I am so happy to see you again, you smell great today by the way.
Last week I opened up the canopic jar that contains the mysteries of Meisenology, just enough to peak a view at the old, musty, degrading insights inside. So pull back the lid a little more and take a handful of the gooey goodness that is mine to share with all of you: the real reason I am here.
Not Too Long Ago…
Quickly thumbing through a stack of aging cards, so quickly to the outside perspective its as though I am not really paying attention at all. Yet, as each card leaves one thumb and slides comfortably between the other and a urgently rising stack I take note of the feel of the smooth, well worn cardboard. The fantastical themed print, vibrant graphics – even through years of exposure – and vivid colors are classified, slipped into a category and archived in my ever working mind, the thousands I have I know on a deeply personal level. Nope nope nope nope I wordlessly mouth, the seemingly endless iterations continue as my journey for the exact card, a tingle of worry creeps across my mind: What if I don’t have a Phantom Nantuko card, or worse… only one?
A sound disrupts my process, I look up from the cards and immediately I’m back into the drudgery that is reality. Wearing a fading, uncomfortable poly-blend polo shirt embroidered with a small theater logo, I look towards the elevator and the two opposing staircases from which the source of the noise will eventually appear. Taking a deep breath I stand up straight from a painfully awkward stool, take account of my immediate surroundings and put on my familiar, second skin: the cheerleader smile… You know the one, that kind of shit eating grin that tells the other person: I am only really being nice to you because if I don’t some idiot that barely graduated from high school will enforce his exacting and laughable justice upon me in the form of some menial task or lessened hours.
The source of the noise, a couple of oddly dressed, obviously immature minors walk up to the box office, where I stand, grinning stupidly.
Hello! How are you today?
The kids look at each other, look at me, look at the ground, look at the marquee then finally one takes the last fateful step forward, awkwardly trying to look calm and collected..
Yo yo hey man, what’s up. Two tickets for the 345 showing.
Like the cards that slipped from one stack to another in my hands just moments before, these kids had played right into my hand, yet without cavalier and with obvious lack of intellect beyond that of my own.
Oh yes, the R rated film, I will need to see two photo I.D cards with a birthday on it in order to sell you two tickets.
One boys audible curses, the other turns red. They turn to each other, mutter a few more disturbingly creative vulgarities and run off back down the stairs. In triumph I rest back upon the stool, replacing the smile with a genuine smirk…. kids… A few moments later the sounds of foot steps boomed furiously up a stair case. The kids had returned, this time with reinforcements, a parent. The larger humanoid took the point, the kids flanking his left and right. Credit card extended, photo ID right beside it he spoke quickly and in a tone of burning annoyance.
Two for the film.
I gulp in a breath and muster as much of a professional stance as possible:
Sir, for a rated R films minors must be accompanied throughout the entirety of the show by a parent age 18 or older
The adult let out a purposefully audible grunt, I swear steam was pouring from his nostrils, my imagination running wild with the undeniably enraged bull like mannerisms, I… the matador… square my shoulders and raise my red flag. Go ahead… make my day…. The adult gets it, he knows he is at an impasse, the steam subsides and he requests a third ticket in addition. Triumphantly I swipe the credit card, hand out the tickets and tell them to enjoy the film.
Some time later I would once again be standing, the robotic smile spread wide across my face as customers poured out of the amphitheater. I waved at regulars, pumped my chest out when the pretty girls walked closer, checked out the attractive people and judged the ugly ones. When a familiar sight caught my eye, the two young kids, wearing odd clothing assortments, the minors who got their dad to buy tickets to a shitty R rated film. They grinned widely as they walked by, one of them glaring laser beams at me as he did so. That’s when it hit me…
The dad was gone, no where within sight. They had played me like a fool, the power I thought I had, the feebleness to which I clung was laid bare by two intermediate school age punks had played the game better than I. Pathetically I looked away, grimaced and said a barely audible curse.
It was a constant reminder, I was nothing, just another cog in the machine of life. Though yes the kids where pricks, and what kind of adult buys a movie ticket then ditches? Sure, but that’s neither here nor there, the bigger picture was setting in… I would be walked around my entire life. well fuck…
I know I know, this is nothing new, a tale told the world over, but wait there’s more! Next time on Meisenology:
We step into day one, the beginning of all that would become the thorn in my side.