The CityPlex was dense with movie-goers. BEING and Music queued for soda, snacks.
Alone with the crowd in the vast lobby, Plantman watched the masses part like water for a man. Maverick, not with or of the crowd, beyond: The Manager of The CityPlex, unfazed, perhaps energized, by hectic surroundings, commanded Ushers to their tasks. He nodded: the popcorn-girls popped corn, peddled soda, candy, treats. His maroon uniform and golden epaulets. His grim determination. His consummate professional of. Man in charge of. Master of. Environment. Dedication laser focus; indifferent to the hordes. Manager of burdens, hard experience, not much older than Plantman himself. What would drive a man his age to such preternatural mastery and—control?
“This group shall pass that group shall pass another. Stop. Don’t pass another. Stop. Don’t pass another.”
It was The Manager’s decision and his alone which group would be guided through which entrance and when. Ushers snapped to, guided groups, confirmed tickets. Like sailors, driven to deliverance by some hoary Captain’s ghost.
So many entrances, so many screens; so many ones to guide. The Manager was master. Antithesis of the bureaucratic every-move-by-fear-of-those-above. Owners of theaters, distributors of films, Big Media itself was above the Manager, yet he answered to no one.
The CityPlex was his, his life alone.
The Manager unbuttoned his collar and unleashed a mad diatribe against all who enter his theater, his pure machinery of CityPlex. People, at best, were a necessary burden. He was a burdened man. He dreamed of The CityPlex running like clockwork in emptiness, films projected in vacant theaters. Audiences irked him. He loathed their enjoyment of the films.
“The films are ugly, tasteless,” he said. “The symmetry, beauty, order of The CityPlex is all that is worth seeing. My CityPlex. Rescued from abomination.”
“Nothing? Nothing?” Plantman asked.
“Perhaps, if one movie were made, one special film,” said The Manager. “And the seats and floors were not sticky, as in other theaters, and the employees worked hard, their uniforms pressed, hair freshly shampooed, The CityPlex would experience its finest hour, and all who saw this film would come away enlightened, rather than dull-eyed and bloated with soda, popcorn, sweets. Perhaps, if this film were projected on all screens always, The CityPlex would achieve its true purpose, its ultimate being. CityPlex Sublime. As is, the movie-goers are sheep grazing dead grass, The CityPlex a slaughter-house of entertainment.”
“What film?” asked Plantman. “What film might this be?”
The Manager slipped from reverie, became abrupt.
“I do not know. Such a film, to my knowledge, has not yet been produced.”
He briskly excused himself. An usher led Plantman, Music and BEING to their seats.