In the 161st Erick Davidson story, Erick and Chris's criticism of a movie are overheard by its director.
“I’m really sorry,” Erick says to Chris as he slowly walks out of the bathroom of the Wilshire Theatre in the Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles – a small and independent old school movie house with two screens. It’s a far cry from a growing number of entertainment complexes in town that offer an experience instead of the stale popcorn, dirty carpets, sticky floors and faint smell of feet that Erick prefers from his movie theatres.
Erick had taken Chris to see The Price Paid, a self-funded film about a local politician who falls in love with a man during the height of a heated election campaign. Erick had high hopes for the film.
“You should be sorry. That movie was terrible.” Chris replies as they walk out of the theatre and down Wilshire Boulevard to a nearby bus stop.
“At least you didn’t pay for it.”
“I don’t care. I still want my money back.”
“This was worse than Stepmom.”
“But that’s actually a good movie.”
“It’s a really good movie. I went with a few friends of mine from high school when we were all home during our junior year of college. But you know how Susan Sarandon’s character wound up with breast cancer toward the end?”
“Well, one of my friend’s mothers had just passed away from it.”
“Ouch. I assume you didn’t know that was a subplot.”
“You assume correctly, but at the end of the movie I was talking about how great it was while she’s standing in front of me awash in tears. And then my dumb ass suggests we all go to a diner.”
“Wow. I imagine you’re not going to come out looking good in this story.”
“Nope. And it doesn’t get any better. Kristine tells me she is taking Marie, the one whose mother had died, home so my still apparently very dumb ass asks if we’re all going there instead of the diner.”
“What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t thinking. The only thing on my mind was going to a diner because that’s what we always did after seeing a movie. Cameron finally hit me upside the head and told me to stop while I was behind. I looked at everyone for a moment and finally put two-and-two together.”
“Then Marie wisely decided to end your friendship with her.”
“Nope. We’re still friends. But I’ll never figure out how she forgave me for that one….especially after I kept laughing at her mother’s wake.”
Chris puts his head in hands for a moment. “What’s funny about a wake?” he asks.
“Nothing. That’s why I kept laughing. Plus, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to pay my respects to Marie and her mother, but that clearly didn’t happen.”
“And she didn’t get mad at you for that?”
“I’m sure someone there did, but she understood. I kept apologizing, but that just made me laugh even more.”
“And then she asked you to leave.”
“Nope, but Kristine decided that she had better drive me home.”
“Wise move on her part.”
“Yeah, and then a few years later her mom died.”
Chris drops his head. “I hope you didn’t go to wake.”
“No. I went to the funeral. But I cried hysterically.”
“That’s pretty funny,” a voice from behind says.
“Thanks,” Erick replies.
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation,” the voice says.
“It’s okay,” Chris responds. “His voice tends to carry.”
Erick narrows his eyes at Chris before continuing. “And not to trivialize the Stepmom incident, but this was even worse. I knew what the story was about, but how come it seemed like neither the screenwriter nor the director did?”
Chris nods his head. “And what was with those constant close-up shots of them holding hands? They must have needed filler since they only told about thirty-eight minutes of actual story over the course of two hours.”
Erick chuckles and then continues. “They didn’t even tell the story they set out to, but found time to tell about five others. And they spent way too much time on him hiding who he was and struggling for self-acceptance. So we didn’t even get back to the actual story until the movie was almost over.”
Chris laughs. “Oh, and the whining. ‘He has no time for me.’ Boo-hoo. You try mounting a political campaign.”
Erick laughs even harder. “‘I want your time…and your heart.’ Really? Either support him, wait for him or leave him. It’s simple as that.”
“It’s like he wanted to be the man’s wife. Have your dress dry-cleaned for the re-election campaign, but he can’t just show up and expect to be treated like Michelle O.”
Erick shakes his head and waves his hands. “He’d make a horrible Michelle O. Whiny, bitchy and self-absorbed is not an endearing quality in a first lady – even on the local level.”
“It was just horrible.”
“I feel bad for the actors.”
“Not all of them. Some of them sucked and deserved to be in that piece of dreck. But the guy playing the politician was good.”
“His name was Spencer Davis,” the voice from behind says. “Did you guys just see The Price Paid?”
“Yes,” Erick answers. “I hope you didn’t waste your money on it like we did.”
“Only fifteen thousand dollars. I wrote, produced and directed it. My name is Don Calvina.”
Erick and Chris stare embarrassingly at each other.
“We’re very sorry that you heard all of that,” Chris says after a short silence.
“I’m sorry you didn’t like it,” Don replies. “But you two clearly don’t know much about film.”
“We know enough about film to know that if yours came with a money back guarantee, we would have all seen it for free,” Erick retorts.
“I actually saw it for free,” Chris adds. “He paid. So I disliked it a lot less than he did.”
Don reaches into his pocket, pulls out two quarters and hands one to Erick and the other to Chris. “This is how much I think your opinions are worth,” he says as he saunters off.Erick and Chris smile at Don’s audacity as they watch him walk off. “Well, at least we got some of your money back,” Chris says as he hands his quarter to Erick.
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