< they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man

Daddy says it’s Dick Nixon on TV and it looks like he’s got something to say, helming the occult knobs and antennae of the device which seems some-say alive, scrutinizing the whites of the eyes of the President, the man himself, who emerges from the staticy mist into the very heart of the best damn screen money can buy, and whose eyes are, on the massive, curved piece of shiny glass, like the real eyes themselves all while the president sweats a hard and July sweat and starts saying something that Daddy simply cannot believe, he says this, he says he cannot believe, says it cannot be believed, yet is also so simple that even little Johnny Jr., his son and for whom he is his namesake, who’s wandered in in his powder-blue shorts and carrying his toy Apollo capsule and everything cannot help but grasp the terrible thing that has occurred not just for those American souls way out there in a place so very far way, but also for Americans as a whole, as a nation, as a people who think of things beyond themselves and which were previously beyond the reach of any man and had until so very recently seemed theirs-for-the-taking, at this moment, of course, all this silence, seemingly somehow over and not beneath the soft throatal click of Dick himself, calling, as all silence does the Mother, whose face is at first blank, but, in realizing the situation at hand clutches at her chest and its white ruffles between bright banana-yellow lapels to exclaim only the asphyxiant sounds of someone realizing that something truly has happened, occurred, come-to-pass, oh god oh god and that they must all now feel as one, as one Earth, the Mother holding her hand to her chest as if it might explode and suddenly walking upstairs to go and take what she knows will calm and sooth her while Daddy takes one more long look (like a cigarette drag) at Dick and leaves the room to go somewhere for while, maybe the basement or a department store or a park or the local bar it cannot be said because each of them sees something different in the television, which is two-foot by two-foot by three-foot at the north of the room, leaving little Johnny Jr. totally alone to take in the image of incredible veracity and the measured and scripted but not unpoetic words of Dick, whose hairline is massively receded with its foremost hairs wet and thin and shiny black under the massive lights required for the cameras of the day, where when he is done speaking they put up for reasons nobody entirely ever really understood an image directly and in real time from the surface of the place, way up there, and keep it going for weeks, calling in favors from nations around the world, some of whom were initially very opposed to the idea, to allow for uninterrupted transmission of the unimaginably faint and attenuated short-wave radio signals from the surface of the place, way up there, to all the countless television sets of the earth so that humanity could watch for all the time it took for whatever was destined to occur to those men to come-to-pass, the image in question showing just the lander itself, like a great Jell-o-cake of Mylar at once small but also big out there on the sea they had said could never harm, from incredibly far away, the lander remaining closed down and dark and unmoving and sterile, almost as if there were no one home, which of course everyone knew could not be farther from the whole and naked truth, Johnny Jr. in particular clutching his small and identical lead-painted die-cast scale model and surviving off what was left in the house for two weeks, making himself tuna fish sandwiches from the refrigerator until that started going funny and then switching to circus peanuts which he had known the Grandma had hidden, back before her fatal stroke, in the bottom of the ‘junk’ or ‘shit’ cupboard containing also things like butter knives and bottlecaps and menthol cigarettes and uranium-glass ramekins, which tide him over while the ongoing and continuous image beams onto the screen in the wall-papered living room with a big picture window hemorrhaging light onto the slatted floor of the postwar home while his mother is still upstairs and asleep, mouth open, and can never ever come down, and his father is far off too, having realized something, not in a department store or park or local bar or a hooker's eyes, but rather a cross-canal bridge, something which rips a family apart like The Bomb and means you’re never coming home, and that eventually the circus peanuts even go hard like molars, the image showing the lander from perhaps half a football field or more away, and suddenly little Johnny Jr. gets it in his head that from their side, for the men who are at the surface of the place, way up there, and who are quick on their way to going somewhere he cannot say, that what they see is not their lander from half a football field away and in perfect crystal detail (due to the massive web of previously unfriendly nations working ‘around the clock’ to bring the image of the cold and airless lander for weeks and stretching on to almost a month, before certain factors intervened, from up there to down here in a way that is truly heartwarming and a great success, or so everyone says) but rather the tiny and glassy eye of the camera, like a marble, like a beetle, which has inside of it absolutely nothing at all like him or anybody else, the whole thing ending the only way it could with little Johnny Jr. poetically taking his head and putting it straight through the thick TV screen and smelling ozonic smells before being overcome with an unshakably warm sensation of closeness and excelsior that some say is the secret to good television and maybe the Nixon campaign in general.

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