Films Français

By Patrick O’Neil

The movie was French, promising subtitles, a scruffy looking protagonist, and skinny women with non-Hollywood implant breasts and complex dispositions. The theater was one of those art house independents that cater to the affluent. The type who want an espresso with biscotti instead of a forty-ounce soda and tortilla chips covered with a slimy orange substance commonly referred to as nacho-cheese. The popcorn looked and smelled fresh. It was actually popping in the machine as we entered the lobby. I glanced across the concession counter filled with boutique cookies and European chocolate bars and felt my stomach go queasy. It wasn’t because of the array of sweets and baked goods, although for some reason the stench of cooking oil from the popcorn wasn’t helping.

I touched my forehead, I was sweaty and my skin felt hot. I looked over at the usher standing by the door staring at his pointy shoes. He was short, in a baggy black suit, with big curly muttonchops and greasy long hair. I was reminded of a lonesome cowboy and wondered if there were ever any French Westerns. A woman wearing sunglasses that covered most of her face pushed her way in front of us. Her hand held out as though she was holding a dog’s leash. Perhaps it was just habit. Seems everywhere I go women are walking dogs and picking up shit with little plastic bags. Thoughts of whether she washed her hands slid through my mind as she shoved the ticket in the usher’s direction. He continued to look at the floor so I didn’t even try to pretend I had a ticket to show him.

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