Of kid brothers, sucky licorice, and talking chimps....
Laughing to ourselves, we stepped to the refreshment counter. Gazing wide-eyed through the glass case, we searched for the perfect complement to the obligatory buttered popcorn we planned on getting. Preferably something we could chew up into sticky wads and fling at the screen.
“Hey, look at this,” Tom pointed.
On the counter was a hand-drawn sign which promised “two free movie tickets in one lucky box of Good & Plenty!”
Looked like Mr. Bickes had a problem selling Good & Plentys.
“Let’s get a couple boxes.”
I wasn’t all that crazy about the idea because I wasn’t all that crazy about Good & Plenty. Sure, its spokesman, Choo Choo Charlie, was pretty cool and sang a real snappy jingle, but it was still sucky licorice.
Besides, I thought, what were the odds of us actually getting the lucky box?
“I don’t know, we’ll have to eat a whole bunch of them to win.”
Ignoring me, he dug into his pocket and fished out a dollar. “Two Good & Plentys, please.”
The kid at the counter was evidently related to the guy at the ticket window because he displayed just as much enthusiasm. Except his “Enjoy the show” seemed even less genuine.
I took one of the boxes and shrugged. Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt. On the bright side, chewed licorice globs made for perfect missiles.
Leaving a whining Phil-I only promised my mother I’d bring him, not buy him anything-Tom and I took our Good & Plentys inside the theater.
We sat down in the middle of the tenth row, away from the few people already seated inside. We made sure to keep an empty seat between us. No way did we want anyone to think we were on a “date.” That was for the kids who liked show tunes and wore penny loafers to gym.
The two of us ripped into our boxes of candy and excitedly looked inside. Rats! No tickets.
Before we could say anything, Phil dropped in the row in front of us. Even though he was a little shorter than we were, the seats in the Stratford were level enough so that his melonhead was in our way. We’d have to crane our necks around his cowlick just to see the movie.
“Hey!” I kicked the back of his seat.
"What do you mean?"
"You could sit anywhere.”
“So why you sitting there?”
“Right in front of us.”
“Why don’t you move?”
“Why don’t you move?”
“Mom told me to stay near you.”
“Then why don’t you sit here with us?”
“And have people think I’m with you dorks? No thanks. Oh, don’t worry, I used the money that fell out of Dad’s pants into the couch cushions to get something to eat.”
I looked helplessly at Tom. But, he was too engrossed in digging through his candy like a sugar-crazed gopher. No help coming from that quarter.
As the lights darkened, I settled into my seat. Only to be blocked even worse by Phil’s head. Grumbling, I leaned to my right as the credits rolled.
I felt the seat next to me slide back. Tossing an empty box to the floor, Tom headed to the end of the row. Intent on scoring the lucky tickets, he was once more off to the snack bar.
Hopefully he’d forget all about free tickets and get some Junior Mints instead. But, I knew he was probably after some more Good & Plentys.
My neck hurt. I kicked the back of Phil’s seat again.
I leaned to the left as Zira and Cornelius were taken off a spaceship by-what the heck?-humans. Where were all the monkeys on horses? What a gyp.
By the time Tom returned with an armload of Good & Plentys, the chimps were on a whirlwind shopping trip in New York City. And my neck felt like a pretzel.
“What’d I miss? Monkeys on horses?” he asked.
I looked sourly at his candy. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he would’ve saved more money than if he’d just bought two tickets in the first place.
“Aw, man.” He peeled the lids back from a few boxes and muttered, "I love monkeys on horses. Crap, look at these. None of them have the lucky tickets!”
I shifted again. Great, not only did it feel as if a knife was plunged into my neck, now my butt was asleep. Maybe I should just move...? But, I had a better idea.
Pushing away from my seat, I shuffled to the end of the row.
“Where ya goin’?” Tom asked, wrist deep in a fourth box.
Not wanting to turn my head around, “I’ll be right back.”
“While you’re gone, get another couple boxes, willya?”
Ignoring him, I pushed through the door into the lobby. I looked around and saw Mr. Bickes repositioning Child Wild Eagle closer to the front door. Good, he wouldn’t see me (Bickes, not Wild Eagle).
I silently moved to the Men’s Room. Once inside, I stepped into the “VIP Stall” and chuckled. I’ll bet Disneyland doesn’t have anything like this!
Reaching to the back of the toilet tank, I tugged at the war bonnet. I removed one of its feathers and stuck it in my shirt.
Turning to go, I realized I had to...
Maybe the sign should read “Frank DeKova Peed Here”?
I didn’t even flush.
To be continued....
Next: The Conclusion: DeKova's Witnesses