HARDYS INN DANGER by Ann
I looked up at the marquee and smiled knowing this was going to be a great movie, even without ever having seen it. Eddie Cantor’s energetic delivery and expressions are forever cool and entertaining.
The Bayport Bijou is one of those places that’s timeless. It has an atmosphere of anticipation with the promise of laughs from comedies or thrills from mysteries. The comfortable, nice-looking seats, where we were and up in the mezzanine like Biff and his girlfriend, were great for watching movies on the huge screen. The ornately carved walls had a slight curve to them, which attributed to some of the acoustical uniqueness of the theater.
I like our TVs at home and I also enjoy coming to the Bijou. Whether the movie is a ‘talkie’ or silent, you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The Bijou has a piano and an organ so that whichever the best choice for the individual movie showing is, that’s what’s played.
A number of people were here for the matinee. It was really a unique sight seeing so many in period clothing. If I had my camera or my phone, I’d record some video.
I looked over at Iola sitting next to me and smiled at her. She smiled back. I was about to ask her if she wanted anything, but got interrupted.
“Hey, doll, you want me to go get you some refreshments?” a voice on the other side of Iola piped up. Oy. Lou was sitting there. Just great.
“Um,” Iola started to say, looking over at me.
“Don’t worry. I wasn’t going to pinch anything,” Lou said with a serious look on his face. I had a serious look on my face, too!
“Darn straight you’re not going to pinch anything!” I stated firmly, giving the little imp a frown.
“I’ve got a little money,” Lou assured me.
Oh. He meant stealing the refreshments, not pinching Iola. Okay. Glad I hadn’t said more details.
Now I kinda felt bad. I sighed.
“I’ll go get some refreshments.” I took everyone’s orders. As I went by Frank I muttered, “Keep an eye on the squirt.”
He smiled in amusement and patted my back. I walked toward the exit and soon was in the lobby. Huh. Looked different than last time we’d been here. We had been in such a hurry getting in here no one noticed that there must have been some renovations, because the concession area over to the left was blocked off like it was being worked on.
I looked around for Peter, the theater owner and a friend of ours, but didn’t see him. He had to be having a great time with this. With his attention to details, the whole idea of everything looking like back in the 1920s, he would really be appreciating all of this.
I had thought it was a shame the concession area wasn’t ready in time for the event. Then I realized, as I stepped outside, that the authenticity actually got amped up with that. In the 1920s most theater owners discouraged eating snacks in the fancy schmancy movie palace, as they were also called. So they didn’t tend to have concession stands inside. Instead, vendors sold snacks like popcorn and candy outside the theater or from rented store space next door.
Stopping a moment on the sidewalk as I heard my name, I looked to my right. My mom and dad had just crossed the street down a short distance so I hurried over.
“Is this awesome or what?” I exclaimed with a grin.
They smiled back. “An excellent and fun community event,” my dad agreed.
“We rode on just about all of the rides then we decided to come see what was happening downtown here,” my mom told me.
“How’s the new Eddie Cantor movie?” my Dad asked.
I almost did a double-take at the “new” comment, but again, yeah “new” to us. Plus keeping in character with the 1920s thing. “Great so far. I’m on snack duty.”
“How about we get some popcorn to eat while walking around?” Dad suggested to Mom.
“That should tide us over until dinner,” Mom agreed with a smile. To me she said, “We’re eating at the new restaurant, Bennett’s. Do you and the others want to join us?”
“Sounds good.” I reached into my pocket and frowned. No wallet. I’m really glad I checked now instead of when I was getting the snacks.
“What’s wrong?” Mom asked.
“It’s okay. I think I’ve got it figured what happened. Could you let me borrow some money for the refreshments then I could pay you back later?”
“Our treat,” Mom said.
“Thanks, you’re a lifesaver,” I told her.
After I got loaded up with everyone’s orders, I told my parents we’d see them in an hour and a half for dinner. With a wave, they took off, looking like newlyweds. Cool. I grinned and headed back into the theater.
As I walked through the lobby, I considered dumping some of the refreshments on Lou, suspect numero uno for my missing wallet. First I’d have to make sure it was him. After all, innocent until proven guilty. You have to start your investigation with suspects. Another one would be Frank, who ‘borrowed’ my phone earlier. I’m surrounded by jokers.
Surreptitiously, I looked at my two suspects’ faces for shock when I arrived with the snacks. Iola and Callie are certainly capable, but while they could prank me by taking my wallet, I don’t think they would make me go through the humiliation of not having any money right then. I’m pretty sure Frank wouldn’t either. For one thing, he didn’t owe me for a previous prank. For another, I owed him. Lou, on the other hand, in his impish mind, probably figured he wanted to make me pay for out-pickpocketing him earlier. Yeah, new word. Anyway, I had a main suspect and motive. As well as more evidence from that fleeting look of surprise he quickly covered.
I motioned for the faux-innocent faced Lou to come help me. He slid off his seat slowly, probably wondering if he should take off in one direction or another. Finally, he casually walked over. I gave him a big smile and handed him his lemonade and popcorn. He eyed me as he accepted the snack, wondering if he could really not be in trouble. I went with my own super-innocent look. Okay, my attempt at one anyway.
I was still standing, getting ready to hand out refreshments to Iola, Frank, and Callie. It wasn’t easy getting this stuff back here, let me tell you. As I reached the others their snacks, I knew that Lou had done exactly what I suspected he would. He slipped my wallet back in my pocket. So I quickly got it out and put it back in his pocket. That was going to be a big shock to the little gonif/thief.
Then I sat down and enjoyed the rest of the movie, snacks, and making certain I had Iola’s attention and not my ‘rival’.