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Swiftie and I like scary movies so we go to see It: Chapter 2. The movie is frightening, but real life ends up being more unsettling than what’s on screen.
We get our tickets and Swiftie says she wants popcorn. A guy walks over as she goes to the counter.
“What movie ya seein’?” he asks me.
Great. I’m a sitting duck.
“It. The one about the clown.”
“Ohhhh yeaaaahhhh,” says the guy. “That one’s scary. It’s wiiiiiiiild.”
There’s something really off about this guy. You just know it. He talks slow like classic horror movie folks always do and he’s wearing a baseball cap with a really long bill, the type you don’t ever see anymore.
“It’s wiiiiiiiiiiiild,” he says again.
In my mind I’m willing the cashier to hurry up. Pour that popcorn faster, please.
“You like scary movies?” Creepy Guy asks with a lopsided grin.
Suddenly I feel like I’ve been thrust into a horror movie preview. “You like scary movies?” a wild-eyed dude asks and then the very next shot is of a blonde screaming as she runs in the woods and falls over a log. I don’t want to be that blonde.
Swiftie has her popcorn and we make our way out of the lobby. “Enjoy the moooooovie!” our new friend calls out. I wonder, is he actually creepy or am I just worked up in anticipation of the film? Then I hear him mumble, “I’mma go see It.”
“Well, he sure set the mood,” Swiftie says.
We choose our seats easily. We’re the only ones here.
Suddenly someone enters. It’s him. Not Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Worse. Creepy McCreeperson from the lobby. He sits a couple of rows behind us.
“No way, man,” I sigh.
There was a kid named Kenny in my old neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey who was afraid of the cops because one night they came to his house and took his father away. Since then, every time Kenny heard a siren, he’d run home, arms pumping the air as he yelled, “Mama! Jesus! Mama! Jesus!”
I feel like running the way Kenny did. Swiftie and I sink down into our seats. He’s back there. Making odd noises. Why is he making odd noises?
Swiftie taps my arm. “Will you be okay here if I leave to go to the bathroom?” she asks.
“Seriously, will you be okay?”
“Seriously, are you seriously asking me that?”
“I really have to go!”
“Hold it. Or use your popcorn bucket, I don’t care! You can’t leave me!”
“How about we both go?”
“I’ll hold your popcorn.”
When we return the previews are playing and our lobby buddy is still there. Four more people arrive and I could hug each one. The movie starts and I almost forget about Creeper. Then suddenly out of the corner of my right eye I see it. That distinctive long bill of his cap. He’s up and walking.
“Ohmigawd, is that him?” my niece breathes.
I sink down whispering, “Mama! Jesus! Mama! Jesus!”
The hat bobs past our row and goes out the door. Swiftie and I exhale heavy at the same time. I don’t even know what’s happening on the screen. It’s probably less frightening.
The movie ends. The lights come up and everyone exits but us. We peel ourselves out of our seats and stand. Something is odd.
I realize what it is as Swiftie asks, “Are the lights flickering?”
“Yyyyyeah,” I answer.
“Are they all doing it?”
For the love of Stephen King, the lights, which were solid before, are now flickering like candles in a chill breeze.
“Were they doing that earlier?” Swiftie asks.
“Why are we standing here talking about it and not getting the heck out of here?”
“Have we learned nothing from watching scary movies?” I cry as we bolt out the door. Thankfully, our pal Mr. Creepster is not there waiting.
We go to our cars and drive to our homes, wondering which was more frightening, the movie itself or the experience of seeing the movie. Logic says there was nothing truly scary going on. But still, Swiftie doesn’t like the car that’s front of her as she drives. It’s filled with balloons.
Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at email@example.com. Read more of her columns at www.zip06.com/shorelineliving.
Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .