaying messages in Morse code over the title cards. I watched intently. I awaited instructions, the next steps of my mission, although I couldn't keep up with the rate at which she projected her messages. She was too fast for me. My eyes began crossing and I feared the worst, that I was losing sight of my objectives, crossing commands and overlooking the details. I whispered, "Would you mind slowing down, I can't keep up. I forgot a pencil so it's even more difficult to commit all of this all to memory." But she said nothing and flickered away. In fact, I think it ticked her off because she started going even quicker. Worse, still, I was getting wrapped up in the movie's plot. A man and woman were in love, but the love was forbidden, for now. But I knew a few other things, too: that I was to destroy a dossier, a compilation of extensive research done on a man known as Mr. B, the location of which unclear. (An awesome explosion occurred on screen during that part of the transmission — a blinding white light but a phenomenal sequence nonetheless, the effects all in-camera.) When other audience members began hissing at her to stop playing with the flashlight, my fearless leader ignored them. Admittedly, there was only a handful of people scattered about, and I think they eventually realized there was something larger at work here, that they'd become privy to a brain trust beyond their world view: a virtuoso of codes among them, a secret agent in front of their buttery noses. One can only sit back, relax, and enjoy. "Fascinating," an old man seated behind me said. I turned around and gave him an irritated look, then went back to the issue at hand. More details and instructions flashed across the screen. Upon destroying the Mr. B dossier, I was to commit an act of treason against my government. "How?" I said out loud, by accident. The flashlight went out, and the woman vanished out of sight. "Because love knows no bounds, my boy!" The old man shouted, as he devoured his popcorn like some kind of sick hog. Indeed, our romance was Shakespearean — full of passion, poetry, tragedy.