top of page

Critical Mass

        When I go to the movies it's a religious experience.  The theater is my cathedral, the ushers are my acolytes and the films themselves, my prayers answered.  So you can appreciate why I reacted the way I did when my holy mass was so rudely disrupted. 

        I was all geared up to witness a romantic comedy.  It started well, but then the picture cut out and the lights came up.  Patience may be a virtue, but if I was a saint I wouldn't need to see ten movies a week for solace.  I twisted around in my chair and glared hard in the direction of the projection booth as if that would get the problem fixed sooner.  I noticed a guy in the center section (I sit on the side so that people don't try to step over me getting to their seats) who seemed even more uncomfortable than I.  No wonder--he had on a long coat and the air conditioning wasn't nearly effective enough for it.  The crowd started getting a little antsy, but it wasn't until the manager walked down the aisle that things really got hot. 

        This guy in the coat jumps up and starts shouting something I couldn't hear towards the back of the theater and waving a shotgun around.  People weren't taking him seriously until he fired a shot into the high ceiling.  Finally I could hear what he was shouting: "Watches, Jewelry and Wallets."  He was nervous and sweaty and started grabbing valuables from the middle class patrons and stuffing them into a garbage bag. 

        He was walking down the aisle taking donations like someone collecting for charity when he finally came to me.  Now it just so happens that I have a job that pays me well and I have been known to carry as much as two hundred dollars in my pocket at any given time.  I don't carry a wallet, I just keep loose cash in my pockets so that I don't have to keep going to the bank machine. 

        "Watch and wallet" he says to me.  It's the middle of summer, I have on a short sleeve shirt making it obvious I have no watch and also that this guy is no brain trust.  I reach into my pocket and pull out a crumpled up wad of twenty dollars bills.  His eyes popped.  Who would have thought all that money could come from someone like me?  He was obviously very surprised, or maybe he  thought I was stupid for revealing how much I had  since he would've been content with change from the movie ticket. 

        Well, there was something about his insincere and sloppy portrayal of a bandit that I didn't like and so I ducked under the gun, grabbed the barrel, rammed the whole wad of cash right into his stupid gaping mouth, and kneed him in the groin for good measure, just like they do in the movies.  The cops picked up his projection booth confederate after a minor hostage stand off which ended with the projectionist, appropriately enough, kneeing him in the groin. 

        I received a great big cheer from the audience, free movie passes for a month from the management and a royal pain in the ass hassle from every news reporter for twelve thousand miles.  I had my fifteen minutes, but what really bothered me was that they never showed the rest of that damn movie.

G. Bennett Ulrich       


bottom of page