Everything You Own in a Glass Box

celebrities watch movies, eat chinese food, drink tea and sake as they contemplate their relationships and personal flaws

Danny Devito looked at the wall, looked at Salma Hayek, got up, opened the door, walked down the street, walked back, closed the door, and sat on the couch. Salma Hayek was awake. They sat there in a silence that was uncomfortable to both of them for a few minutes. They both knew that the other one was uncomfortable. It was 7:47 P.M. “I want to do something,” said Salma Hayek. Danny Devito wanted to do something. They agreed. Danny Devito sat on the couch for a while before he got up and walked across the room to the television. There was a DVD on top of the television from Hollywood Video. It was a movie that had recently been released on DVD. It failed commercially, and it was very sad. There were olive branches on the cover. Danny Devito liked it very much, and he had watched it three times. It had a dog in it. “Do you want to watch this movie?” asked Danny Devito, holding the DVD up for Salma Hayek to see. Salma Hayek sat on the couch for a while, not responding. She nodded while rubbing her eye with her left hand. Salma Hayek was tired. Danny Devito turned on the DVD player and put the disc in. He walked to the couch and sat next to Salma Hayek. They watched the previews. “Why didn’t you skip the previews?” asked Salma Hayek, “You can skip the previews.” Danny Devito did not answer. He clicked Play. Danny Devito and Salma Hayek used to love each other but they did not anymore. Salma Hayek had not loved Danny Devito for a long time, and Danny Devito loved Salma Hayek for a while but now he was asking himself in his bran if he still did all the time but he knew he didn’t. Danny Devito only liked Salma Hayek some of the time, usually when she was sleeping or somewhere else. Salma Hayek fell asleep on the couch in the middle of the main titles and Danny Devito fell asleep on the floor next to the couch after the main titles. Ten hours later, Danny Devito woke up. Salma Hayek was gone and the DVD menu was scrolling on the TV. Danny Devito walked to the bathroom and put Salma Hayek’s toothbrush in the cup. He had put Salma Hayek’s toothbrush in the cup last night, and now he was doing it again. Danny Devito hated it when people didn’t put things back, because Danny Devito thought that he should know exactly what everything was and where it was and where it would be all the time. Danny Devito brushed his teeth and walked back into the living room. The blinds were open, and the sun was out. There was a scene of green, grey and blue outside the window, covered with a tint of yellow and a grainy layer of dust. Danny Devito looked out the window and squinted. He walked outside, still wearing the clothes he wore yesterday. He picked up two newspapers from his driveway and walked back inside. Danny Devito’s phone rang, and he picked it up. “Hello?” said Danny Devito. “Hello, Danny Devito,” said the person on the other line, “it’s Michael Buble. I have something to tell you.” “What?” “I just figured out that ‘stressed’ spells ‘dessert’ backwards.” “So. Who cares?” There was a long pause. “Also, couldn’t you just say ‘desserts’ spells ‘stressed’ backwards? Why did you have to say ‘stressed’ first?” “I don’t know,” said Michael Buble, “I just did. I could’ve put them in any order I wanted to. I just chose to say ‘stressed’ first.” “Okay. Is that all you called about?” “Yes,” said Michael Buble, “Goodbye.” Danny Devito hung up, and then Michael Buble hung up. Michael Buble was in his studio apartment. He felt depressed. He walked over to the piano and began to play “Moon River” by Andy Williams. He stopped during the intro and walked to his bookshelf and started to organize his books in order of spine color, but he stopped. He picked up the phone and called Danny Devito. The phone rang twice, and then Danny Devito answered. “Hello?” “Hi, Danny. Do you want to eat Chinese food with me?” “It’s seven in the morning. Do you mean later?” “Yes. Do you want to eat Chinese food with me later?” “Okay.” Danny Devito spent the rest of the day pacing around his house and watching the sad dog movie, and Michael Buble spent the day buying tea and sitting down in the park. At 7 P.M., Michael Buble sent a text message to Danny Devito and they were both sitting in a Chinese restaurant at 8:15 P.M. Danny Devito invited Salma Hayek, and she arrived a half-hour later. Salma Hayek was not wearing makeup, and she smelled like roses. Danny Devito almost said hi but he didn’t because he remembered that Salma Hayek told him that he didn’t need to say hi every single time he saw her because they were together and it was implied. A waiter came up, and his nametag said Jimmy Carter. “What you want to eat?” asked Jimmy Carter. He left the word “do” out of the sentence because he did not speak sufficient English. Danny Devito and Michael Buble ordered different kinds of salads, and Salma Hayek ordered something with beef in it. Danny Devito and Michael Buble ordered Chinese tea, and Salma Hayek bought a bottle of rice wine. Jimmy Carter walked away without saying anything like “Okay,” or anything. Michael Buble and Salma Hayek were sympathetic and Danny Devito thought it was rude. They all formed opinions about Jimmy Carter’s actions but nobody spoke aloud about it because it wasn’t the kind of thing that people speak about. “What did you do today?” asked Danny Devito. Danny Devito wondered if that was an appropriate question to ask. What was appropriate and inappropriate to say was very confusing to Danny Devito ever since he had established subconsciously that he was in a relationship with Salma Hayek but actually not really. Salma Hayek responded, “I don’t know. Not much.” Michael Buble went to the bathroom. “I like you, you know,” said Danny Devito. He waited for Salma Hayek to