Fantasy & Sci-Fi
The Analog Kid Sees a Movie
By Richard Lovig
As we stood waiting to pass the check-point I whispered
urgently to Kistan, "This is never going to work; we'll never get away with
"Why not?" He asked, tugging at one of the straps that held
the flame-thrower's fuel tanks on his back.
"Because they're going to notice, that's why."
"Nonsense. Just stand between me and that guy taking tickets
as we go past. They'll never notice a thing."
I didn't reply; we had arrived at the check-point.
I handed them over. Kistan and I began to walk past the
pimply faced young ticket taker and into the theater.
"Just a minute sir." The ticket taker addressed Kistan.
"What is that?"
"That thing you're carrying, the thing attached to those
tanks on your back."
"Huh? Oh, this?" Kistan regarded the flame-thrower he was
holding as if seeing it for the first time. "Well, ah, its ah..."
"Exterminating equipment," I cut in quickly, "It's
exterminating equipment. They called us to take care of the roaches."
"What roaches?" he inquired cautiously.
"The giant man-eating cockroaches they called us about. If
you'll excuse us..."
The ticket taker sneered and adopted a snotty tone of voice.
"Hold it. Nobody told me about any roaches. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask
They weren't buying it; we needed a diversion, fast. "Oh my
God!" I shouted. "There's one now!" I pointed out into the lobby. "Quick,
Kistan! Kill it! Kill it!"
Kistan fired the flame thrower; flames shot out fifteen or
twenty feet into the lobby. I heard people screaming and running for the exits.
Alarms sounded and the overhead sprinklers came on. Somewhere, I smelled
* * *
"Boy, sure was a good thing I had that flame-thrower set on
I lunged for him, but I was too slow. Patty caught me with
an arm around the throat and pulled me back into my seat.
"Watch it Kid. You're just as much at fault as he is."
"Who, me? I was just trying to help him out. Hand me a
towel, will ya?"
Patty passed me a dry towel and I used it on my sunglasses
and then my hair; I was soaked. Patty on the other hand had gotten by with only
a light misting. Only a few drops of water showed in her long, blonde and black
tiger-striped hair or on her close fitting black clothes.
"Patty, how'd you manage to stay so dry?"
"Easy, I pulled my jacket over my head then waited in one of
the communication booths until the sprinklers shut off." She leaned back in her
seat and rested her boots on the seat in front of her. "You want a drink? The
movie ought to be starting in a few minutes." She handed me a bottle.
"Sure. What is it?"
"It's got alcohol in it, what more do you care?"
"True." I took a long drink, then, to show there were no
hard feelings, I passed the bottle to Kistan.
Kistan accepted the bottle and took a drink. "Good stuff,
what is it?"
I waited until he started to take a second drink before
answering, "Fermented mare's blood, wood alcohol, and a live beetle added for
enriched vitamin content."
"Can't be." Kistan observed, passing the bottle back to
"You'd never drink anything with an enriched vitamin
"True, true." I took another drink.
"Hey! You guys didn't buy that here!"
I turned around to regard an obnoxious micro-human who had
just attempted to deafen me by screaming in my ear. Determining to be polite to
the pudgy little brat none the less, I extended the bottle in his direction and
inquired, "Care for a drink?"
The micro-human regarded me oddly for a moment. "What is
"Oh, it's good stuff. Straight alcohol laced with
hallucinogenics, you'll love it. Trust me."
"Mommy!" The micro-human screamed, "That man just tried to
give me drugs! Mo-omme-ey!!"
"Just say NO Timmy!" Some fat broad shrieked as she came
running down the aisle towards us. She was making very poor time. "Just say
NO!" She was hindered in her running attempt by the fact that she was carrying
at least half of the contents of the concession stand.
