Brooklyn, the Walker Theater, 1987.
I am twelve and precariously balancing on the shoulders of Fat Brian.
Come on, you’re not getting any lighter, Fat Brian shouts.
I reach up and lock my fingers around the bottom rung of the fire escape ladder, then hoist myself up. I scale the ladder until I reach the landing and there I wait for the others to join me. The others are Jay and Petey and Danny. They all climb aboard Fat Brian’s shoulders and scale the ladder to the landing. Since none of our shoulders are broad and sturdy enough to hold up Fat Brian, he is always the shoulder-man. Me and Jay and Danny and Petey will sneak through the unlocked side-door leading into the second-floor theater. We chip in so Fat Brian can buy a ticket from the box office and meet us in the theater.
We never know what film will be playing in the second floor theater, and we always pray that it isn’t a love story or a movie with a lot of talking. What we want is blood and violence and action. Or to have the shit scared out of us. Yet no matter what film is playing, we’ll stay and watch it.
We’d rather watch a movie, any movie, then not watch a movie. We’d rather be in the dark, even if it meant being in the dark with sappy characters that kissed and spoke cheesy lines that upset our stomachs, then to not be in the dark.
We take our seats in the theater, and five minutes later Fat Brian joins us, holding a large popcorn and large Coke.
The movie playing is Dirty Dancing. We bitch and we moan about it, but we watch the film the whole way through. Afterwards, we briefly talk about the film, wondering if girls would like us more or like us less if we could dance like Patrick Swayze.