At 6:30, busy noise came from the street. Bernie motioned to Jeremy, “Possibly check and see if we might have our first customers.” Walking through the golden double doors, a flock of excited movie goers flooded the ticket booth. Locking himself inside, Jeremy sold tickets as fast as he could. He yelled for Max. “We need an admittance line in the lobby. Brandon must have gotten the word out because most of Madison Junior High is here.”

Tickets were handed out with corresponding seat numbers. Jeremy reached the end of his reel, noticing it was going to be sold-out. Several guests were unable to enter the building because of fire regulations.

Bernie left the lobby, walking up the staircase into the projector room.

It was risky to show a film he’d never seen before. Stringing the reels, Bernie prepared to pull the crimson curtains. Echoing shrieks of laughter filled the room as the theater doors opened and crowds took their seats. 

Someone made popcorn in the lobby and the smell of boiling butter wafted into the movie room.

Laughs and cheers resounded inside the ancient walls, quickly replaced with quiet excitement. Bernie used the megaphone to announce the beginning of The Black and White Horror Show.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I GIVE YOU A FILM UNEARTHED IN ANCIENT EGYPT AND DEDICATED TO THE FOUNDER OF THIS THEATER, IGNATIUS SPECTER.”

The crowd applauded as the curtains moved to the corners, revealing an ancient screen that crackled to life.

Expecting to see desert, Bernie was shocked to view an amusement park. The film was silent, except for circus tunes. A couple moved among the tents, watching magic acts and strange attractions. A fat man rolled down the street with three midgets running on his stomach. A slender woman in a poinsettia dress, wearing crimson makeup, and a red wig advertised a singing potion, turning the worst case of laryngitis into melodies. Anyone watching the couple would’ve known it was their first date. They neared a Ferris wheel where a bald man in his forties took their tickets.

The music quickened with foreboding tunes as the ride rotated faster and faster. An operator ran inside the control booth to turn off the power. The lever broke in his hands and the wheel picked up speed.

A boss dressed in a penguin tuxedo rushed toward the ride with his hands flailing. His large mustache wiggled as he barked orders to his obedient carnie trying to explain the malfunction. Circus goers walked toward the scene, hypnotized by a real show.  Fear rooted them to the sawdust. They couldn’t look away, even if they had wanted to. Spinning faster and faster, the wheel shook. Puke rained on the crowd like rain. Slowly, a man lumbered toward them. He was over nine feet tall with a dull expression on his angular face. Pounding drums energized the show as the giant moved closer. He grabbed the rotating gears, slowing their maddening twist as the cogs sparked in protest. There was a sigh of relief from the crowd when the ride eventually stopped.

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