(continued from Fiction Page One)
We ventured toward the theater, the ticket collector chirped at us as we walked by. I instinctively said thanks though it fell on deaf ears.
Inside the theater, the projector was already in action. Reels of advertisements for movies yet to come streamed across the large screen.
“I hate previews,” Gina grumbled, walking the steps up to the middle seats.
“Yeah, it’s too bad I didn’t get any candy, to pass the time.”
She rolled her eyes.
We looked around the theater. It was hard to see in the dim lighting but the seats around us were dotted with clusters of Staceys, and their male counterparts who I’d decided to call Brandons. Brandon was the bloke who Stacey eventually went on to marry. A nice guy but rather dull to talk to.
Gina and I decided to count the number of times a preview started with “coming this fall…” Before long it was time for the movie to begin, and the reminders about fire exits and the like began to flash about the screen.
The last message to appear was in large block lettering accompanied by a series of bells and rings and a forcefully articulate voice.
PLEASE SILENCE ALL PHONES.
Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative, rehabilitative power of writing and provides hundreds of inmates across the country with skilled writing teachers and audiences for their work.
The room erupted into a flurry of cicada-like cacophony. Gina and I clutched at our ears and dropped out of our seats onto our knee, oppressed by the pandemonium. A maddening sea of Staceys and Brandons, whirring about like zombies on a mission, took to the aisles of seats. Their eyes an infuriated blue glow and their mouths agape with a constant chiming.
I saw Harry, a bag of popcorn clutched in one vulture-claw hand, winding in and out of the throng. I yelled to him, pleading. His eyes made no contact with mine. The lights flashed on yet the room kept churning. The projector snapped to a halt mid-opening credits. I saw the ticket salesman beckoning to us from the theater entrance.
“Gina, we have to go.”
And we ran.
We reached the man by the door. “You were supposed to go to theater 4,” he scolded above the din. He shoved us across the hall and we threw open the next door. Inside was a quiet bunch of folks who stared at us as though we’d worn our underpants over our trousers. I checked to make sure I hadn’t.
The previews hadn’t started here; the lights were on; there was no sound. Gina and I ventured to our seats, for lack of an alternative.
A large potbellied man clapped me on the shoulder as we walked by. “You went into theater 3, didn’t you mate.”
“Been in there once myself with my daughter, it’s a war zone until the film starts to roll.”
I nodded again. Gina shivered at the thought. We sat, Gina offered me a stick of gum. The previews started to roll and we resumed our game of “coming this fall…”
After the third preview, I absentmindedly looked down at my ticket. In the mayhem I’d nearly forgotten what movie we were about to see.
It was some spoof horror film called Revenge of the Hipsters.
by Samantha Chasse