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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Page 10--A Corny Story, Cont'd--Allison Burzd

The first thing I saw when we entered the lobby (I haven’t been to a movie out in quite a while) was a sign saying No Outside Food Or Drink. I had completely forgotten about that. You would think I would have thought about this sooner, given my anathema for movie theatre popcorn, but something was always stopping me. Frantically I tried to think of loopholes, but the best I could come up with was that the popcorn was not really “outside” anything, it was inside a bag. And my sweatshirt.
“Aagh!” I said, looking up expecting to be poked in the belly with a movie theatre cop’s pistol.
“Don’t get out much, do you?” Lindsay snickered. “He wants you to pay him for the tickets.”
“Riight. Gift card!” The guy gave me a weird look and handed us two tickets for the next showing of “A Day In The Love.” I try not to argue with Lindsay. Sometimes she scares me. The guy looked familiar, though. Like I might have seen him before, in a hallway, somewhere. Not the library. School. Had to be it. I didn’t say anything. The guy who took our tickets and made no comment about my swollen sweatshirt also had that same déjà vu look.
“Dude, let’s get popcorn.” Lindsay said, shoving me toward the concession stand. “And drinks.”
“I—“ Suddenly I stopped. Could the guy at the register possibly be none other than Nick Anthony, the only thin guy I’ve ever talked to? The guy I was supposed to go to prom with, until he ditched me to go to Wisconsin. OH MY GOD! It was! Aagh!
“Hellooo, Sam, popcorn?” Lindsay had no idea what my problem was. I kept her away from Nick for good reason. How unbelievably awkward this was. I hadn’t talked to him since I went to prom all alone, danced with no one, and ate only three crappy h’oerderves.
“I don’t like popcorn.” I said in a small voice. “But I will have a drink.”
“Don’t ask for any of mine, then. Well God, Sam, don’t you ever get out? Go get your drink!”
“Okay.” I said robotically, and approached the counter while staring upward at the exorbitant prices, attempting to calculate how much I had left on my gift card (5 dollars) and how much the smallest drink was (with tax, more than five dollars), which resulted in me walking awkwardly into the register as Lindsay hooted. My last coherent thought before I was banged in the head by a scanner was, am I really girly and dumb and shallow enough to ask Nick for a discount?
“Oops.” said Nick with a smile as I knocked over his price display. “Hi, Sam.” This oops was a new Nick. Previously he would have just collapsed into high-pitched laughter. I really know how to pick ‘em.
“Um, hi, I’ll have a small Coke.” I said, figuring I could hit Lindsay up for the difference.
“Sure, comin’ right up.” he said, with the sound of confidence in his voice. I completely did not want to say anything to him, so I sort of stared at one of the other guys who was…ugh…pumping fake butter on a bucket of movie theatre popcorn. Probably Lindsay’s. My stomach began to feel as if it were sliding out of my sweatshirt, slippery from all the oil….
No, that was just my bag of organic popcorn, falling to the ground with a soft crunch. I must have jarred it loose when I walked into the register. I have never seen Lindsay speechless in her life, but she paused, a handful of lard-encrusted yellow corn dung halfway to her mouth.
“I thought you didn’t like popcorn?” She said after a minute.
I sort of shrugged and bent over to pick the bag up. When I straightened, I saw all the aproned teenage attendants had stopped putting cheese on nachos, Coke in cups, and butter on popcorn to stare at me.
“Um,” one of them said. “You know you’re not supposed to have that.”
I can get very sarcastic when the mood takes me, and especially when confronted with statements worthy of Captain Obvious. “Um,” I replied, “why do you think I was hiding it my sweatshirt?”
“You know we’re going to have to take that.” he said, completely missing my own Captain Obvious rejoinder.
“The popcorn or my sweatshirt?” I said, figuring if he couldn’t get my sarcasm, he might need a clarification as well as me.
“The popcorn.”
“Oh.” I looked around. Life in the concession stand (if it was intelligent to begin with) had resumed during our brief exchange. Nick was coming over with my Coke. Now was the time to be girly, dumb and shallow. “Nick? Can’t I keep my popcorn?”
“Nope.” He said, setting the Coke on the counter and pushing a button on his register. Now I felt like an idiot. I had just sacrificed my status as an independent female for a lousy bag of organic popcorn and it failed. Meekly I placed the bag on the counter and resolved to quit the area as quickly as possible without spilling my Coke, which Lindsay had to pay part of.
“But, you can have a free Coke.”
“Oh,” I said, wondering about the sudden turn of events, “really?”
“And a free popcorn if you want.”
“Um, no thanks, Nick, I don’t like movie theatre popcorn. As you can tell.” I said with an insecure laugh. He picked up my Coke in his surprisingly large hands and bent over. “You know what?” He said as he held out the cup. “Neither do I.”
“Aagh.” I said for at least the fifth time that day. “Thanks.”
“No problem. It’s the least I can do. Enjoy the show.”
I smiled, waved at him with my Coke-free hand, and walked off to rejoin Lindsay who stood safely against an unoccupied Resident Evil VIII game with her mouth still handing wide open. I discerned…yuk, little yellow popcorn specks on the field of her tongue.
“He totally likes you.” she said, suddenly regaining her composure and cocksure attitude.
“No, he doesn’t, Linds.” I said. “Now shut up and enjoy the show.”

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