The New Movie Theater

"The whole damned lot of them can go straight to Hell!"

His son looked up from the kitchen table where he sat with newspaper and a cup of coffee. His heart stopped at the sight of his father’s red face the veins bulging at his neck.

"Calm down, Pop, you’ll give yourself a heart attack! What’s wrong anyway?"

The man loosened the top button of his shirt, then took off his jacket and threw it on the back of the wooden chair. As he rolled up his sleeves, he answered his son.

"That blasted Baptist Church wants to stop movies on Sunday night. The theater renters caught wind of the griping and will back out of the lease if they can’t play the movies on Sunday."

The man shook his head as he poured a cup of coffee for himself.

"They’re going to ruin this whole building deal and cost us a lot of money if we can’t run that movie house. Dan, I don’t know what we’ll do if they pull the rug out from under us on this one."

His son frowned and thought of the thousands of dollars they had invested in the projectors, the maple floor, and the artist from nearby Arlington who would paint the murals on the theater walls. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The town newspaper planned to lease the adjacent business space, special engineering had been required for the floor underneath their huge presses, and people were waiting for the upstairs apartments to be finished. His Dad was right. It would cost them a fortune, maybe all their fortune, if the theater deal fell through.

Just then his mother walked in the back door, packages tumbling from her arms. She was a tall and shapely woman, dressed to the details in feathers and the finest in fashion courant. The well-tailored suit skimmed over her shapely hips and her shapely stockinged legs ended firmly on the ground in fine blue leather pumps. She dropped the remaining boxes on the kitchen table.

"Speaking of rugs," she quipped, "I found a nice blue Persian in Denver, but it was priced a bit too high even for my pocketbook. In the mood you’re in, it’s a good thing I didn’t buy it."

"It’s a good thing you didn’t for other reasons," replied her husband, running a hand through his graying hair. "We might have to sell the rugs we already have to survive if this deal falls through."

"Whatever do you mean, dear?" she asked. "You don’t’ mean the new building, do you? What could possibly go wrong? I thought you were on schedule and we planned to open with the first screening the week of Christmas."

She sat down with a worried frown. Life could be so tiresome. Just when things seemed to be rolling along fine and dandy. It had been such a grand trip to Denver, too. It was so nice to be able to shop and actually have some choices. Not like New York mind you, but certainly better than the little town of Banner here on the high country plains. She wished there was just one good department store nearby. Not that she minded driving to the city, especially now that she had her new car. A beauty it was, complete with whitewall tires that flashed in the bright Colorado sun. It had cost a pretty penny or two. She was a head turner before, but now eyes did a double-take when she passed. The idea quite pleased her.

Her husband’s stern voice cut through her musings.

"Leona, for heaven’s sake, pay attention. This is important to you, too. If this deal falls through, we’ll be out on the street and not in that fancy car of yours. Blast it all, woman! How much money did you spend on your finery today?"

His glance had just slid to the pile of store boxes piled on the table. All the major Denver stores were well-represented judging by the labels. The thought of the subsequent bills made his heart pound. The room was getting warmer by the second.

"Charley, sit down for mercy’s sake, you’ll give yourself a heart attack. You know the doctor told you not to get upset for every little thing," Leona calmly replied.

"Every little thing," he thought to himself. "The woman could drive a man to drink."

Still he bit his tongue. She was a beauty. His pride and joy. No man in this county didn’t wish her for himself and she was all his. Not won easily either, he’d had to work for her hand. She wanted everything good in life and felt she deserved it and then some. It was the "then some" part that was wearing him out.

Only the thought of losing her to someone else kept him going.

By Penny Dreadful

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