The micro-human stood up, put his chocolate smeared face up
close to mine and shouted, "NO!" loud enough to do even more damage to my
abused ears. I said something to the obnoxious little thing that almost caused
his mother to drop the Extra-large, Extra-Chocolaty, Thunder-Thighs Special Bar
she was holding, then turned back to Kistan.
"See what happens when you try to be polite?" I
"Truly deplorable." he agreed. "Want some popcorn?"
"No thanks, the stuff turns my stomach."
"Suit yourself. How about some nice roast micro-human
"You mean the one behind us? Nah. All that fat'd turn to
grease. It'd be terrible eating. Besides, we'd need one heck of a big barbecue
"Not if we had 'The Weapon.'"
"You mean the flame-thrower?"
"Yeah. Besides, we really ought to have it for the movie
too. They're showing Aliens. That's the whole reason I brought it. I believe in
"Well, we could try to get it back. I think they put it in
the manager's office." A thought occurred to me. "Patty, what's the opening
feature? What are they showing before the movie?"
"Something to get you in the mood for violence and slaughter
I was told. Let me see." She consulted a program. "Here it is. Twenty minutes
of uninterrupted Minmei videos."
"I'm outta here."
We got up and headed up the aisle for the lobby exit. As we
passed the micro-human, who was sitting right on the aisle, conveniently
enough, I couldn't resist leaning over and whispering in his ear in a
distinctly ominous tone, "Hey, Chubbo. Wanna know what we do to narks around
"What?" He whispered back. A frightened expression tried to
cross his face, but what with the fat and all gave it up as too much work and
decided to let the mean and stupid look stay there instead.
"WE SCREAM IN THEIR DAMN EARS, THAT'S WHAT!!!" I stood back
up and followed Kistan out the exit.
The lobby looked really, really wet and scorched and soggy
and, actually, just plain bad. Also, the carpeting squished when we walked. I
was glad Kistan hadn't given our real names when we had agreed to pay for
damages. Or had he? Sometimes Kistan gets these terrible attacks of
"What is it Kid?" His attention was distracted by his
attempts to avoid stepping in the deeper puddles.
"You didn't give them our real names when you offered to pay
for damages did you?"
"What, do I look stupid?"
Kistan ignored my comment and continued. "I gave them the
Hunter's instead. Said he'd pay for everything."
"The Hunter's one of our employers and a very nasty guy in
case you've forgotten. What if he finds out?"
"Not a chance. He won't even see the bill. His staff'll take
care of it."
"Okay. So where's the managers office?"
"I don't know. Let me find out." Kistan grabbed the ticket
taker who had caused us so much trouble earlier and put his blaster in the
"Take us to the manager's office or I'll blow your brains
out. Got it?"
The ticket taker nodded with a panicked expression on his
face. I shook my head sadly. Sometimes Kistan has no sense of tact.
"This way Kid. Follow us." He prodded the young ticket taker
in the ribs with his blaster and said, "Move it jerkface. I haven't killed
anyone in days and I'm getting twitchy. Got me?" He jabbed the guy in the ribs
again to make his point.
"Y-yeah." The ticket taker began walking.
"You'll have to excuse Kistan," I said apologetically.
"Sometimes he forgets his manners. I'm the Kid. You are...?"
"Morrie," He answered. For some reason he still looked ill
"Pleased to meet you Morrie. So, do you enjoy working at the
"It has its ups and downs."
"So it seems."
"That's enough talking!" Kistan snarled. "How much farther
to the manager's office?"
"Just past the bathrooms, first door on the left."
"Good! Kid, Morrie and I are going to the bathroom."
"Uh, actually I really don't have to--"
I cut him off. "Kistan, don't you think that that can
"The reason I want to take him into the bathroom is to keep
him from giving the alarm until we get the flame-thrower. So if you'll excuse
us..." He waved his gun and Morrie preceeded him into the bathroom.
Being someone who usually tries to put his idle time to good
use I removed the bottle from my jacket pocket and began to take a drink. Just
as I had raised the bottle, however, I heard an, "Outta my way zit-brain!" as
someone rudely elbowed me aside, causing me to spill perfectly good liquor.
