The dollar theater is an interesting place. I guess it takes an interesting business model to be able to make it by seating people for a dollar or two. I still don’t entirely know how they make their money. You would think it would be through the concessions, but those are relatively cheap, too. You can get a hot dog for a dollar, which I frequently do. And of course it’s an interesting crowd that goes. Back in the dollar theater near where I grew up, the common theme was that it was really, really cheap babysitting. I guess as a product of the movies that I see, that’s less the case out here. Instead you get an odd mixture of cheapskates, enthusiasts, and poor people.
Back when the weather was colder, that last bit was kind of a problem for a little while. I didn’t mind that homeless people would consider a dollar or two for a few hours a good way to get out of the cold drizzle, but it was obnoxious how they snored.
The place has been going downhill. I hadn’t entirely realized that it was possible, but it seemed that each time I went there, something else was gone. The ticket-taker was replaced by a combo concession/ticket cashier. The bathrooms would lose their soap dispensers. Eventually they just tore the carpet out and decided that the uneven concrete beneath wasn’t really so bad.
Yesterday was my last trip to the dollar theater before we head out to Arapaho. It was a pretty uneventful affair. Not so much a few weeks ago when I went to see an action movie. I’m not generally an action movie sort of guy unless it involves capes and cowls or maybe aliens, but I’m also not much of a theater guy. The two go well together.
So I went to see my action movie and it was not a very good crowd from the start. It wasn’t the worst I had been to, but it wasn’t far from it. There were a couple of people near the front bickering a bit about something. It sounded like one guy was not as conscientious as the other guy would have preferred in terms of making noise. As the movie progressed, the loud guy in a red hat got worse. He was mumbling at the screen. The guy behind him in the hoodie told him to be quiet. This would happen periodically.
It was about the time the movie was reaching its climax that it all came to ahead. The guy in the red hat said one too many things and the guy in the hoodie told him to shut up one too many times. The guy in the red hat darted up and the guy in the hoodie got up and backed up. I would call it a “fight” but it wasn’t much of one. Red Hat lunged at Hoodie who was in a defensive posture. One punch and Hoodie was down. Red Had said to a stunned crowd. “Yo. I’m out. Enjoy your movie.”
This is the part where, if I was braver or more stupid, I might have done something. Not confront Red Hat, but something. Maybe alerted security (while they had fewer ticket-takers, they did add a security guard). Instead I just sat there. It took a couple minutes to process that Hoodie was not getting up. But even then I wasn’t sure what to do. Someone else went and contacted the security guard, who came in with his flashlight. It was impossible to watch the movie at that point. He woke Hoodie up and walked him out. I followed them to say that I had seen what happened. No surprise, Red Hat was long gone by this point. But he knew exactly who I was talking about when I described him. In other words, had I done something sooner, he might have been stopped. Or I might have been knocked unconscious, too.
From there it got a bit murky. The problem was that the people that reported to him initially and I had two different version of events. Theirs was basically that there was a fight. Mine was that there was a one-sided assault. The guard asked us both to wait for the cops to arrive, so we did. In the meantime, Hoodie started getting really antsy and wanted to leave. The security guard tried to calm him down, in effect saying that since he was bleeding profusely (Red Hat was wearing a ring, apparently, and Hoodie’s cheek was gushing through onto a rag) and the other guy walked away that he had nothing to worry about. Even so, Hoodie wanted to go home. I was anxious to get home, too, though I wanted to tell the cops that it was a pretty one-sided affair and that the other guy was disrupting the movie. Considering that I’d let the guy bleed all over the theater floor, it was the least that I could do. Hoodie was acting pretty weird at this point. I wondered if maybe he was high or something. If he was something, it wasn’t drunk. I also wondered if the combination of the punch and hitting his head on the wall from the force of the punch had done a number on him.
When the cops arrived, they pulled Hoodie over and asked him some questions. The next thing I know, Hoodie was in handcuffs. The security guard came over to me and the couple that initially reported the incident to him and told us that we could go home now. I asked what happened and they said that it turned out that Hoodie had a warrant out for his arrest. At this point, the fight didn’t really matter anymore. And with that, they took Hoodie away. To the hospital, I assume, then to jail.
Hoodie had a very bad day.
And I did not enjoy the rest of my movie.