Butter Popcorn (Double Feature)

I used to watch the movies. Now I watch the popcorn.

It’s no big deal. Like you don’t have to save your stub or anything. I know you were here. We’ve all been here before. I’ve seen a lot of things in my time but I never saw anybody sneak in to see a movie who didn’t need to.

I used to skip school. Weekdays. Buzz in for the matinee.

That was a while ago. Before I got the job.

I’ve been at the theater for almost two years. That’s a lot of movies. I didn’t take the job for the glamour. Or the paycheck. The paycheck… the paycheck is barely there. I took the job for the movies. Fuck… the movies…

The movies that come through this place: chop-socky sci-fi film-noir exploitation Western adventure sex fantasies. Robots and cowboys and pimps and aliens with unresolved childhood issues. Oh and my God the monsters…

(There are monsters everywhere.)

I remember when I first started and just before showtime I would slide in the back of the theater: all the audience unaware of what was coming but I had seen this picture before- read the screenplay even- and the auditorium would go dark, and the light started up on the screen. What a glorious feeling… I’m happy again.

Great classic movies. I got to see them all for free. Detective pictures, cave women, beatniks, cops and robbers, boxers and Japanese guys in rubber suits toppling Tokyo. Talking monkeys and stop-motion dinosaurs, atom bombs and zombies, angry bikers and giants, mad scientists and gladiators.

Women’s prisons, hippies and freeks, secret agents and time machines

It all spoke to me. They were like the best nightmares made daydreams and fed sugar and projected on the wall. Stupidity loud and brilliant. Like an angry riff through a bad amp. You know the screech and grind? Metal machine music.

Fucking killer frogs and go-go dancers with thigh-high boots being chased by Vincent Price. My boss Mr. Arkoff knew I was watching, told me he didn't care.

Juvenile delinquents. Punk rockers. Gypsies. Gorillas gone loco. Twisted midgets. They made the afternoon pass faster.

Symphonic. Harmonic. Supersonic and psychotronic.

I wish I had someone to watch them with.

But the movies. Fuck, the movies…

And then… one day...

Fuck the movies.

Time takes a toll, you know, I think? Maybe too many movies. Eventually they lose their cool, even when you sweeten them with Junior Mints and Jujy-Fruits. And everybody has to grow up eventually. Well, not me… but most people.

One day a few months ago it didn’t seem so fun to sneak in the back of the theater. Sometimes the movies play like empty boxes... and please stop it with the happy endings. And bad special effects. It took me a long time… a long time. Days of end credits scrolling slow to keep me waiting for some conclusion that never was found. At least I never found it.

Fuck you best boy.

Fuck you key grip.

Die Hollywood. 

Die slow.

It's different with popcorn. The popcorn pops every day. It pops in unexpected ways. It’s always there. Little kernels waiting in line, ready for the great release of the heat, and when it comes… when it happens they transform. And they make noise about it.





The popcorn pops, the popcorn fights. The popcorn lives and dies and fucks and gets fired and writes stories and tells lies and goes down good and dirty. Perfect dirty. Perfect human dirty.

Perfect humans covered in butter. Deliciousness.

And the best part of popcorn is I’ve never seen two popcorn pop the same way. They fall out the basket, overflowing, full of yellow, deep with imitation truth and savory flavor and somedays… somedays just watching them puts me in a trance. A trance that makes me more wise. A trance better than the movies.

There’s no price for admission. You can ditch your stub.

I used to watch the movies. Now I watch the popcorn.

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