By Robin Garrison Leach
I’m friendly in the ticket line. I weave through the cattle guards with a docile gait and a generic smile on my face. We’re all God’s children, after all. And we all just want to see a movie.
I watch clumps of humanity with similar facial features belly up to the window and mumble self-consciously into the round speaker hole in the window: “Four for Mary Poppins Returns”. “Six for…” blahblahblah. Family time. Ahh.
Couples fidget and jitter along the line as if propelled by static electricity. Giggle. Whisper. They choose a movie in mumbled agreement and amble away, Velcro-ed together and gooey-happy.
Our turn. I get two tickets to our chosen movie. I smile. The boy inside the lobby takes our tickets and rips them apart and we’re in.
Another line ribbons ahead at the concession stand. Kings’ ransoms are relinquished in exchange for puny cups and cardboard tubs. I wait my turn, order my stuff and elbow my way through the throng and toward my movie.
The room isn’t dark yet; we’re early. I survey the space, point to a spot about halfway up, and we start climbing. We sit, leaving an empty space between us. We’re clever. Now we’ll have room to spread out.
I slide my Diet Coke into the cup holder on the seat’s arm, plop down…and the transformation begins.
I can feel it happening, but I am powerless to control it. Movie seats trigger a change in my brain waves. I am no longer part of the Family of Man. Hostility seeps from my pores like skunk fumes.
The sweet old woman who smiled her way through the lobby has become a seething misanthrope in the dim shadows of theater seating.
I lean back, extend my arms like Stretch Armstrong, and stake my claim to this area, daring any fool to sit within 10 seats of me—in any direction.
My face contorts and darkens; an alien hides within my chest, waiting to burst out in bloody vigor, strangling anybody who nears my row.
I mutter disgustedly as each body lumbers into the theater. “Look at him,” I hiss to my daughter/familiar. “I just KNOW he’s gonna come up here.” I train my evil thoughts his direction, willing him to stop climbing.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.