05 Reach for the Stars

Magic. Wonder. Endless possibilities. This week, Amanda tells a story about a young boy, who imagination has awoken a spark of sorts. By the time she hits the hyperdrive to reach her moral, we will all recall that blinding innocence we held as a child.

Welcome to Smirk. A podcast that covers society and culture through a storytelling lens. Part creative writing, part discussion, and always interesting. Each week our hosts brings a story to the show, a story they wrote themselves. These stories can cover any topic the host wants to discuss, it can be lighthearted or more serious. No one but the author knows if these tales are truth or fiction, and part of the fun is guessing while you’re listening before the reality is made clear.

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Want to read Amanda’s story “Reach for the Stars” in full? Think you can identify the moral or theme for this episode? Read it below, and then take a listen to the podcast.

Reach for the Stars

Elijah is a quirky young boy – about 6 years old or so. He likes to spend time alone to give his imagination the chance to run wild. Sometimes, he’ll watch other kids and adults, and create a story of what he’s watching in his head. He thinks it’s kinda fun to make your own story of what they’re talking about or doing. He loves to make fantasy and sci-fi stories in his head, in particular.

His parents are really cool, too. Michelle and Joe are their names. They love to play games and puzzles with Elijah, but mostly they love to go to movies together as a family. They love watching movies at home, but the movie theater is what really makes it a fun experience. They don’t go to every movie in theaters, so when they do go, they make a big deal of it. Sometimes, they’ll even go to the really late showings when it’s a BIG, new release, and Elijah gets to stay home from school the next day. Of course, those are his favorites. If it’s the first of the series, they’ll usually celebrate with a themed dinner beforehand, to really add effect and get them in the mood. But if it’s a franchise that’s really big, like Star Wars, they’ll spend the weekend before watching the ones that came before it, and pick out outfits or costumes for the movie premiere. Trust them when they say they’re BIG Star Wars fans. The rest of the family gives them the side eye; they just don’t get why someone would design their entire basement with a Star Wars theme and have Star Wars kitchen cutlery. This family definitely buys their opening day tickets the moment they go on sale.

So now we’re in 2019, and the release of Episode IX in the Star Wars franchise is rapidly approaching. “Who am I going to dress up as this year?!”, Elijah enthusiastically thinks to himself. He tells his parents over the weekend right before the release that he wants to be Chewie this time around. Of course, Michelle and Joe decide to go as Han and Leia. Michelle has the long, brown hair to pull off Leia, and Joe has the sarcastic sense of humor to give Harrison Ford a run for his money. They all plan out their outfits and Elijah’s costume is hung inside his closet. He looks at it every day, eagerly awaiting that Thursday night for which they have reserved seats, smack dab in the middle of the theater. Luxury.

Thursday night is here, and everyone showing up to this 30 screen Cineplex is in full-on costume. The family reaches the box office to pick up their tickets. They’re given a full size poster and various collectibles to go with it. The box office worker slips Elijah an extra one, winks at him, and tells him Chewie is her favorite character. He walks away with the biggest grin on his face… You can tell he’s excited. There are Stormtroopers and Siths galore – but alas, only one Chewie. Only little Elijah’s. Michelle and Joe ask him what he wants to eat and he raises his fist in the air and expels a loud yell while saying, “POPCORN!”

Clearly, the kid likes his popcorn. He’ll probably eat all $22 of it, too.

They head into their theater, look for their row letter, and make their way to the seats they’ve chosen months ago. Lightsabers drawn, battles among kids and adults alike, and laughter echoing the building. The sound emits in sync with the screen. Everyone cushions themselves into their seats… The anticipation is visible on everyone’s face. The lights go down and a room full of eyes are glistening. Elijah’s dad puts his arm around him and pulls him in towards his chest for a hug. “I love you, bud”, he whispers to his son as the scroll appears.

Smiles everywhere as the movie begins. This is exactly what Elijah dreams about all day. The ideas out of this universe visually on display fascinates him. “I want to do this”, he thinks to himself. The screen is his canvas and his imagination is the paint.

He’ll be the next big thing, he just doesn’t know it yet.

Now, listen to the full episode as we dissect Amanda’s story.