Dear Jeepers Creepers II,

I see that a thin layer of dust is gathering on you. And that the blue on your blue-and-white protective case is turning greenish from the ceiling lights. Your laminated cover is curling up. No, Jeepers Creepers II, life just isn’t the fun-bag of buttered popcorn and dramatic tension it once was, back when you were the fifth-highest rental at the store that week last June.

Now, I admire your quiet way and stoic demeanor, I do. But don’t think I haven’t seen the way you just sit there, blankly facing that window across the room. I recognize the symbolism in that. You feel suffocated, and restless. Truth is, your every manner reeks of metaphor, Jeepers Creepers II. And I can interpret you, just like I could all the others. It’s a gift I have. Listen up, Jeepers Creepers II, and I’ll share it with you.

At night you dream of flying out that window and away, and letting your tape flop out all loose and free. And, for a moment, you recapture the prelapsarian radiance of your youth. Back when you didn’t go fuzzy and lose sound. When nobody knew how you ended.
That’s why you stare at the window. Subconsciously, you associate the outdoors with freedom and renewal and hope.
You are probably frustrated that I refuse to open the blinds. I can understand that.

I understand other things as well. Like how you feel your potential is being wasted. Your present circumstances preclude the circulation you desire. And that’s what you want most, to share your gifts:

Your brooding suspense and artistic footage of human entrails. Your rap-metal soundtrack. The unique way you develop your characters when they cry and compare their anxiety levels between massacres. These are the things that make you you.

You always felt privileged and important on display back at the store, with the Christian Science Monitor guy’s glowing review in big font on your box. “Jeepers Creepers II is … a movie … that to … view … yes …!” But now—look at you, Jeepers Creepers II! You’ve started to question even your most fundamental spiritual convictions. And wondering, “Is this all there is?” And not even caring anymore that I never rewound you.

I could help you, you know. I could dust you off, and fix your cover with some Scotch tape. Or I could even rewind you and watch you again. I promise I would, if only I could bear it. But I see the way you just sit there, so silent and forlorn, when I say that. What you really want is to reclaim your modest little space on the back aisle. And the chance to be with new people.

But I apologize, Jeepers Creepers II. With that I cannot help you. I know it seems like I could, but I can’t. See, the truth is that you are harder to return than Pete Sampras’s forehands were in 1997. Don’t give me that look, Jeepers Creepers II. It’s not like I haven’t tried. I always do. But just like every monster flick since Jaws, the story never really changes. Only the characters do. I’ll rehearse this one for you:

I watch you on a Friday and promise I’ll take you back tomorrow. Just wait right here on top of the TV, I say, I’ll drop you off on the way to work. But when I see you the next morning, I pause and really imagine a life without you.

I’ll remember scenes worth re-watching. Like when I could see the heroine’s underpants when she stood up, or when the cameraman’s reflection flickered in a window. And even though I know perfectly well I’ll never actually watch you again, I leave without you. And the days rush by like we pressed stop, then fast-forward. You become overdue.

I reason with you. I’m already paying for another five days, I say, so I might as well get my money’s worth. When the video store calls about your unsolved disappearance, I swear that I returned you, that it was their mistake. And there you sit, ad infinitum.
It’s not like you’ve nothing worth living for, Jeepers Creepers II. You’ve still got your memories. And your health, mostly. And the others, in that shoebox by the couch, they can’t wait to meet you. You shouldn’t take for granted the things you do have, my friend. So stop this pouting. Because most of all, Jeepers Creepers II, you’ve got me.

Tim Coffield
Raleigh, NC