Sunday, July 22, 2012

breathing loud

The night shift continued. I stood and made a paper cup of instant coffee. The current movie ended and as I was switching videos in the VCR, a wave of unbearable stench filled the small office space - it was the smell of rotting death.
I glanced over to the box office window and noticed two bloodshot eyes that gleamed at me - black spots in the corneas, like bad marbles. Only the neck up was visible - a bald, wrinkled head blotched with liver spots, scabs, white flaky skin. Gray shadows encircled those predatory eyes; thin, hooked nose ended in long, greasy, white nose hairs. A toothless hole grinned that caused the entire sickly face to wrinkle up.
“Uh…excuse me…” He wheezed in a high pitched voice. His eyes - those fucking eyes - never left mine, no matter how I swayed and fidgeted. “Do you show any homo-erotic films at this theater?”
His voice shot up an octave at ‘homo-erotic’.
“What?” I snapped, trying my best to be annoying to this fucker just so he'd just leave.
Every time he exhaled, a wave of rotted matter filled the room.
“I asked if you show any homo-erotic videos here at your theater.” He scratched his bald head with pudgy, dirty fingers - dead, dry skin flaked off - a frayed hospital band dangled at his wrist.
Under a dirty, brown coat, I noticed that he wore powder-blue hospital scrubs over a fat, squat body.
“Nah, against city ordinance. We only show straight porn here.”
His eyes glazed over and stared at my chest as if in a trance, “You see, in Manhattan - that’s New York City - they show homo-erotic videos - wonderfully, wild, exciting gay films with beautiful men having sex with each other…”
He paused, squeaking out a rapid fire of giggles that pinged in my mind like needles.
His face went blank and dreamy, “Are there any military men in your theater?”
I pondered, took a sip of my coffee, “Well, I think there were three navy guys that came in about an hour ago…”
Slap! Clackclack! Slam! Before I could finish my sentence, the old perv slapped six dollars down on the box office counter, bolted through the turnstile, and flew through the metal door entrance to the theater.
Five minutes later, three young Navy recruits stumbled out of the theater - hands covering noses, waving palms in front of their faces, looks of disgust.
“Damn! That fucker stank!”
“See how that old fag followed us everywhere?”
“Shit! His fuckin’ intestines must be rottin’!”
They marched into the night and back to base.
A short time passed, standing with my back to the concession door, I put the straw to my mouth and lit up some more dope from the charred strip of aluminum foil that I had stashed behind a pile of empty video porn boxes.
My chapped lips stung as the plastic heated - the smell of melted plastic and chemicals assailed my scarred nostrils. I stood there and faced the wall - teeth ground uncontrollably; air whistling loudly through my nose.
“Hey, man.” Rumbled a bass voice behind me.
I whirled around to see a mountain of a sweaty, googly-eyed black man standing at the concession door. He wore a do-rag on his head and a torn wife beater in a vain attempt to cover an obscene, hairy potbelly. His face was slack; covered in a fine layer of glistening grease. He smelled of spoiled bologna and stale farts.
“Yeah? Whutsup?” I wearily asked with gummy lips - my tongue swirled in my mouth like a writhing slug.
My eyes felt as if they protruded from their sockets, but I tried to keep my cool. Focusing my gaze on this glaring behemoth, I slipped the foil back behind video boxes.
“Hey, man.” He stated - staring.
A long pause.
“Yeah? Wuchawant?” I asked, glaring back.
Click click click went my tongue on top of my mouth.
“Hey.” He spat - eyes voluminous and yellow with black irises and no color. The man was flying high on some crazy shit. “You by yourself?”
“Uh…” I glanced quickly at the aluminum baseball bat by the cash register.
“Cause you a perty fine white boy an’ these movies can make ya horny.”
“Glad you like the movies, sir.” Clenched my grinding jaw.
“Hey.” His eyebrows began to shoot up and down - fat lips drooping. “You game? Ya wanna? Huh? Ya game? Huh? Ya game? Ya wanna?”
“Well, I can’t…I mean, I’m working.”
“Ya wanna? Hey, boy, ya wanna? Ya game? Huh? You wanna?”
Tired of this shit and wanting to get back to my dope, I stated firmly, “Look, dude, you gotta stop bugging me and return to the theater or I’m gonna hafta ask you to leave.”
He stood there a beat - glared with that vapid gaze of Hepatitis C - breathing loud in his sweat-stained wife beater, then faded back into the murk of the theater.

No comments: