I was working my normal Saturday night shift at the movie theatre and was in the box office selling tickets. From box office, you can see up to the bar that overlooks the mall area and the escalators that lead outside. I nudged my co-worker and nodded towards the bar at the man in the white suit and large, straw hat.
“I like his hat.” I smirked.
“He looks straight out of Gatsby.” He said.
We laughed and didn’t pay him any more attention.
About ten minutes later, the man comes up the guest services line and starts asking weird questions about a movie with letters in it. Since we aren’t showing anything even remotely close to “letters” in the name, I had no idea what he was talking about or asking.
I offer some suggestions of movies he might be talking about.
“Well it’s got a guy and a girl,” he bellows, plowing over me with his words. “They’re going steady, and then uh, the girl gets a letter and has to leave. She won’t explain, just leaves. And then after a while she comes back and they start over again. They start to make plans for marriage and then she gets another letter and has to leave again. But she won’t give a reply.” He goes on for a while. “Ya know, I’ve fallen asleep in those chairs in there. But this is the fourth time I’ve come back to see this movie.” He keeps leaning closer to me and his breath reeks of alcohol.
At this point, my (undeniably hot) manager squeezes past him to the computer, so he is awkwardly in between me and this man. Thank goodness. My manager shares a look with me.
But the man still continues, undeterred by my manager slightly between us. “Where was I at…?” He has lost his train of thought and I think I might be spared from him recounting the entire movie to me. “Letters,” he says, remembering. “So she leaves again without telling him anything, but she eventually comes back.”
“Now this happens sixteen times. Sixteen. You believe that? And in those times she goes steady with another guy but she eventually comes back to the original guy and they hit it off again. Anyhow, I don’t want to spoil the movie for you,” he says.
Could’ve fooled me.
“It’s just really rare for a movie to challenge you. This is the third time I’ve seen it and I’ll be back again tomorrow. It just really makes you think and you have to see it more than once. It’s one of those movies. It’s for smart people.”
“Good movies make you think.” I say.
“Well, you gotta see it.” He looks up at the bar and says, “You know I had to show my ID at the bar?” He is appalled.
“Yes, sir,” I reply. “We have to ID all guests regardless of their age.”
“I am thirty-five and had to show my ID.” He’s obviously not thirty-five; try fifty. “How old are you? Eighteen?”
My manager has finished whatever he was doing on the computer and walks away, but still close enough that he can see us. “Nineteen,” I reply warily.
“Nineteen, yeah that’s about right. You can’t drink, can you?”
I try not to laugh. “No, I can’t drink.”
“Well lemme give you some advice,” he is leaning closer again and the stench of his breath is too strong to ignore. “Don’t. Also, don’t drink and get behind the wheel.”
“No, I won’t do that.” I say.
“You go to school?” He asks.
“Yes, UMKC.” I say, though instantly realize I probably shouldn’t have told him that.
“So you’re a jayhawk?” He asks.
“No, that’s KU.”
“What are you then?”
“We’re the kangaroos.”
I don’t know what he means. “Just the kangaroos.”
“Is that football?”
“Well, it’s just everything… it’s our mascot.”
“Well what’s big there?”
“We don’t have football at our school. Soccer is our big sport.”
“I used to play golf,” he says proudly, his eyebrows raised.
“Really?” I say drily.
“Yeah, you don’t believe me?”
“I believe you, sir.”
“I have an honest face. Do I?”
That’s a bit of a weird statement and I’m slowly inching away, hoping he takes the hint to leave. Or if we would just get a line so I could excuse myself to actually do my job. “Yeah, you do.”
“I can’t tell a lie, honestly.”
“That’s probably a good thing.”
“Yeah, I suppose so. Honesty and all that.”
There’s a lull in the conversation and I think that he might say goodnight and leave me be. But he starts up again.
“What are you studying?”
I sigh, but answer the question. “Business finance.”
“Oh really? Like accounting?”
At that moment, my
beautiful manager steps in front of me and loudly asks if I will go clean a theater. I could have kissed him (though I have a boyfriend and I guess that would be unprofessional for work). I go through the back door and up the steps but over the walkie he tells me to stay where I’m at.
“Rebecca, you can hide out there until he leaves. I just wanted you to get away from him.”
I can see him from behind box office and I nervously laugh. “Thanks so much!”
After a few minutes, he lets me know that the man has left. When I get back inside box he approaches me with a stupid grin and says, “Did you get his number?”