Cineflyboys – A Steampunk Sonata

You are the manager of a movie theater. A couple walks out of a movie demanding their money back. What do you do?


If I were the manager of a Movie Theater, I would first thank the heavens for all of the free, albeit stale, popcorn I could eat.  After consuming said tasteless popcorn, however, I would immediately set Priority Number 1: Revitalize Our Popcorn Freshness Capacity!  My intrepid concessioners and I would nail our popcorn-popping schedules down to the second with real nails (as this would be a Steampunk movie theater), thus creating both a captivating visual display for movie enthusiasts to gaze at while awaiting their orders, and for our staff to refer to and deliver perfectly-timed, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly supple popped popcorn. 


As a handsome couple, clad in herringbone and fashion goggles, approach me, I notice the sober expressions on their faces.  “We would like our money back, and now!” exclaims the grizzled one on the left.  They both lift up their goggles at once. “Your poster promised there would be dirigibles in our movie, but there wasn’t but a one!”  “Yeah, honey. All I saw was an autogyro,” chimes in the second of the handsome couple, clearly interested in mollifying is beau. While startled by their request – normally movie-goers are such sanguine folk – I notice a silver pin on the lapel of the person who first approached me.   It’s cryptic, but of a Hindunberg, below it reading: Flymen, 1st Division in Perkonian. 


Immediately I understand.


“I’m genuinely dismayed that we didn’t include a dirgible in your shoot, Mr. Craig.  Are you from the Flyboys of Montauch?” 


A puzzled look crosses his nearly tearful face.


“Indeed I am,” he concedes.  “But how did you know…?”


“Bonnie Sly was my second-cousin, twice removed.  Although our maternal distance was quite great, we grew up as kids together in Alexandria.”


A bright look passes my inquisitor’s face.


“Despite his considerable war debts, he’s doing quite well in Purbactory.  One of his favorite yarns to tell me about his time as a Colonel was

about one of his airmen, Nathaniel Craig.  The two of them retrieved a gloonpsprocket from behind enemy lines together.  They were almost killed.”


My accuser is glowing now.  “But we outwitted those dullets, just by gluing leaves to our uniforms and scurrying through the ravines.  Your second-cousin hauled that thing 40 miles before we could get a drink of water that wasn’t contaminated.” 


“Courage.”  We say it in unison.  We’re both beaming.


“Here, this is my husband, Jeff.” 


“How do you do?”  Jeff smiles.


“So the reason why you want your money back is because this movie is about your division, and you don’t see the blimps and planes that helped you succeed in your mission,” I offer.


“That’s exactly it.  We were there for 3 years and 42 days, and grew so close to one another.  By the end of our time in Jerringa we were a family, and, ‘modern’ ‘sci-fi’ setting aside, I really wish they would tell what actually happened.  It’s like losing part of your soul.”


I nod empathically to my new comrade (twice-removed).  “I’m so sorry for that.  I will refund your card and set you and Jeff both up with giftcards for two free movies apiece.  I’ll also record your complaint and transmit it to our regional manager, who is genuinely concerned about our movigoers’ experiences.  He has a tablet that he sends by Edisonian falcon each week to his superiors for review.  Who knows, even the director of this picture might hear your complaint.”


I certainly hope so,” says Nathaniel.  “Until then, I think I’ll stick to comedies.”


“Sounds good, and be sure to try our popcorn!”


I return to my manager’s cabinet, record Mr. Craig’s complaint into my tablet, contact my manager with his complaint, and record all .  I put it into the bottom compartment of my desk, and lock it with key.  Coming are the days when quickshot films will be replaced by heart.



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