Midsommar from the Next Room

(spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen Midsommar and don’t want to find out how dolphin sex sounds in Sweden can freak you out from 23 feet away, stop reading and go eat a chocolate bar)

On Sunday I awake with some joy. It’s a rainy morning, which I like if I don’t have to go outside. Next to me, the dog is lying on her back and looking at me from upside down, sort of resembling a baby seal. Burke is brewing coffee, and the machine percolates and clicks in the kitchen. Joy. But then I remember it was Sunday.

Despite the facts that I’m not obligated to wear pants, Sunday is among my least favorite days of the week (I’m looking at you, Tuesday). Ever since I was a kid, I have always seen Sunday as the anti-Friday. If Friday is the day before the blissful free period of the weekend, then Sunday is the day before the stressful days of the work week. It’s a day when I have to sit at my kitchen table and trudge through edits, lesson preparation, and emails. Basically, it’s a return to reality. And there’s nothing I dislike more than returning to reality.

After a breakfast of leftover KFC (not quite back to reality yet), I sit at my kitchen table and I put in my earphones. I edit and work and listen to Folksy Christmas (yes, I’m that guy, but it’s also a good album and who doesn’t need a little acoustic Santa Baby in their lives?). I am deeply entrenched in an editing issue, so when I realize that my earphones have lost power it’s too late. No, I am hearing something else.

Burke has an entirely different view on Sundays than I do. It seems that she’s one of the psychopaths who can live in the here and now and takes a leisurely approach to her Sundays. As if it’s still part of the weekend. Insane. At around the same time I walked into the kitchen with my laptop and a soul crushing sigh, she was setting up camp on the couch and flipping through her Netflix options with a life affirming moan. What I am hearing now is a series of high-pitched moans not unlike the way we all imagine dolphins to sound during intercourse (yes, all of us, I’m not weird).  

I mosey into the living room.

“What’s this?”


“What’s it about?”

“These anthropologists go up to some commune in Sweden somewhere. Weird stuff happens. They do hallucinogenics. Then they do these weird sex rites. I think they kill the guys.”

I look at the TV and a naked man is about to mount a naked woman. They are surrounded by many naked women. It’s the women surrounding them that are producing the aforementioned dolphin sex sounds.

“Well that guy looks pretty happy,” I say.

“Don’t be fooled. Things don’t end well for the men in this place.”


It’s then that I notice that the dog and the cat are sitting on the couch – together. As the dog has taken it upon herself to become the cat’s best friend and primary torture engineer, the cat is often in a state of vocal agita about the dog’s presence. But once in a while, they put aside their differences in order to share the flat’s best blanket. It’s cute when they do this. It’s also rare. We take pictures. It should be mentioned that they are not on the blanket today. They are just on the couch together and they are watching the TV. They are watching Midsommar.

“Aww, isn’t that…cute?”

They look at me in (I swear) unison. I back out of the room and into the kitchen, where I begin eyeing up dull weaponry like the meat tenderizer and the rolling pin. I get back to work.  

The dolphin sounds not only don’t stop, they accumulate and they grow in pitch, volume, and intensity. I get a little worried.

I have heard say of people being terribly swayed by the messages brought forth in movies. I have friends who think The Matrix is the truth and that we are all in fact atrophied adult fetuses somewhere in a big Borg-like ship attached to ventilators. Worse still, after an hour of whiskey they can begin to make convincing arguments. I couldn’t look at a TV for three months after seeing The Ring because I was convinced that a dead girl was going to climb out of it and scare me to death. I don’t know what The Ring’s central message is, but I’m guessing dead girl climbing out of your TV is a big part of it. If Midsommar’s message is “things don’t end well for men” well then I might have a problem. It occurs to me that I am the only male in the flat. The dog, the cat, Burke – all girls. I reach out and touch my meat tenderizer.

The dolphin sounds get weirder. A man’s screams join them.

“Damn Swedish.”

I wander back in. In his attempts to escape the women who are trying to do something awful to him, the man so recently having sex has stumbled upon another man who has been executed by blood eagle. This means his ribs have been severed from the spine and his lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of “wings”. I think the lungs are put on the shoulders. The main character is paralyzed and stitched into a disembowelled brown bear. He is then burned to death while the women stand around him and mimic his screams. When I look away from the TV and look into the living room, all three ladies in my flat are looking at me. I begin to put forth an edict on how I contribute to their lifestyle with a good salary, but as do so as I back out of the room and back towards my meat tenderizer.

The dolphin sex sounds are growing from the living room. I huddle in the corner with my meat tenderizer. I don’t want to go into the bear suit. I have a good job. The dolphin sex sounds grow!

Anyway, Sundays suck.

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