Cathode Ray was what they called him down the pub. Sometimes Telly Savales. They said he used to run a TV repair shop, but had never got the hang of flatscreens. Eventually he’d had to shut up shop, and was left with just a home full of old glass-screened boxes. A house of shiny, curved windows to nowhere. He also had a decent sized collection of VCRs and VHS video cameras. The hoard of obsolete tech had actually grown in the years since he’d gone out of business; once word got around, people had just started giving him their old and unwanted TVs and video players and camcorders. No one really knew or cared what he did with them.
Over the years he became less and less of a fixture in town, eventually people stopped seeing him altogether. One day the old lady who lived next door realised she hadn’t seen him leave the house in a week, and went to knock. There was no answer, but she could hear sounds from inside, muffled talking, glasses clinking, other indecipherable noises. It sounded almost like a really quiet party.
It was a few months after that they finally kicked the door down. No one had seen him at all since the day his neighbour had knocked, and none of his bills had been paid other than his electricity, paid by direct debit from a savings account. The sounds of life from within hadn’t stopped though.
The walls inside were lined with TVs of various sizes, stacked like the blocks in a castle wall. Every room and hallway was made significantly smaller by the massive boxes. Every one of them was hooked up to a VCR, each rigged to play a video through to the end, rewind, and start again.
The videos were all home made. It seemed he’d been putting the camcorders to good use, and had built a large collection of home movies, many of them apparently filmed in secret. The videos in the hallways were mostly filmed in the street – passing cars, people waiting at bus stops, browsing the goods at the local market. The ones in the kitchen were from a cafe in town he liked.
The living room was all footage from the pub. He was sat on the sofa in the middle of the room, having long passed away peacefully, surrounded by the video ghosts of his friends, laughing and drinking and cracking jokes.