Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Boys of Crossroads Twin Cinemas

Mrs. King was a sexual predator. Unfortunately, she was not the first or even the second I encountered in my youth. Since we're on the subject of sexual predators I may as well tell you about Jim.

Jim was the manager of Crossroads Twin Cinemas. I'm guessing he was 40ish if not older. He wore a sports coat all the time and drove a big yellow car with a white top. He wanted to appear successful.

I worked at Scoop's, next door to Sir Pizza in the same shopping center. Jim popped in several times a week for a cone. He was friendly and very appreciative of the always prompt and efficient service I provided. Or so I thought.

He said I should work for him and asked how much they paid me. Scoop's had hired me away from Dipper Dan where I made $1.25 an hour with a whopping dollar an hour raise. Jim said he'd give me another dollar an hour raise to work for him.

Working at the movie theater was a big step up for a junior in high school. In addition to the pay increase, I could see movies for free with a date anywhere in Lexington. Welcome to the world of fringe benefits.

Jim played favorites like a virtuoso. Pets got more hours, the most desirable shifts, the best duties and cash bonuses. At least you always knew where you stood.

Whether they were needed or not, Jim was always hiring new ushers. With each new hire the hierarchy changed. The rest of us often got our hours cut to make room on the schedule for the new guy.

Jim was also skimming. Ticket sales were tracked by reporting the starting and ending numbers on the roll of paper tickets. Jim sold his own tickets and pocketed the proceeds. To keep us quiet he gave us cash bonuses.

Unless something really important was going on, you wanted to work Friday and Saturday nights. Because of midnight movies the shift was longer and you got more hours. But that was only part of the reason weekend shifts were so popular.

Jim kept a case or two of beer in the bottom of the ice machine. We couldn't start drinking until we closed the concession stand after the last movie started. The second it did the party was on.

Once the concession stand was clean the girls were dismissed. Pets stayed with Jim to close things up. He had an 8mm projector and a diverse collection of dirty movies in his office. He and his pet(s) watched porn on the closed door to his office while they waited for the last movie to end.

Jim liked me but I never reached the highest tier. I wasn't his type. I knew about the 8mm projector and the porn but was never invited to watch. Fine by me.

Eventually he left me or another trusted employee alone at the theater while he and his current pet took the cash bag to the overnight deposit at the bank across the street. They were often gone an hour or longer.

Years later I sometimes saw him cruising the block around the gay bar. He had the same car so I know it was him. The street hustlers all waved in a friendly way as he drove by, like they knew him well.

Unlike my scoutmaster and Mrs. King, Jim was careful. I never heard a word about him touching or trying to touch anyone. Maybe he never did. Anything is possible.

No comments:

Follow CrotchetyMan on Twitter