Moving Pictures

(He had not been to the cinema in decades,
decades Eight through Twelve, if you’re taking notes.)

He entered a lobby featuring popcorn and armed guards.
He went through to a bar with head-high stools.
He climbed a stool. He drank Dutch gin. He listened
to a waitress singing Verdi sotto voce.

‘Will there be a film?’ he asked. While no one sneered
the waitress snickered, pretending he was joking.
He took the hint and laughed along and waved
his hand near but fortunately not against his glass.

A bell tinkled … (No, here’s upmarket … “a bell tolled”).

In five languages including three he recognised.
a voice said, ‘Please go in. The programme starts.’
He climbed down from the stool avoiding jokes or toppling.
He followed the others. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffling.

He took his seat in tiered rows of luxury chairs.
The lights went out. On the intimidating screen
floods of coloured moving pictures glared.
Walls of noise drowned him. Surround sound.

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