The Speech Will Be Televised

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Speech Will Be Televised

“I often have long conversations all by myself, and I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word that I am saying.” –Oscar Wilde

Percival fiddled with the pesky clump of hair at the back of his head that refused to cooperate.  Most of his black hair lay flat and dormant, but this patch had a rebellious nature that would not be tamed.  No matter how much he wetted it or tried to comb more dormant hair over it, the little flag of insubordination waved boldly. Taking stock of his appearance in the mirror, Percival silently prayed that the people would not notice the tuft.  He had a hard enough time commanding respect as it was.

The task that awaited Percival was not a glamorous one.  There were some in the audience that would outright mock him.  Percival refused to take his role lightly.  He felt that he provided a service to those in attendance.  He believed that his speech should be as professional as possible and that people should know what was expected of them.  To him, theater etiquette was incredibly important.

Percival felt the heft of the flashlight weighing heavily yet comfortably in his right hand.  He had often considered letting his left hand carry the burden of illumination.  His dominant limb would then be free to deflect the napkins and pieces of popcorn that frequently made their way towards his face.   However, he felt it was vital to always have the flashlight at ready.  He was more adept with his right hand and therefore he could shine the light on any troublemakers that much faster.  He clicked the button quickly as his thumb merrily bounced along.  He repeated the action.  The lamp lit up, then doused itself again and again.  The obvious attempts by others to sabotage his weapon of enforcement had been thwarted.

Now was the time for action.  Percival tucked in his polo shirt, adjusted the collar, and gripped his flashlight that much tighter.  He took a deep breath, opened the door with his left hand, and stepped into the next room.  The crowd was small, but Percival was used to the low attendance.  No matter how few the numbers, there were always a few hecklers in the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen”, he began as he placed himself between the seats and the screen.  He clicked on his flashlight and shone it in the faces of the audience.

“Aack”, protested a voice.  “I thought you took care of the flashlight.”

“I did”, a woman responded.  “He must have found the batteries.  And the light bulb; it’s actually rather impressive.”

“Why?  Why do we go through this every frickin’ time”, the first audience member asked.

“Stella, don’t talk that way to your father”, her mother replied.  “Honey, she does have a point.  Don’t you think you take this a little too far?”

“No”, Percival responded.  He turned off the flashlight and continued in his informational lecture.  “We’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend tonight, but there are a few housekeeping notes we would like to address before we begin the presentation.”

“Ugghhh”, Stella moaned as she made a show of throwing her head and shoulders onto the empty pillow beside her.  “Every.  Lousy.  Time.”

“Honey, it is a little late”, Dawn offered.  “Maybe we could skip it this one time?”

“First and foremost, we would ask that all cellular devices, cameras, and gaming machines be silenced at this time.”

“No.   No no no.  Hank McNigh is supposed to call me.  We’re going out to the Howlaween Dance, Daddy.  All my friends are totally jealous.  He’s on the tennis team, just like you were!”

Stella’s pleas fell on unrelenting ears.  “I was on the lacrosse team”, Percival replied.

“Oh.  Well, still.  I mean, it’s important.  What’s he going to do when he calls me up to ask me out and I don’t answer?”

“One would hope that the young individual understands the complicated procedures involved in leaving a voicemail.  Besides, if he likes you that much, I think that he should ask you out in person.  Not over the phone like some cowardly lout.”

“Mommmmmm.”

“Percy, be nice.  The boy could be terribly pleasant but he’s just shy.  You’ve raised a very strong-willed daughter.”

“Regardless, I’m still going to have to ask for all electronics to be turned off before we begin our feature.”

“Mom?”

Dawn looked at her daughter’s pleading face.  She looked to her husband and gauged the amount of patience he had left after his day of work.  Then she returned her attention back to Stella and wore a look of resignation.  “I don’t think you’re going to win this one, kiddo.”

“Finnnnnne”, Stella said as she pulled her phone from her pocket and pushed the big circular button.  A happy little tune sang goodbye to its owner and went to sleep.

“Thank you”, Percival said with a nod.  “We would also like to remind those in attendance that this evening’s movie will not be available in 3D.  We are aware that the movie has been advertised as such, but seeing as how no 3D glasses were handed out to any patrons tonight and our theater has never been equipped with 3D technologies, we felt it necessary to remind our visitors of the fact at this time.

“Once”, Dawn said as she mockingly threw her hands in the air.  “I asked if we were seeing a 3D movie once.  Not since then.  You know, like how a certain someone once forgot to put on the emergency brake at the lake and our car drifted into the water?  Then we stood around for five hours while the tow truck pulled it out and tried to dry off the inner workings?  I don’t bring that up every time you reach for the car keys, do I?”

“I wonder what Hank’s parents are like”, Stella said to no one in particular.  “I bet he doesn’t have forced family nights like these.”

“Finally, we must strongly discourage any talking during the movie.  There are no intermissions, so we ask that all questions be held until the film has concluded.  We understand that sometimes there are confusing moments.  However we offer that those answers might come later and folks should simply wait until the movie is over.  Talking over the movie and disturbing those around you is hardly productive.”

“Does this mean we’re watching a documentary?  Hank’s going to think I’m rejecting him because I’m watching another global warming preach-fest?  We get it.  It’s hot outside.  Use less gas.”

“Finally, we would like to remind the younger members of our audience that sometimes older patrons become amorous during a presentation.  Any kissing or groping is entirely appropriate and is to be expected by those around them.”

“Percy, I wish you’d stop saying that.  You’re going to give certain people ideas that I’d rather she didn’t dwell on.”

“Dawn, she has her tongue pierced.  I’m guessing she’s already tried it out on a boy or two.”

“Percy!”

“Nah, Mom.  He’s right.  I’ve got my kissing technique all down.  It’s cool.”

“I can’t believe this”, the mother replied.  “How long have you been making out with boys?”

“I’m not telling you that, it’s personal!”

“So if you’re out kissing boys, then why is it so bad when your father and I kiss on the couch?”

“I don’t know; because you’re old.”

“How heartwarming to hear what my daughter thinks of me”, Percival commented.  “Now we begin our movie for the night, ‘Grumpy Old Men.’  Thank you for coming.”

“Oh fun”, Stella replied sarcastically.  “An old people movie.  If they start talking about, ‘The Last Great Generation’ again, I’m outta here.”

Percival placed his flashlight on the table behind the couch.  He walked up to cushion in the middle of the couch and sat down.  Dawn, seated on his left, handed him the bowl of popcorn.  Mumbling some phrase about wanting to be closer to the food, Stella scooted sideways and put her head on her dad’s shoulder.  The business of the day to day would come for them soon enough.  For now, they were happy to share in the humble activity.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

3 Responses to The Speech Will Be Televised

  1. s1ngal says:

    all and I mean ALL movie-goers MUST be trained this way…. 🙂 lovely story!!

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