Dear Small Screen Video: Part I

Words by Oliver Mol

Pictures by Lucy O’Doherty

Published on July 6, 2012

Dear Small Screen Video,

I am very excited to announce that I would like to work in your video store. You have not met me yet but do not let this deter you because I have been watching you for some time. I have been watching you because my dad always used to say, ‘it is better to be safe than sorry,’ and, ‘dare to prepare,’ but he does not say this anymore because he is dead. Perhaps he should have taken his own advice when he did not wear a condom. But I digress, and please do not cry, for this is neither here nor there. Ha. Ha.

I have been watching you through a pair of binoculars that my dad left me in his will and while I am a little disappointed because my sister received his estate, the binoculars have quite the precise zoom function and the clearest lenses I have ever seen. Yesterday I watched from an undisclosed location while a young gentlemen who was not blind entered your store with a dog. Even though I liked the dog because the dog was a Staffy — their muscular backs remind me of Xena the warrior princess who is my favourite fictional
character in any television series — I immediately thought what if someone entered the store who was allergic to dogs. I watched, somewhat uneasily, as your current worker who I have named Billy, touched him on the back. Do not touch him on the back Billy your next customer might be allergic, I thought. But he did touch the dog, store manager whose name I do not yet know but who I have decided to call Barbara, he did touch the dog and then wipe his moustache and then run his dog-stained hands through his conditioned brown hair.

Now, I am not a negative Nancy, or a tattling Tim — as my mother used to say — but clearly this is unacceptable behaviour. I will admit — because my brother told me, ‘without honesty we have nothing’ — that I fell into a small fantasy, one that involved the dog having fleas, fleas that were then transported to Billy’s head, fleas that nestled and burrowed and itched and furrowed and made Billy cry out, ‘Oh how can I work when my head looks like a period and feels like a flaky leper!’ Then in the fantasy I said, ‘Billy go and wash your hair you mutt toucher and never come back.’ Then I met you and I said, ‘Barbara, I will work hard for you. I will never leave you. You will love my work and I will know that you love my work because I will be watching when you arrive at 6:45 each morning and I will see you smile and sometimes, discreetly, check to see whether you remembered to apply deodorant. I can tell that I impress you because I do not know many other people who can fantasise for as long as I can and also you are blushing. P.S. nice sweater Barbara.

Please accept this cover letter as proof of my commitment to the industry, and as proof of my devotion to your business.

Yours in commitment and honesty,
Tim Bruce

P.P.S Would you like me to wear a uniform? Normally I wear a beanie because the head is the cooling system of the body. Would this be a problem?

P.P.P.S I am very excited to be working in your store and will begin on Monday.

Oliver Mol is a Melbourne based writer. He can be reached at He is the second writer to be featured in our Struggling Writers Residencies.