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 it."

"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.

"Tickets, please."

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?"

"What's what?"

"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 you to--"

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 popcorn burning.

* * *

"Boy, sure was a good thing I had that flame-thrower set on low, huh?"

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 me.

"Why not?"

"You'd never drink anything with an enriched vitamin content."

"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 it?"

"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 commented.

"Truly deplorable." he agreed. "Want some popcorn?"

"No thanks, the stuff turns my stomach."

"Suit yourself. How about some nice roast micro-human instead then?"

"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 pit."

"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 audience participation."

"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."

"Ditto."

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 here?"

"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 honesty.

"Kistan?"

"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?"

"Yeah."

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 guy's ear.

"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 at ease.

"Pleased to meet you Morrie. So, do you enjoy working at the theater?"

"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 wait?"

"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 share already."

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 the wall.

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, and..."

"Kistan?"

"Yes?" Kistan answered cheerfully.

"Shut up."

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 much.

"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 it?"

"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 open."

"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 here?"

"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 stairwell."

"That's a good question, I'm glad you asked that question. Are--"

"Spare me, please. I uh, wait! I've been struck by a sudden inspiration."

"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!"

"Kistan."

"Yeah?"

"Time for target practice. See Patty down there in the aisle?"

"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..."

"What?"

"I suppose we're going to have to set our blasters on stun, huh?"

"Yeah."

"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."

"Good job."

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 above.

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 was closing.

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.