An excerpt from Other Orlandos

Release Date: June 2017
$16 | ANTHOLOGY | Paperback 150 pgs
ISBN: 978-1-941681-85-5
Available to the trade via Itasca
or your preferred wholesaler

From the story
“Stealing Orlando”
by David James Poissant


What happened was our marriage was falling apart, the way marriages do, and, in our falling, my wife Delia and I got real honest, because why not, because what did we have to lose? And, in our honesty, what came forward, or one of the things that came forward, was that Delia wanted to fuck Orlando Bloom.

As in, she’d had this fantasy. As in, she’d just seen Elizabethtown and had this innocent crush. An innocent crush didn’t involve wanting to fuck someone, I argued, and Delia said, “No, not him, you. But also him. You as him.”

This was one of those nights where you both drink so much you feel closer than you are and safer than you are, and so you speak dangerously, say things that make it hard, the next morning, to meet eyes.

This was a decade ago, after Orlando Bloom grew elf ears, but before the Pirates movies got so bad. Anyhow, it wasn’t elf-Bloom Delia wanted, with his weirdo bow and creepy side-braid, or swashbuckling Bloom with his mutton chops and creepy half-goatee. No, Delia had a thing for Drew Baylor, the suicidal-but-clean-cut lead in what was—and pretty much remains—Cameron Crowe’s worst film. That was the Orlando she wanted.

And because this was a decade ago, my telling you this means I know how things turned out. As in, I could tell you: Did the marriage make it, yes or no?

But I’m not going to tell you, not yet, because where’s the fun in that?

And also because read, you lazy motherfucker, read.

And so it came to pass that on Christmas Eve, 2005, I robbed the Tucson El Con Cineplex of its freestanding Elizabethtown promotional cardboard cutout. Not the whole thing, just Bloom. Or, not Bloom. Mostly just his head. It didn’t tear cleanly, so I took some torso with me, his collar and the black knot of his tie, but you get the picture.

In my defense, I’d offered to buy the cutout before I stole it.

I’d asked around the week before. Turned out, theater employees had dibs on promotional materials: banners, posters, cutouts and the like. Such perks made a certain kind of sense. How else to lure potential employees? How else to woo teenagers toward the indignity of sweeping popcorn kernels picked from teeth and flicked upon the floor?

In half an hour, I’d found the employee to whom Orlando Bloom would soon belong. She was older, forty, maybe fifty, with stringy hair and bright eyes. She was pretty, but in a sad way, in a way that said—that seemed to say—if only she’d gotten her big break, she’d have made it to the silver screen herself, but, instead, here she stood, tearing tickets at a medium-sized theater in a medium-sized city in the middle of a fucking desert.

Life’s like that, sometimes, unrelenting and unfair, or just indifferent—indifferent worst and maybe most of all.

“I’ll give you fifty bucks,” I said, but that only seemed to insult her. The woman with the stringy hair frowned. People crowded through and she tore their tickets, pointed left or right.

Her nametag read Laura.

“Laura,” I said, “are you married?” This was the wrong question to ask. Her hand moved to her side, and I wondered whether I was about to be maced.

“What I mean,” I said, “is that if you’re married, or if you’ve been married, maybe you’d understand. My wife, see—”

But that’s as far as I got before Laura said, “Get the fuck out.” Her bright eyes turned glassy, and, from her belt, she pulled not a can of mace but one of those big, wartime-looking walkie-talkies. I left before security was called.

A week later, I was back at the El Con. My plan hinged on the hope that Christmas Eve meant crowds, and this proved true. I bought a ticket to get in, then filed through the herds to a hallway where cardboard Orlando Bloom and cardboard Kirsten Dunst shared pained expressions on a burgundy cardboard couch. In her hand, Dunst cradled a glass of wine. In his lap, Bloom cradled a purple urn.

I could do this. There were people everywhere, hustling and bustling, people hurrying to catch previews or beat the crowds home. People balanced hotdogs atop popcorn tubs atop sweaty, red-striped soda cups. No one would see me. No one was even paying attention to me. I’d cough to cover up the tearing sound. Easy.

I approached. I coughed. I ripped. An usher saw.

He yelled. I ran…