I turned to deliver a snappy rejoinder but the booze
spilling fiend was already past. All I could see was curly reddish-brown hair
and a long black cape that swirled dramatically behind her as she disappeared
around the corner.
"All right Kid, Morrie's taken care of, let's go!" He then
noticed the bottle in my hand, grabbed it and took a drink, then told me,
"You'd better let me hang on to this. I think you've drunk more than your fair
I growled and lunged at him but he had already started
running for the manager's office. I drew my blaster and followed.
When we reached the office door we took up positions, backs
against the wall and blasters ready, on either side of the door. We knew the
routine for this sort of operation.
On the count of three Kistan kicked in the door while I
fired a few shots into the room, aiming high, to distract any hostiles who
might be present. While I was still firing Kistan dove through the doorway low,
rolled and should have come up crouched and firing to cover my entrance. I
ducked around the corner, sighted a target and began to take aim when something
went whist-thunk, and pinned my sleeve to the wall.
"Hi guys. Nice of you to come by." The individual addressing
us was a tough looking guy wearing a black beret, mirrored sunglasses and
fatigues. He was also casually holding a throwing knife in his right hand. A
knife that bore a striking resemblance to the one that had pinned my sleeve to
Kistan was the first to break the uncomfortable silence.
"Hunter, hi!" Kistan started in brightly. "What a
coincidence this is. The Kid and I were just talking about you, and,
"Yes?" Kistan answered cheerfully.
The Hunter made the knife disappear then leaned forward
across his desk to regard us. "I was just sort of wondering something." He
paused. I took the opportunity to drop my blaster from my right hand, which was
still pinned to the wall, into my left hand and holster the gun. The Hunter
noticed this but refrained from commenting. He was waiting for one of us to ask
what he was wondering. Neither of us did. Neither of us was that stupid.
Finally the Hunter gave up. "What I was wondering was how
you came to the conclusion that you can torch and flood my theater, assault my
employees, break down my door and shoot up my office then attempt to bill all
of the damages to me and expect to get away with it."
"So, this is your theater huh? Nice place. Except for the
lobby that is."
I was sure the Hunter was going to kill Kistan and I'd have
to get another partner. Instead, the Hunter just said, in a tone that was all
the more frightening for it's mildness, "I'm sure you didn't know it was my
theater. I had just acquired it and was looking it over when you attempted to
torch it." He paused again for effect..
"Tell you what. I'll make you a deal. I won't kill you or
even bill you for damages if you can do one thing."
This didn't sound very bad and that worried me very
"What's that?" I inquired.
"Get out of here in one piece after I call in the local
cops. They're a little lax and I want to present them with a challenge. Your
flame-thrower is over there." He waved his hand in the direction of the far
wall. "Grab it and go. I'll signal the cops the minute you leave this room. Got
"Got it. Kistan?"
"Check." He had recovered the flame-thrower and was
strapping it on. Meanwhile I pulled loose the knife that held my hand in place
and tossed it back to the Hunter.
"Alright Kid, let's go!" Kistan had the flame-thrower
strapped in place and ready to use and I had my blaster ready as well. We ran
out the door.
"Okay, where to?" Kistan asked.
"Keep heading down this corridor. I see a sign that says
'BALCONY' right down the hall."
"That'll put us right back in the theater and out in the
"It'll also put us in the middle of a bunch of bystanders
and make the cops less likely to shoot at us. Now let's move."
We ran down the hall, took the balcony door to the right and
headed up the stairs two at a time. We were just in time. I heard police come
in through the emergency exit at the end of the hall when we were only halfway
up the stairs. When we reached the top of the stairs Kistan fired a burst from
the flame-thrower down the stairwell, setting it on fire.
