DONNY AND THE DOORMAN’S NIGHTMARE
a children’s picture book
Shawn Paul Stewart
I knew Donny the doorman. He was a good friend of mine. We used to work together at the Cinema V. It was a first-run theater then, but it’s an empty building now… one inch away from the wrecking ball. I would hate to see that old cinema, ugly as it was, torn down, because I have a lot of memories packed in that place, and Donny the doorman was one of them. I knew Donny when he was just seventeen, a fresh-faced kid still in high school. As far as I know, this is what happened to him…
This is Donny the doorman. He works in a movie theater.
His job is to pick up trash in-between shows. Usually, it’s a pretty easy job. But one night, late last summer, it got kind of creepy.
It was around midnight, the theater was closed, the seats were empty, and Donny was all alone.
Or was he?
As he was picking up popcorn buckets and candy bar wrappers, he had this funny feeling down in the pit of his stomach, like somebody–or some-thing–was watching him.
“Hello?” he asked. “Is anyone there?”
No one answered.
The only sound was his gurgling stomach. He was hungry. The leftover popcorn was looking pretty good.
He had never seen so much garbage in all his life. He had filled six trash bags with it already, and he wasn’t even halfway done.
It made him tired to think about it. He sat down on a chair in the last row. Within minutes, he was fast asleep. And he dreamed… doorman dreams.
In the dream, he was cleaning the theater again (silly dream) only this time, the trash was alive and trying to get him:
Popcorn kernels scurried across the floor, making it a buttery, slippery mess.
Candy bar wrappers danced in the aisles, laughing as he fell down.
Jumbo tubs of popcorn blew up like cannons, throwing stinging salt in his eyes.
Drink cups, having flipped their lids, were jumping off the movie screen, landing on his head.
He ran everywhere, trying to escape it: in-between rows of seats, up the red-carpeted aisle, back behind the movie screen….
Behind the movie screen, there is a small stairway leading down and out of the building. Donny went down the stairs one at a time.
There, he stood in front of the exit door, listening.
Something was scratching at the door, trying to get in.
He reached for the door handle, when suddenly–bam!–the door flew open, there was a rush of color, and a wave of waiting trash came rolling in on top of him.
“Help!” he cried. “Help!”
But the theater was empty, remember? Donny was buried in a sea of garbage.
The dream switched suddenly, as dreams do: He was back in theater again, running up the aisle, only getting nowhere because he was going backwards.
The lobby doors flew apart. In burst a giant ball of trash! It was as if all the trash in the theater had collected into this one giant boulder-of-a-ball, ten feet in diameter. The boulder came tumbling down the aisle, knocking seats aside, directly at him.
Donny could only watch in horror as it rolled toward him, over him, and past,
leaving nothing behind but his empty shoes.
This is not the kind of dream he could wake up from, safe in his bed, covers over his head. Unfortunately, for Donny, this dream was real.
When it opened the next day, the theater was completely empty, and clean. Donny the doorman was never seen again.
So, the next time you visit a movie theater–please, don’t be a litterbug: Put your trash in the trash can!
And hurry out before the theater is empty, or you just might see Donny the doorman rising from heaps of leftover litter and pointing a finger at you!
anamorphic (n). A lens that stretches a picture image, often left off the projector when the film switches from previews to feature.
box (n). The box office, where tickets are sold.
CO2 (n). A full tank of carbon dioxide, used to pump syrup through hoses to make soda pop. It’s also good for freezing bubble gum so that it can be scraped off carpets.
credits (n). Secret names placed before and after a movie that only doormen see.
Dolby (n). A trademark brand of stereo film sound equipment. Dolby noise reduction does not quiet screaming babies.
feature (n). A full-length, 1 1/2- to 3-hour film.
multi-screen (n). A theater with more than one screen.
one-sheet (n). Same as a movie poster.
screamer (n). A baby who gives his movie a thumbs down, and decides to voice his opinion in the theater.
short (n). A 1/2-hour or shorter film story, such as a cartoon, which is shown usually before the main feature attratction.
sign, doing the (vp). Putting up marquee letters, a very dangerous profession in itself, and a job every new doorman gets stuck with.
silverscreen (n). A special silver mylar movie screen used for showing 3-D movies. Werewolves hate this stuff.
straggler (n). A late-arriving movie guest, as in, “I thought the paper said it started at two o’clock?”
trailer (n). Same as a preview—a short clip of a coming movie.
trash (vt). To clean an auditorium between or after performances for the next group of viewers.