In the summer of 1987, I flew to Texas to visit with my dad. I was married to the Marine at the time, but he had been to deployed to Okinawa (I did get to go visit him there; it was very cool). I was lonely a lot, though, and needed a change of scenery, so my dad sent me a ticket.
My dad lives in the Dallas area, which is an awesome place to visit. Great restaurants, fun things to do and see, and real cowboys (not the football team)! I hadn’t been there since my brother and I went down in 1982 when I was sixteen. And there’s no better place on Earth to get a medium-rare steak.
Our first stop was lunch at The Magic Time Machine; a theme restaurant where the servers dressed up like characters from movies and TV, or even real people like John Wayne or Elvis. The salad bar was a fire truck! I may have been 21, but I wasn’t too old (nor will I ever be) for The Magic Time Machine.
On to Dave & Busters for some beer and video games for a couple hours, then we were ready to rent a movie. I had already seen The Fly, but my dad hadn’t so we picked that up. Having seen it before, I was ready for the grossness, but Dad wasn’t. And his stomach doesn’t handle disgusting things so well. Heh.
We ordered pizza for dinner and had more beer. I knew that combination would be sloshing around his stomach throughout the movie. The beginning of the movie is fine; Veronica, a journalist, meets Seth Brundle, a brilliant but eccentric scientist, who shows her his invention, a teleporter. She decides to report on this extraordinary invention, and they also fall in love.
First he sends inanimate objects from one pod to the next; the success of these experiments leads him to try a monkey, with horrific results. This little scene was my dad’s first taste of the horrors to come. The monkey turns inside out, still alive, and it’s showed in loving detail. Dad was so grossed out.
Seth decides Veronica is messing around with her old boyfriend (she isn‘t), who happens to be her editor, so he gets drunk and decides to teleport himself. However, he doesn’t realize that a fly gets into the machine with him, and this is where his life goes to crap.
He doesn’t outwardly change right away, but Veronica gets clues from his behavior, then finds weird hairs growing out of his back. She has them analyzed – insect hairs.
My dad is doing OK at this point; it’s pretty tame – until the outward changes start occurring. At various times, Seth Brundle is losing teeth, peeling off his fingernails, and breaking some tough guy’s arm with his sudden strength. Veronica wants no part of this lunacy, and she backs off. But when Seth calls her for help, she can’t resist.
Dad is full of Coors and Domino’s, and it’s coming back to haunt him now. I’m sitting where he can’t quite see me without looking directly at me, so I get to covertly hide my eyes when I know gross parts are coming. I don’t give Dad that courtesy.
Now, one thing that gets my dad really bad is when people throw up. Or when dogs or cats throw up. Vomiting from anything, man or animal, gets him feeling pukey himself.
So when Seth suddenly spews white goo without warning, I really thought Dad was going to lose it. He completely freaked. I laughed so hard I thought beer would come out my nose. It was great.
I guess I could’ve been a better daughter and told him there was more vomiting in the movie. But that would’ve spoiled my fun! I also could’ve told him about body parts decaying and dropping off the Brundlefly, or the maggot birth scene, but I didn’t.
By the time the movie finally ended, my dad was a shell of himself. Shaky, worn-out and grossed-out. He was also a little pissed off, but more amused at the situation than anything. And I think he’s forgiven me by now; I mean, it’s been over 20 years since that night. But it’s fun to get his reaction when I remind him of the movie; I don’t think he’s seen it again. When I do mention it, he gets a great look of horror on his face – I love it.
Hopefully he’ll be heading up to Maryland sometime this year, and I think I know what movie to put in the DVD player after we order up some Domino’s and drink some Coors Light…