He sat there in a room full of people from ever walk of life. It was a gathering of people who liked Star Wars. He saw people of all kinds. He saw the people who dressed up as characters from the movie. He thought they may have a screw loose. He thought dressing up and believing that you were a Jedi, or a Sith or even a storm trooper who actually had rank and squads like in the military. He was in the military, these guys just pretend. Then he saw the some what normal people. The ones who wear plain clothes, but who talk at nausea about the movie, and not just the stuff like scenes, but how the ships would travel, how light sabers would work and the such.
He was a Star Wars fan since he was a little kid. He watched all the movies, collected some of the toys before he went into the service. Now he just appreciate the movies for what they were.
He was at a small independent theater called “the 5:10.” it was a one screen theater. They had a small bar with a domestic and the local micro brew on tap. He had a whiskey while everyone else was appletinis and mud slides. The fufu drinks people drink today cause it’s fashionable. He wasn’t fashionable. Tonight’s screening was special. It was and original copy of Star Wars. Where Han just blasted the green guy instead of softening it up with them shooting at the same time. It is what made Han Solo a bad ass.
He went into the theater and grabbed a seat before everyone else came in. He preferred to sit all the way in the back. This was for several reasons. First, you aren’t straining your neck to look up if you set real close. Second, it was always the cleanest place. Because when people spill there drinks or throw their popcorn it is always going sown hill to the front. Then there is the last reason, no one talking behind you. That annoyed him the most when he went to the movies.
The crowd has settled in. Their light sabers lighting up the room. A tall, skinny man has walked up to the front of the theater. He has a mega phone to get over everyone’s talking. The man begins to speak,”May I have your attention for just a moment?” The crowd got quite and sat down giving their attention.
“I would like to thank you all for coming out tonight for this special showing of Star Wars from the original print. I would ask all of you to please turn off your light sabers for the duration of the movie. After the movie the bar will be open and join us with Dee Jay Nerf Herder till 1am. Next weekend we will be watching Blade Runner for our third weekend of SciFi Month. As you know we will be open Friday Saturday and Sunday for two showings a day at 5 and 9pm with a Dee Jay on Saturday night for the after movie party. Please enjoy the movie.”
The man left the front and left the theater. The lights went down and the crowed cheered in anticipation. Then the 20th century Fox logo came up and went down. Then those infamous words cam on the screen that all Star Wars fans know, “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” Then BAM, you see the big logo and the music of John Williams. And that begins a two hour journey into the imagination and the memories of childhood.
Two hours pass. And then the ending credits roll and the crowd stands and cheers, for they all were happy in different ways the movie touched them. There was not a sad person in the room. But he was still lonely. He didn’t fit in he felt. He didn’t dress up and he didn’t know everything about how the Death Star’s gravity worked. He was alone in a crowed room. He decided that he would go have a drink or two then leave.
He went to the bar and sat. He called for the bartender. He was a short guy with curly blonde hair. He was wearing a black faded Star Wars shirt. The bartender asked him,” Same as before guy?” He said, “Yeah, make it a double of top shelf Johnny Walker Blue label.” The bartender looked at him with a half cocked smile, “You got it. That will be 25 dollars.” He went and got him his drink.
When the bartender came back He gave the bartender 30 dollars and told him to keep the change. The bartender said thanks. He asked him, “When did a double of Blue label get so expensive, It used to only be 15 bucks.”
“Inflation my friend. I too remember the good ol’ days when you could get a draft pitcher for a 5 spot, not it;s 8 dollars at most places. Got to love an economy when so one has a job and the government is screwing the pooch on fixing it,” replied the bartender.
“You seem to know a little about it man, You trying to get into politics.” he asked.
“Yeah, I lost my job at the Metal pressing plant down town. So now I am getting an associates in politic science. Though it is more of an art than a science. Trying to be part of the solution than the problem.”
“Well good luck man. You going to run for congress or something,” he asked.
“Nothing that big, at least not at first. Maybe the board of education or city council. Them maybe mayor.” the bartender told him.
“Can’t be any worse than the guy in there now.” he replied with a sarcastic smirk.
“Yeah, you are right about that,” said the bartender as he walked away.
Then he went over to the little display of replica weapons from the movies. There are light sabers and different guns the storm troopers use. Most of the stuff looks like models some one put together and priced way too high to pay for he thought. Then he seen the Han Solo blaster. He was a fan of Han. It looked pretty good, but he has seen better copies. The a woman walked up next to him. He noticed her out of the corner of his eye.
He pretended that he didn’t see her, but he was checking her out. She wasn’t dressed up, she had no light sabers or anything. She wasn’t talking about the science of Star Wars. She was about 5’2” black hair and brown eyes. He noticed her smile as she looked at the blaster too. Then she spoke to him.
She said, “That is no where near the nicest Han blaster. The one in the ‘Celebration 3’ was way better. It was and original replica.”
