Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, December 14, 2018

Left Hanging

The scene. Sigh.
It was a Saturday afternoon at the movies.
Two sisters happily sitting, munching popcorn and ooh-ing and ah-ing over Ryan Reynolds.
What could possibly go wrong?
Maybe I should start at the beginning . . .
Mom was having a group of friends in for tea and—in her words—a good gossip.
Sally and I had been happily internet surfing and largely staying out of Mom’s way.
But Mom seemed especially anxious to have us out of the house. Something about really needing some time with women her own age.
Weird.
So she gave us money and sent us off to the movie.
Oh, Sally and I weren’t complaining.
Not really.
I mean . . . Ryan Reynolds.
So we gathered up our coats (it is December) and headed over to the Bijou.
Now a word here about our community’s theatre. It’s old.
Really old.
Built in the late 1800’s for real, live theatrics, it has a genuine stage, thick, velvet curtains, a floor that slopes from back to front and a balcony overhanging the audience for . . . more audience. It is considered the hallowed hall of memory nestled in the quiet center of our sleepy little town.
Sometime in the 1920s, some town bright light conceived the notion of opening up a little hole in a rear wall to poke a projector through and the movie industry was born.
The old projector is still there, sitting in lonely glory in a far corner, shrouded with a great dust cloth. Whilst the more modern replacement has taken place of importance.
I know all this because I used to date the projector man. A beanpole slender boy with a shock of red hair named Billy.
The boy is named Billy. Not the hair. I thought I should clarify.
Ahem . . .
Sooo . . . Saturday. Me and Sally.
And Ryan Reynolds.
Things were going well.
The audience wasn’t huge, but it was enthusiastic. Mostly kids about Sally’s and my age.
My sister and I were sitting in our favourite spot—the front of the upper balcony. Where we could survey the people below, haughtily aloof.
Well, I was going for haughty aloof-ness.
Sally was pretty much just going for the popcorn and the little cylinder of M & M’s that came with her ‘theatre meal’.
A couple of Sally’s friends were sitting below us. Just down the row from them, I spotted a couple of Billy’s friends, Tim and Michael. So the girls’ reluctance to come up and sit with us became suddenly apparent.
Sally had been munching happily for several minutes, her eyes glued to the screen.
“Pssst! Sally!” someone whisper-shouted from below.
“Shhhh!” someone else said.
Sally leaned forward, still chewing. “Huh?”
“Give us some of your M & M’s! My lid wasn’t on and ours fell over and spilled all over the floor!”
“Shhh!” someone said again.
I shuddered to think of what might be on a floor that had been collecting candy and sodas and who-knows-what-else in its 140-year history. I heard that a group of people studying the building went into the basement and found actual stalactites of solidified sugar (from spilled drinks) hanging beneath the stage.
True story.
But I digress . . .
Eyes still on the screen, Sally reached blindly for her M & M’s and tossed them over the rail.
“Hey!” I shouted. “Those were mine!”
“Shhh!” someone said.
Sally clapped a hand over her mouth. “Oops.”
Now you have to know that a normal person would simply acknowledge their mistake and offer to replace.
Not Sally. In the next breath, she had launched herself over the balcony after the airborne candies.
Now she must have realized, partway over, that it's quite a distance to the main floor. Because somewhere in midflight, she managed to reach out and grab the decorative rail fastened to the outer edge of the balcony.
A girl screamed, “Somebody fell out of the balcony!”
“Shhh!” someone else said.
There was a sudden hubbub as the house lights came on.
All eyes were on Sally, hanging from the railing like a limp acrobat on a dead trapeze.
I probably don’t have to tell you that, amid people grabbing Sally’s wrists to keep her from falling, the arrival of the local firemen (fortunately, housed immediately next to the Bijou.) and the dragging in of ladders and rescue equipment, the movie pretty much got forgotten.
No one seemed to mind.
I mean, how can you top that?
It was like a scene out of some fantastical storybook.
Of course, Sally was forbidden from ever setting foot in the balcony again—something we both knew she’d never obey—and sent home.
The two of us arrived in the middle of Mom’s tea party and Sally immediately disappeared.
Mom slowly rose to her feet. “What happened?” she asked a bit breathlessly.
I started to explain. I could almost see Mom’s gossipy friends’ ears growing longer.
Mom noticed it, too. She waved a hand. “Never mind. Just tell Sally I’ll be up later to murder her.”
She didn’t. I thought I’d tell you so you wouldn’t worry.
Yep. Sally lived . . . to make the front page of the local paper.
Again.
  

Each month, Karen of Baking in a Tornado collects and then distributes words.
And we, her enthusiastic followers, craft something meaningful entertaining ambitious from said words.
This month, my words wereacrobat ~ cylinder ~ memory ~ online ~ storybook
And were submitted by my friend, Rena at https://theblogging911.com/blog
We aren't alone.
Zip over and visit the others!

10 comments:

  1. If I were Sally's mom, I'd be on some serious medication, just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just write about her. And I need serious medication!

      Delete
  2. Wow! Diane, you could make a book just out of Sally stories. It sound like the Perils of Pauline! Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What fun! I love writing about Sally. She does the things I only dream about . . .

      Delete
  3. "I'll be up later to murder her" I love that line.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stalactites from candy, haha!
    I once burst a plastic bag of candy at the movies, and they were spattered all over the next 4 or 5 rows, you're welcome, people. My boyfriend was not amused.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I want to see those stalactites! I always wanted to climb down one of those balconies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too! (That part of the story was very true-and very real. Those stalactites were disgusting!)

      Delete

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