Projectionist

From her vantage point, Rebecca can see everyone. The reflected light illuminates enough that she can see their shapes and gestures. The couple directly beneath her think they’re in complete privacy, but she knows where their hands are.

The girl hates her parents, and is consenting to this boy’s affections not because she likes him, but because being with him is an excuse to stay out of the house. The boy isn’t as aggressive as he’s pretending to be, but something in one of these movies told him he’s supposed to push boundaries whenever possible. Neither of them feel safe in the other’s presence, though they are momentarily comforted by the other’s embrace, smothering and protective.

A few patrons are actually watching the movie, some po-mo sci-fi rom-com about love and robots and narrative dissonance. An older couple is using the two hours of movie time to delay their inevitable divorce by two more hours. They don’t dislike each other yet, but they feel no affection anymore and they’ve already had every conversation they could possibly have.

Her phone rings.

“I told you not to call me when I’m at work.”

“I’m sorry, baby, I just wanted to make sure we were still on for tonight.”

“Just text me.”

A few scattered souls have come alone. They distribute themselves entropically, though they came to the theater to participate in film as an event, to feel a part of something larger. Every one of them wishes they had someone close to them, but they separate themselves into makeshift booths and silently judge the couples around them.

If they only knew how pathetic they looked from up here. Rebecca starts the second reel and reaches for another fistful of popcorn.

#dramatic-irony, #microfiction, #movies, #relationships, #smug, #superior, #voyeur

Regular

Now that he was employed in a meaningful way, Douglas was fairly certain that he was supposed to find a bar to frequent.

He wasn’t sure where the idea came from, as he didn’t much like the taste or associated sensations of alcohol, but he liked the bar concept. The young professional persona he had claimed required this sort of urban leisure. He saw himself checking in after a long day, ordering the usual and chatting with strangers. The bartender would listen at a distance, polishing a glass, occasionally offering working class insight.

He stepped into the first place he found that didn’t seem too crowded. A young man about his age was reading poetry into a microphone, but that stayed on its side of the room. At the bar, all he could hear was some down-tempo electronica and private conversations.

“Hey, I haven’t seen you around here before,” the bartender said as she came over. She had a playful face. She kept her head tilted sideways, as though balancing the piercing on the side of her nose.

“Hi, I’m Douglas. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of me.”

“Oh, right on. Looking forward to it.”

Shortly after he had a drink in his hand, she was too busy to talk.

He waited. Sometimes she noticed him and made a weary gesture, which he appreciated.

“Come back and see me,” she said, handing him the bill. “I’m here Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”

She lifted her hand to him in a way he wasn’t sure what to do with. Feeling bold, he kissed it. He leaned over the bar to do it, and he saw some faces grimace. They were jealous.

A beautiful barkeep liked him. Maybe he’d get free drinks.

He felt extraordinary.

#bar, #bartender, #dramatic-irony, #embarrassing, #idiot, #important-titles, #microfiction, #puns, #yuppies