Angela Bassett

The movie was humming along just fine, and then it wasn’t. We were watching a Colin Farrell horror/action thriller, and then we were watching Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe facesmashed together like, I dunno, it was the end of ‘Supernova’ and James Spader and Angela Bassett were being dimensionally smashed-together in that pod-thing. It was weird.

After five minutes the lights went up. Three guys walked in; two of them were built like Steve Austin, the third like Jerry Lewis. "We’re experiencing technical difficulties," Jerry said.

No shit, I thought.

"No shit!" somebody yelled from the middle of the stuffed audience.

Jerry scratched at the nape of his neck. "We should have everything sorted soon enough." And then they all left.

"How long do you think it’s going to take?" My date asked.

"Not long, I hope."

It was long. It was very long. Hours long. One guy got up to go - "to the bathroom," he claimed to no one in particular - but was rebuffed by one of the Steve Austins guarding the door.

"Why is Steve Austin guarding the door?" My girlfriend asked.

I didn’t know. "I dunno…"

Someone tried the back exit by the screen - still showing the Spader-Bassett still - but it was chained up. When someone tried it later it was cemented shut. People went for their cell phones, but they were all missing. Confiscated, no doubt.

I grew hungry. Everyone grew hungry. Everyone grew tired. People fell asleep, curling up in corners of the theater, wrapping themselves in downy-blue blankets. Steve Austin grew tired, too; he had a shift-change with Ed Sullivan. Night shift guards are old, ex-cop near-retirees. I learned this from the Pierce Brosnan/Salma Hayek/Woody Harrelson romantic comedy ‘After the Sunset’.

In the middle of everyone’s sleep, perhaps seeing his chance, someone tried to get past Ed Sullivan. We were all woken up with a scream; Ed Sullivan walked back, licking blood off his fingers, and we never saw the man again. No, I take it back - sometimes Ed Sullivan would be eating something, and we always knew who it was. Ed knew we were hungry, too - Ed always knew - and here and there he’d toss a slab of bloody red meat down the hallway for us. It wouldn’t last more than five minutes. We’re all just animals, after all.

Yesterday a man started moving in on my woman. He already had a woman; he couldn’t have mine too. He grabbed her arm and I shoved him away, snarling. He snarled back; we locked eyes for a moment; I readied the steel pipe, carved from the front row rails; sadly, he backed off, looking away, leaving my woman unchallenged for me, for now. She sat silently and obediently at my feet.

At some point Steve Austin tried to relieve Ed Sullivan. We never saw Steve Austin again either, except at dinner.