"Good job Kistan. Now how are we supposed to get out of
"Good question, I'm glad you asked that question. Are there
any more questions? I personally have no idea. If you come up with one, let me
know." Kistan sat down in one of the seats up front and started watching the
movie and eating popcorn someone running away from the fire had abandoned.
"I knew that phrase'd come back to haunt me one of these
days." I muttered. I crouched down between the seats and pulled out my
interface card and spoke into it.
"Patty, this is the Kid. Kistan and I are up here in the
balcony. We're in trouble."
"So what else is new?"
I swore briefly.
"Could you repeat that? People are throwing themselves off
of the balcony because of the fire. It makes it hard to hear you."
I sat down in one of the seats to think. It was kind of
hard. There were a lot of distractions. People running away from the fire
(which had just set off the balcony sprinklers), the violence and mayhem on the
screen, Kistan yelling encouragement to characters on screen and firing his
flame-thrower whenever someone on the screen did, and stuff like that. This was
going to be a long day.
A small voice spoke from my interface card.
"Kid, the sprinklers just came on and there are cops all
over the place and people falling from the balcony and, well, I'm really not
having much fun anymore. I'm going back to the Demon. I'll meet you there when
you and Kistan are through having your fun, okay?"
"How are Kistan and I supposed to get out of here? The
cops'll get us if we try to go over the balcony and there's a fire in the
"That's a good question, I'm glad you asked that question.
"Spare me, please. I uh, wait! I've been struck by a sudden
"Did it hurt?"
"Noisy in here isn't it?" I commented, then continued with,
"You make your way out the exit and Kistan and I'll stay up here and clear you
a path. The cops will let you through. Then get the Demon and bring it around
to land on the roof. Kistan and I'll come out that way. Then we zoom off and
never, ever, come back to this theater again. The help is incredibly rude."
"Sounds good enough. Let's do it. Patty out."
I put away my own interface card then went and rounded up
Kistan who was still watching the movie.
"Alright! Way to go Marines! Maximum body count!"
"Time for target practice. See Patty down there in the
"Yeah. But Kid, I couldn't shoot her, she's one of my--"
"We're not going to shoot her, we're going to clear a path
for her to get out so that she can rescue us."
"Sound's good, but..."
"I suppose we're going to have to set our blasters on stun,
"Oh well. Let's do it." He leaned over the edge and began to
fire. So did I. It went pretty fast once people realized that anyone who got
between the girl and the exit got shot. The only trouble came when outraged
audience members began shooting back. And shooting to kill. The Hunter was not
going to be pleased with us, not at all.
"How you doing Kistan?"
"Five Jocks, two Preppies, half a dozen cowboys and that
micro-human who screamed in your ear."
Kistan started to say something in response but was
interrupted by an explosion that blew a hole in the ceiling above us. Sunlight
shone in through the smoke and dust and, a moment later, a rope tumbled through
the hole. I climbed up the rope until I was outside then turned to cover
Kistan's ascent. The Demon Star hovered a few feet above the roof, her
streamlined red bulk and forcefields protecting us from potential fire from
After a short wait Kistan appeared through the hole and was
helped into the Demon Star. I dove through the hatch after him and the Demon
started rising into the sky even as the rope was being retracted and the hatch
I settled into the passenger's seat and took a moment to
savor the cool, quiet, dimness of the Demon Star's interior before looking at
the Tactical displays that overlaid the windows. We were over a mile up with no
one showing the slightest interest what so ever in us. Good.
"Honestly," Patty said. "I can't take you two anywhere."
"You mean you can't take Kistan anywhere. He's the one who
tried to sneak in the flame-thrower."
Kistan handed me a dry towel and said, "Give it a rest Kid.
You had just as much fun as I did."
"Maybe. So where to now?"
"How about changing into some dry clothes first, then
hitting somewhere we can get a drink."
"Sounds good. The Alternity Bar and Grill?"
"Where else?" I dried my sunglasses then turned on the sound
system. Something loud and tasteless by Inferno.