By Charles Olafare
Kip Calvin Rides Again. Part 1
Kip Calvin ran towards the Candy Striped Cinema. Feet pounding the pavement. Lungs clutching at thick city air. Lactic acid building up in every fatigued muscle. Oxford shirt and blazer clinging to the sweat on his back.
Sal Satin chased Kip Calvin. His legs carrying him in powerful bounds. His hands cutting through the air, up and then down, as his arms propelled him forward. Sal could keep this pace forever. Kip could feel his body giving up on him.
Claire Cabinet loved working the box office booth, especially late at night. Selling tickets during the day meant slow old folks, pushy families and office types on long lunches.
Past midnight, she got the only type of customers she could stand. The kind that don’t need directions to the bathroom, ask questions and never make small talk. Like silent monks on pilgrimage they came in heads bowed and mouths shut, offering crumpled bank notes to their celluloid god.
The last of the night’s audience had shuffled in and the show was about to start. With her headphones on and a cigarette between her fingers, Claire was in heaven. Her plan was to read for the next hour, maybe make a couple phone calls and try not to fall asleep before the picture was over. Hard work at a place like the Candy Striped Cinema, but she was willing to give it a shot.
Before lighting her cigarette and easing back into her chair, Claire adjusted a crooked handwritten sign in corner of the booth’s window.
DO NOT TAP THE GLASS FOR ATTENTION
Kip Calvin banged on the booth with both fists. “HELLO?”
Claire Cabinet sprung to life, headphones falling off her head as her body jerked forwards. Kip Calvin was slumped against the glass, his laboured breathing making arhythmic clouds of condensation.
“Hey! What the fuck is your problem – can’t you read the sign?”
Kip Calvin shook his head slowly and caught his breath.
“O-of course I can read…C-can’t you fucking see?” He thumbed his hand in the direction of the dark street behind him.
“…Can’t you see?”
All Claire Cavinette could see was an empty street, rows of lampposts, the odd empty car and a faded street sign.
The copy scores 82.7 in the Flesch Reading Ease test