“Really, you were there. I was there too, it was in Indy. I had to switch around my leave from my unit to go,” he replied.
“Yeah, I don’t remember seeing you there,” she responded.
“Well I don’t remember you, and I always remember a cute smile,” he retorted.
“So, what brings a girl like you to a place like this?” He asked her.
“What do you mean?”
“Well usually girls who look like you don’t come to nerd conventions like this, unless they have a nerd for a boyfriend or are baby sitting some kid. So, again, what is a girl like you doing in a place like this?”
“Well, no nerd boyfriend, and I am not babysitting any kids. I am here cause I love the movies, and how often do you get to see the original movies on the big screen. I mean it is in it’s best form. I mean Han just blast him in the cantina. It just set the mode for the film,” she explained.
Awe struck, that there was another person who had his point of view about the films and that it was a female was even more mind boggling. A long pause from him ensued,
“Yes I know, You can’t believe I’m like you and the fact that I am female is out from left field.”
Nervously he asked her,” Wanna get a drink?”
“Already have one fly boy.” She replied with the Princess Leia to Han Solo exchange.
He smirked in embarrassment. Then asked her what her name was. She replied, “Lauren. I didn’t catch yours.”
“I didn’t throw it Princess.” he replied in his best Han Solo swagger.
“Mmmm.. Mister Mysterious. So are you going to tell me your name or you going to make me guess?” she said curiously.
“Go a head an guess.” he told her.
“Well, you were in the military, you are about six foot tall. But you are a Star Wars fan. So, I’m thinking…. Butch.” she said with a smile as she got a little closer to him and put her hand on his arm. He, with a smile of his own said, “No, guess again.”
“Hmm. How about James Buchanan, They called you Bucky.” she said jokingly as she is now hanging on his shoulder. “No.” he said laughing slightly as he took a drink from his whiskey. He turned toward her and replied, “I love the ‘Captain America’ reference. It was my favorite comic growing up. But you are some what close. See my dad loved the comics when he was growing up, so, he named me Steven Anthony. Steven after Cap’ and Anthony after Iron Man. It is part of what I did in life. Joined the army and went into electronics research with my GI Bill education.”
“Wow, a soldier and a scientist. You building your own Iron Man suit with a giant star on it.” she jokingly responded.
“I wish. Not yet at least. I just got my degree and going to be starting work here for the government in about 3 weeks. Just getting in some free time cause it will be short to come by once I get to where I’m going, Where ever that is… You wanna get another drink.” he slily asked. She agreed and they went back to the bar and continued to talk and have a few drinks. Two hours past and the cinema owner came over the loud speakers and told everyone it was last call for the party. He also reminded everybody of the Blade Runner showing next weekend. He also made the bad line of ‘Don’t forget to tip the bartender and DJ.’
Steve enjoyed Lauren’s company so much that he asked her if she wanted to go to the dinner down the road. She explained, “I’d love too, but I have to go home soon because I have to be somewhere at 10 am. So no funny business. No cheap moves.”
He laughed,” I promise not to long and no cheap moves. But that doesn’t mean I won’t use the expensive moves I learned while I was in Italy.” She gave a funny little laugh and she said “Alright, let’s go.” And the left and went down the road to the dinner….
But they were not alone!
Lauren and Steve walked side by side down the street to a small dinner called RJ’s. It looked like a greasy spoon but was known for it’s southern soul food cuisine. They specialize in Chicken and Waffles. They walked to the dinner, laughing and giggling going over the finer points of Star Wars lore. She hangs on his arm and then pulls away with his hand and he playfully pulls her back. They go on and on, all the while being followed by a man in the shadows. A medium size man, wearing a black suit and tie. Defiantly not Armani. Government issued. He followed him, but not close enough to be seen.
Lauren and Steve walked into the dinner. She told Steve to get a table while she went to the restroom to powder her nose. He got a table by the window. He ordered them a couple of Cokes.
Steve sat at the table looking down the hall to the restroom waiting for Lauren to come out of the restroom. He fixed his hair, and checked his breath. He was nervous. He sipped on his Coke. He looked down and realized it was Pepsi. He looked up and realized they didn’t serve Coke here.
Steve then looked out the window and thought he seen the breath of someone coming from a dark ally across the street. He strained to look and didn’t see anything. He thought maybe he was just paranoid from drinking and being nervous with what might happen with Lauren. He put it out of his mine.
Lauren exited the restroom and strolled down the isle. Steve was fixated on her, He looked slowly up from he blue shoes, to her tan Capris, up her Darth Vader tee shirt, and her brown wavy hair. He took her all in. She came to the table and sat down. “Wow, I haven’t had someone check me out like that since I broke out of boarding school and went to town. You okay?” She said to him laughingly.
Steve, coming out of the trance he was in said, “Um, sorry. It has been a while since I see someone as beautiful and as intriguing as you.” Lauren laughed.
