Marlene Goes to the Movies – K. Uffelman

Marlene Goes to the Movies – K. Uffelman

She thought she needed a kitchen remodel, but what she really needed was a
break from her kitchen. And a break from her dreary walk-up and her crazy
teenage son and her lame boyfriend Al who wasn’t so bad, after all, but
also, not so good.

“Muh–ther?”

“Yes, Arthur?

“What’s for dinner? Round steak, perhaps? I am in need of victuals.”

Arthur flipped a cape that seemed to be made out of a table cloth over one
shoulder. The table cloth looked familiar.

“Stop it with the corny accent, okay? What’s wrong with you? And is that
my good table cloth?”

“Uh no, I don’t think so. It’s a cape.”

Arthur gave her one of those looks that made her feel totally incompetent
to parent.

“There’s no dinner. The oven is on the fritz again, and I haven’t done the
grocery shopping.”

“Wasn’t Al supposed to have fixed the oven?”

“No. I don’t know. He said he would, but it’s not fixed, is it? In any
case, he’s taking care of his sick aunt tonight, so he doesn’t have time
to fix our oven.”

“Well, if you’re not going to roast me some round steak, what are you
going to do?”

The impertinence!

“I think I might go see a movie.”

“A movie? You don’t go to movies!”

“I do so!”

“Muh-ther, Muh-ther. Name the last movie you’ve seen.”

“Eat some cereal. I’ll be home in a while. DON’T GO OUT.”

“Okay, okay. Like, take some hormone pills or something.”

Marlene grabbed her coat and left. There, so easy. She listened for a
moment out in the hallway and heard the bang of the cupboard door. Arthur
pretended not to listen to her, but she knew he was pouring cereal into a
bowl, just as she suggested. He wasn’t a bad kid, after all. Not good, but
not bad.

She wished Arthur would get a job, or some friends. She wished she had
some friends, actually. She had Al, it was true. He showed up once or
twice a week for dinner, and made vague attempts to act fatherly toward
Arthur. He was a nice guy, right? He was taking care of his ailing aunt
wasn’t he? What could be nicer than that? A little romance, that’s what.
That would be nicer. There never had been much with Al. Marlene and Al had
sex on occasion, when he first started coming around, but that hadn’t
happened in a very long time. She wondered which she had done most
recently, seen a movie or had sex. What was the last movie she had seen?

She sat down on the bench inside the covered bus stop outside of their
apartment building. It was drizzling and she really didn’t have any idea
where she was going. When the bus came rolling up she climbed on, sitting
near the back with the rowdy kids, leaning her temple on the damp window
and watching the buildings and people speed by. Maybe she’d go to the
Egyptian Theatre and see what was playing …it was still there right? She
hadn’t been in ages, probably since Arthur was a little kid, or maybe
before he was born? Had it been that long? She remembered admiring the
beautiful proscenium, the rich velvet curtains and the old-fashioned
seats. Was that the last place she’d seen a movie? Couldn’t have been!

“Olive. Broadway and Olive.”

We must be by Dick’s Drive-In, she thought, and wiped the steam off of the
window to get a better look. She used to take Arthur there for ice cream
cones. There was Dick’s, just as she remembered it. And, also, walking by,
was Al. With a woman who didn’t look ill or like an aunt.

That Al – not so bad, and not so good, either. If only he would’ve fixed
her oven. She sighed a little too dramatically and one of the rowdy kids
at the back of the bus gave her the eye. One of those looks that made her
feel totally incompetent to ride the bus.

She got off the bus and walked in the general direction she’d seen Al go
with his rather young and healthy-looking aunt. They must have been
walking at a good pace (not what she’d expect of the gouty crone Al had
described), because she’d lost them in the crowd outside of Dick’s. But
she was heading in the right direction for the Egyptian Theater so it
seemed as good a route as any.

She’d left the apartment without a hat, and the drizzle had now turned to
serious rain, her bangs damp against her forehead.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on November 3, 2014, in Fiction, Seattle, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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