Monday, July 12, 2010


I worked at a movie theater for a few years, and it was a blast. I don't want to name it here, so let's just say that it's in Boston and it's name rhymes with Roews Loston Gommon. I met some great friends there and learned a lot. After awhile the grind of constant turnover and angry-customer service in basically a glorified fast-food, corporate environment got to be a drag, so I quit after four years or so. It was one of the funniest places I've ever worked, and I had a few celebrity meetings, minor adventures, and some stories to tell. This episode: JUNKY SPOON.

It had been a long night.
From customers bitching about no parking and not liking their $9 chicken tenders, to employees drinking in the storage room, I was fed up. We had closed out the day, and were just waiting for the last few movies to end. As I came out of the managers office, I saw some movement down in the cafe, which was closed. I walked along the concession stand, and as I got near the cafe, somebody came hurriedly walking around the corner acting weird. Everything about him was weird. He was rail thin, had stained jeans, and pseudo dreads. He smelled bad even from 15 feet away. There is a large homeless shelter around the corner from the theater, so I was used to throwing drunk homeless guys out all day. I was really happy when CVS came out with a generic orange flavored mouthwash. The hardcore drunks smelled a lot better when I would escort them on their circuitous drunken stumble to the front doors. It was a long walk and I preferred the citrus smell to cool mint. But they usually weren't around after sundown. The shelter closes it's doors at 9pm and all that.
Back to the story. When I got to the cafe, the ice cream case was open and the butter pecan top was off. I turned and headed after my scruffy friend who was making a beeline for one of the theater entrances. It looked like he was trying to covertly hide something very unsuccessfully. I yelled for him to stop. He sped up. I yelled again in my bouncer voice and this time he stopped by the condiment station. He still had his back to me. I asked him what he had there, and he clearly shoved something down the front of his pants and quickly turned around and flourished his hands like he was David fucking Copperfield doing a trick. I asked him what he shoved down his pants. Nothing. Of course it was nothing. I told him to cut the bullshit or I would call the detail cop. Begrudgingly, he slowly pulled out an uncovered, dripping paper cup of ice cream from his crotch.
Butter Pecan I presumed.
I couldn't believe it. I told him to throw it out. As he stepped towards the garbage can he pulled out a spoon and started furiously trying to eat as much as he could. Fortunately for him, I was standing behind the Guest Services desk. The annoyances of the day had taken their toll. I began to scream furiously for him to throw the fucking ice cream away. As he finally dropped the half empty cup in the garbage, he also dropped his spoon on the lobby floor. It clattered around a little and I got a good look at it. The handle was completely bent and the spoon itself was charred black. Hmmh. That's a familiar configuration. It still had a few remnants of Butter Pecan on it. The picture was starting to get clearer. That's why there hadn't been a scoop in the ice cream case.... he brought his own utensils.
I started to lose it for real at this point. Luckily, the other manager Willie had come out of the office by now and was holding me back.
Get the fuck out of here, I blistered.
Why? he has the nerve to ask.
Because I have to throw out a three gallon container of ice cream you lowlife.
Why? he has the gall to ask again.
It was clean! he says in a plaintive voice, as if I had offended his sensibilities by insinuating that he would be carrying a dirty junky spoon.
That's when I started laughing.
It was all too absurd. He was genuinely insulted that I had disparaged his works, and that cracked me the hell up. The whole day had built to the point where I needed a good laugh, and this clown certainly provided it. The people who had made their way out of the theaters after their movies had ended seemed to find it pretty amusing too.
The closing usher was notorious for eating left over popcorn and half eaten candy when he cleaned the theaters. As I handed him the barely touched but unsellable container of Bryer's Butter Pecan I thought: at least this job has perks. Free laughs and sometimes free ice cream.

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