say, “I do know! And I like you too! I think we should go back to your house right now and play table tennis and talk about what used to happen before we did nothing but sit on your couch all the time, when we used to run, not walk, but run down the sidewalk and see movies in theaters and laugh with our friends! I want to be like I used to be, I want to do the things I used to do that you liked but I don’t do anymore! I want to be your best friend and I want to love you and for you to love me and I want to get married where you want to get married and I want to have children in ten or fifteen years with you!” but she didn’t say anything until thirty seconds later, and what she said was, “Yeah,” and Danny Devito didn’t know what that meant. Michael Buble returned from the bathroom, and they sat in silence. Michael Buble was playing a video game on his iPhone (he owned an iPhone) and Danny Devito wished he had a rubber band or a small piece of paper. Jimmy Carter returned to their table with a big platter with all of their orders on it. He set it down and returned to the kitchen without saying anything. The restaurant was a big white room with a counter and a kitchen at the north end of it and folding tables like a school cafeteria. The lighting was fluorescent and there were pictures of the food on the walls that were not flattering or professionally taken. In the kitchen, Jimmy Carter took off a pair of rubber gloves and got out his Nokia cell phone. He called his brother. In the dining area, Danny Devito was taking a bite of his salad and Salma Hayek was pouring a glass of rice wine. Michael Buble was finishing a blog post on his iPhone. Michael Buble had started a blog. It had one reader, and it was his friend, Orville Redenbacher. Michael Buble had never received a comment on any of his posts. Michael Buble turned off his iPhone and began to drink his tea. Salma Hayek ate one bite of her beef. “Have either of you seen that new Nelson Mandela movie?” She looked at Michael Buble as she said it. Danny Devito had seen it, but he said nothing. Michael Buble had seen it, and he said, “I have. It was good. It was too long, though, and the actor looked too much like Malcolm X and not enough like Nelson Mandela. It was distracting.” They continued to eat. Danny Devito agreed and disagreed with certain aspects of Michael Buble’s critique of the Nelson Mandela movie. There was a fly in Danny Devito’s salad. He almost decided that he wouldn’t eat that piece of lettuce, but after the fly left, he did and he didn’t feel bad about it. The fly flew into the wall and went back to its fly family. He was disappointed that he didn’t get to eat the lettuce. Its family was disappointed for it. That fly and half of its family died later that evening. Michael Buble received a text message partway through eating his salad, and he stopped to check it. Danny Devito noted that if he received a text message, he wouldn’t check it while eating. Usually Danny Devito only received text messages from Michael Buble and his dad, and sometimes Salma Hayek. Danny Devito felt uncomfortable to be eating a salad and drinking tea while trying to think of what would be appropriate to say to his sometimes girlfriend and his sometimes best friend. “Do you want to come over?” Danny Devito asked, looking at Salma Hayek. Salma Hayek looked at Danny Devito but said nothing. She didn’t want to come over but she didn’t know if she had an obligation. Salma Hayek was annoyed by obligations. “You don’t have to,” said Danny Devito, sensing Salma Hayek’s reluctance. Salma took a bite of pork. It was her third. Salma Hayek had gone through three quarters of the bottle of rice wine, and she poured another glass. Her eyes were small and grey bags had collected under them. Michael Buble called for Jimmy Carter to bring him a new cup of tea. Danny Devito did not like the tea; it smelled good but it tasted like nothing. It tasted like hot water. Michael Buble liked the tea very much. Salma Hayek was drunk and she wasn’t hungry. Michael Buble finished his salad and talked on the phone for five minutes with his friend Orville Redenbacher while Danny Devito and Salma Hayek listened. Salma Hayek and Danny Devito went to the bathroom at the same time, and Danny Devito returned to the table before Salma Hayek. Jimmy Carter left wearing a hat with a bored and tired expression on his face and a colony of flies quietly buzzed about in the walls, disgusted with each other and disgusted with the people dining at the Chinese restaurant, and also generally disgusted with their boring and colorless lives. The restaurant’s manager, Spencer Pratt, yelled at a female employee and used the restroom. Danny Devito, Michael Buble and Salma Hayek sat at their table with a sort of perpetual silence that was extremely uncomfortable. Danny Devito felt uncomfortable up to three or four times each day. Salma Hayek was more annoyed most of the time. The sound of Salma Hayek’s voice pierced through the static silence like a knife ripping through old bedsheets as she announced to the table that she had to leave. She grabbed her purse and left. She had finished the bottle of rice wine. Michael Buble left next and Danny Devito sat at the table for at least five more minutes before he paid and left in his 2000 Ford Taurus. The next day, Danny Devito found out that Salma Hayek had died in a car accident which left a former classmate of his named Michael Moore paralyzed from the waist down and he sat on the couch with his hands over his face for hours, not because of sadness but because of guilt for a lack of sadness. That night Hollywood Video called Danny Devito to tell him that they had fined his account fifteen dollars for the sad dog movie and he fell asleep watching America’s Funniest Home Videos and laughing uncontrollably.


The End

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