“Test Pattern,” Circa 1950….short fiction

“Test Pattern,” Circa 1950….short fiction

Test Pattern, Circa 1950

Circa 1950. The old man and Cat have looked after one another for years in their dingy, run-down flat, for as long as Cat could remember.They shared a simple but comfortable life. At least Cat thought so, though sometimes she wasn’t so sure about the old man. Every evening, just as dusk was falling over their building, she heard the old man rattling around in the kitchen. A gruff but somewhat tender “Cat” would announce that dinner was served. The old man sat at the well-worn kitchen table and Cat dined with her bowl on the newspaper on the floor next to the icebox. Once in a while, the old man allowed Cat to jump up on the table where she was invited to finish his meager dinner.

After the kitchen was cleaned up, which didn’t take long, they would retire to the living room. The old man turned on the lamp and the black and white TV with the snowy picture and settled into his ratty old red chair with a sigh, sounding of exhaustion. Cat would pace around his feet for a moment and then, after an inviting pat-of-hand-on-knee, she would jump into his ample lap. With Cat contentedly purring, they watched the evening news with Edward R. Murrow or sometimes Walter Cronkite. If it happened to be Sunday, they watched the Ed Sullivan Show. Otherwise, it could be Milton Berle or Groucho Marx or Jack Benny. By the time the last show of the evening was ending, the station went off the air, and only the test pattern illuminated the screen, the old man’s eyes were getting heavy. They would sit together for some time, the old man quietly snoring and Cat loudly purring. Finally, in the fog of sleep, the old man poured Cat onto the floor, rose and shuffled to bed, usually forgetting to turn off the lamp and TV. Cat would stretch, as cats do, and jump back up into the old ratty red chair, settling into the warmth the old man left.

And that is how it was for Cat and the old man, circa 1950.

“Test Pattern” is a photomontage, a composite, of several images to make one. An image of a place that does not exist in reality. Only in my mind’s eye. The process consists of layering the various parts in the proper sequence that make up the whole. This is done in the software program, Photoshop. Once layered, the various images are blended together with subtle textures and lighting effects to unify the scene. As I was working on the image Cat and the old man’s story came to “life” in my mind. To create a visual and written image simultaneously was something I enjoyed very much. Serendipity came calling. 


Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. So sweet. Such a soft gentle story. You captured the mood so well, in both words and image that I fell right into your story.

  2. Thanks, Alison. While creating the image, the story started to form in my mind until both moved forward as one. Very unusual for me.

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