Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Afternoon at the Movies

I don’t go to a lot of movies because the price to get in to see Michael Bay’s latest orgy of CGI and tin-eared dialog is usually more than the GNP of Paraguay. But last week I found out just how bad things had gotten at my local theater. My brother and I both wanted to see Cowboys and Aliens and I had a $25 gift card. We planned to go at a matinee time slot so I figured my card would get us both into the movie and get us something from the snack bar. I can hear you laughing.

I ordered our tickets and handed over my gift card. The girl behind the glass looked at it, chuckled and yelled to the girl next to her, “Hey Charlene, these guys think this gift card will get them into the movie.” Charlene replied, “Aww, that’s cute.” I felt something poke me in the back and when I turned there was a mountain standing behind me.

“This is Salvatore,” the girl behind the glass said. “He’ll take you to the Regal Cinemas Financing Room. Thank you and enjoy the movie.” Mt. Kilimanjaro led my brother and me into a small room that contained a desk and another swarthy gentleman with the name tag “Vincent”. Vincent dropped a brick of money onto the desk.

“Dis is da getting’ in money for da movie. Youse will pays it back in 24 hours plus da juice.”

“Juice?” I asked.

“17 percent. Five o’clock tomorra.”

I was still a little hazy on “juice” but before I could ask again, Salvatore picked us up like dolls and carried us to the snack bar. He dropped us and then returned to the theater entrance where three Sherpa’s we were waiting to lead an expedition up his south face to set up base camp at his knees.

Tentatively I approached the girl behind the counter. “I have $12, what can I get for that?” I asked. “Here you go,” she replied cheerfully while handing me a straw. I looked over at my brother who, for his money, had received a palm full of melted butter.

“If you want something to go with that,” the girl continued, “here is the Regal Cinemas Snack Bar Bartering List.” I took the paper and we read:

What You Want to Order // What you Have to Give

1 small soda and small popcorn – sperm
1 medium soda and medium popcorn – plasma
1 large soda and large popcorn – bone marrow
1 large soda and large popcorn with assorted candy – kidney

We were hooked up by a very nice nurse named Peggy and gave our pint of blood for which we received our medium soda and popcorn. As we left the Regal Cinemas Infirmary a man was being prepped for kidney removal. He looked at us and said, “I just can’t enjoy a movie without my Jujubes.” The on-call surgeon looked a lot like the guy I had seen sweeping up popcorn and rat feces from the lobby floor.

The movie was good, we both enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll be going back to the cinema for a while. I’m still feeling kind of lightheaded.

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