Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace

Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonathan Friesen
all your changes into my original. It’s a whole new script! I mean, I don’t recognize the half of it.”
    â€œAnd you’re blaming
me
for that?” She peered at the clock. Five minutes to showtime. She stood and looked out the window. Easily one hundred customers.
Of all the days
.
    Chloe placed the reel and the piece of snapped, kinked film onto the splicing table. “This will take thirty minutes,” she mumbled. “Maybe forty.” She swept sweat from her forehead. “Think, Chloe.”
    â€œWho cares about that? What about this?”
    Nick threw Chloe’s draft in her direction. Pages filled the air and fluttered onto the splicing table, covering the movie reel.
    â€œWhy are you doing this to me?” Chloe threw up her arms. “Is it your goal to make my life officially misera —?”
    Behind her, the damaged reel rattled beneath the blanket of papers.
    â€œWhat the — Oh, where’s Streak when I need her? Don’t suppose that super dog can catch a mouse! I hate mice!” Chloe carefully lifted the sheets, and Grandpa’s full mantra floated through her head:
    Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace — where dreams come true, and nightmares too
.
    â€œThis would qualify as a nightmare,” she whispered.
    â€œChloe!”
    Mr. Simonsen!
    She stretched her neck out the window. “Movie is coming up. Technical difficulties! You’ve already seen it seven times, so a little patience …”
    Chloe turned in time to see a wisp of smoke vanish beneath the papers. “Okay, that’s bizarre.” She swept away Nick’s screenplay and gave the table a hard stare. “I don’t have time for eye tricks.” She jammed the dented first reel onto the projector.
    â€œOh, God, I need a miracle here. Let the break be during the public service announcement!”
    â€œHey!” Nick yelled. “That better not be my screenplay I hear getting all crinkled.”
    â€œYou threw it, you goof.”
    Click
. The preview started.
    â€œAnd as for you, Nick. Here!” She hissed, punctuating each word by stuffing a paper into his hand. “Once again, I’ll pick up your screenplay, and this time I promise I … won’t … ever … mess … with …. your … dumb … screenplay … again.”
    She braced for his comeback. There was none, and she slumped to the floor.
    â€œIs the movie playing?” Nick whispered.
    â€œYeah, no thanks to you.”
    Nick inched toward the clicking reel. “Can I … can I feel the projector?”
    Chloe puffed out air. “Fine.” She stood and grabbed his hand and pulled him forward. He stroked the machine, placed his ear and cheek against it.
    â€œCan I look through the lens?”
    â€œYou can’t —”
    â€œCan I look through the lens?”
    Chloe gently pushed his head against the glass viewer in the rear.
    â€œLight.” He pulled back, repositioned his eyes, and again pressed forward. “I saw light. Red. Green.”
    Chloe frowned and stared out the window at the big screen, at the red sky above a field of green. “You’re just seeing the opening scenery — Wait, you can see?”
    Nick jumped and rocked and rubbed his eyes. “More. I want to see more.”
    Chloe glanced down the stairs and turned back into the room. “You know, maybe this isn’t the time —”
    Gone.
    Nick and Hobo were gone. Chloe spun around the booth, stared out the window, and gasped.
    A boy and his dog walked toward the screen inside the projection beam, hovering above the audience. As if light was solid.
    It was Chloe’s turn to rub her eyes. None of the customers seemed to notice the small beings above their heads.
    â€œHello!” she called out. “There’s a boy? In the beam? Doesn’t that bother any of you?”
    She jammed her eyeball against the viewer, felt a sucking

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