“I bet,” she said, “being in the Army with all those guys. Seeing a girl like me must trip you up.” she said playfully with a smirk. In Steve’s mind he agreed with her. Most of his time was in infantry combat. There were no woman there. Only time he seen a girl was during off duty time but that was usually spent studying Electronics and Electrical Physics. He didn’t have much time to chase girls. He had classes to take through distance learning from the Ohio State University.
“Yes it did. Never had free time in the Army with my studies and all.” He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She sat down and picked up her menu. “Let’s order,”she said.
The waitress came over. She was very tired and looked like life had drug her all over. She seemed like she only put the smile on here face like it was just a token jester of politeness. Her hair was a straggly pulled back and was a blend of silver, gray, and brown. Her voice cracked and was gravelly from years of hard smoking when she ask,”What will it be tonight kids?” Lauren ordered a cheeseburger and fries with lettuce and tomato, no onion. Steve order a Ruben with onion rings. The waitress took the order back to the cook, and they were alone again.
“A lot can be said by what you order,” she said making small talk.
“Oh yeah! What does my plate tell you?” He asked.
“Well, first you got us a coal, taste like Pepsi. This says you are a simple man, low risk taking. But then you throw a twist with the Ruben and onion rings. This says that you know what you like and you like different than the norm at times when it suits you. The onion rings themselves say you are confident in you breath.” They both giggled at the onion ring comment.
“Let me try,” he said. As he was about to start he caught the glimpse of a man’s shadow again. And as soon as it appeared it vanished.
“You okay. I thought you were going to analyze me.”
“Yeah, I thought I seen something, might be my imagination. Anyways. You drank the Pepsi, so that say you trust me enough no to slip something in your drink. You got a Cheeseburger and fries. That tells me you aren’t Jewish because you have dairy and meat touching. And the fries say that you want to be part of the in crowd. Also, the no onions means you are worried about your breath and your skin later, which for the most part are unfounded beliefs that a couple rings of onions would do all that.”
She was taken aback a little but kept her composure when her phone rang. She picked it up. It was a red iPhone. She looked at it and put it back in her pocket. “You get a text?” he asked politely. “Is it your boyfriend?” he asked.
“No, but in a sense they are,” she spoke as her smile ran away from her face, her voice now had an serious tone and an accent. Russian, Steve thought. “You must come with me, you are just the man we are looking for. Let us go.”
“Who the hell are you really? You are going to kidnap me, in a public place like this? You got some bal-…” Steve stated, at that moment she pulled out a small caliber pistol. It was a Derringer. It had maybe 6 shots he thought. “Okay, we do this your way, but you are going to regret this in the end.”
“I already do. I already do.”
So they slowly stood up and started walking to the door. There were about 15 people. Steve was stuck till they made the door but their were still some college kid walking around. He couldn’t risk someone getting hurt.
They made the door and started down the street. “Just keep walking like nothing is wrong. Smile. I don’t need our cover blown.”
“Why are you doing this? I am not that important.” Steve said. “Even if you get away with this, what value could I be.”
“I don’t know anymore than you. I am just told to get and I get.” she said with a sadness in her voice. “If I don’t, well that is not important. Turn up here.” They go up to the right.
Out of the corner of Steve’s eye he sees the shadow again. This time he sees a face and he gives him the shush sign with a finger over his mouth and a signal to go alone with her. Steve turned to look at Lauren and turned back and the man was gone.
“Get in the car.” she ordered. It was a silver Mustang Cobra. He went to open her door. “Niet. What are you doing? You will be driving.”
“I know, I was just opening your door Lauren, if that is your name?”
“We get in at the same time. And thank you for opening door. Forgot about American manners.”
“What, guys don’t open doors for ladies in where ever the hell you are from?”
“Russia, St Petersburg. But no they don’t. Men are hard and don’t prisedat to women like you American’s. Now get in.” She commanded.
They got in and the keys were in the ignition. He started the car and pulled out. “Where to Lauren?” he said smugly.”Perhaps to get a bowl of borsch.”
“I don’t like beets. Just drive. I wish to get this over. Get on the freeway and head east.” They get on and start driving.
Steve starts to speed and gets up to 85. “Slow down, I do not want cops to pull us over.” as she pointed the gun at his head. Steve slowed back down to 65. “Get off here and go down E79th St.”
Steve knew this part of town was mainly low rent apartment. He had lived here in Cleveland all his life. He noticed another car following them. He kept driving like he didn’t see them there. But she was very observant and told him to run the light.
“I’m not running a red light. Might draw a cop’s attention.”
“You will do it or I shall blow your head clean off.”
“With that gun, no, it will just go in my brain an roll around, and this isn’t Pulp Fiction, hand guns don’t remove heads. Two, you obviously need to take me alive or I would have already been dead.”
She slammed her foot on the accelerator. “Go, Damn You!!!” They ran the red light and caused two cares to crash into our tail.
“Now, do as I say.” She commanded He knew that he needed to get away or things were going to get worse and in a hurry.