the Hialeah Hot House
Dayngr, this story is being told just for you, dear. 🙂
A few years ago, ok, almost 10 years ago, I was living in Ireland and one of my best friends developed a minor infatuation (read: obsession) with Russell Crowe. These two things would seem unrelated, but in my world they were not. The reason is simple. That is the year that Gladiator was in the movie theatres. As anyone who has ever lived abroad knows, American movies are always released a few months later overseas. Heather (and I would normally change the names to protect the innocent but a) Heather is far from innocent and proud of it, b)I know she would not have a problem with me telling this story, and c) I already asked her) made me promise that when I came home to visit I would go with her to see the movie. I think she had already seen the damned thing 5 or 6 times by then. The only problem was that by the time I got back to Miami it was already out of most of the movie houses. However, in her single-minded pursuit of Russell, Heather tracked down the only theatre in all of Miami still showing the film. (She’s good like that.) It was playing at a dollar movie theatre in Hialeah.
Admittedly, we should have known.
After spending a good portion of the early part of the day driving around and trying to locate this movie theatre, we should have known. But we ignored all the signs and went to a Miami Subs for lunch to kill time before the show began.
When we got to the movie theatre it was pretty much what you would expect; it was dank, dark, smelled of mold, old popcorn, sweat and one other unidentifiable element. We bought our tickets and sat down on the slightly damp seats and, while waiting for the show to begin, looked around. There was no one else in the theatre, hardly surprising for a mid-week middle of the afternoon show.
The lights went down and the movie started and for the first 10 minutes or so I was engrossed with the film. Then the late comers arrived. At first I didn’t really pay attention to them; someone always comes into a movie late. After awhile it started to seem like a lot of people were coming in late. Then we noticed that those who did arrive late were not staying long. Sure, when a movie ticket only costs a dollar one undoubtedly feels less compelled to stick it out if the movie sucks, but even though I wasn’t a huge Russell fan I was enjoying it. I didn’t think it was crappy enough to walk out on. More interested in watching this movie about which I had been hearing for months, I tried my best to ignore the high traffic movie aisle.
I don’t remember who noticed first, but it was certainly because the couple who had just entered the theatre had chosen to sit in the same row in which we sat across the center aisle from us. I recall it was a scene between Lucilla and Commodus when we did notice. We looked over and saw that the couple who had sat down across from us were … not quite watching the movie. Well, he may have been, but it’s doubtful. She certainly wasn’t since I guarantee that the screen was not reflected in the metal of his zipper. Yes, our movie theatre neighbors were not there to see the film. She was on her knees in front of his seat giving him a blow job. Oh my. Not quite what I had expected.
We stared in drop-jawed shock and hilarity for a few moments as the woman, who we now noticed was quite scantily clothed, finished up and they both got up and walked out. Heather and I looked at each other and started to laugh. However, now that we were more aware of our surroundings we began to take greater note of the other people in the theatre and soon discovered that one couple down near the front were sharing a seat, so were several others. Each one of these “couples” only stayed a few minutes and then got up to leave.
Then some more of our surroundings became clear. Eeewww, the seats we were sitting in were damp! Well, at least we could now identify that other previously unidentified odor. Oh my, the floors of movie theatres are always sticky, but this time the stick took on a whole other meaning.
Needless to say I hardly noticed any of the rest of the movie.
I also learned an important lesson that day. Dollar movie theatres are cheaper than hotel rooms by the hour, especially when you don’t require a full hour.