Thursday, July 16, 2009

Play it Again, Sam by Jenna Byrnes

Rick Blaine strolled into the fog, Captain Louis Renault by his side. Sam Merit sank into his theatre seat, watching the ending credits of Casablanca scroll across the screen. He stroked his half-erect cock through his jeans. He’d never been a big Ingrid Bergman fan, but Humphrey Bogart—now he was something else. Sam fantasized that the great actor might secretly have been gay, like Rock Hudson and other big names from the era. The scintillating daydream made him smile, and he rubbed his erection one last time.

The final credits rolled, and the lights came up in the theatre. Reaching for his empty popcorn bucket, Sam stood and adjusted his jeans, willing the erection away. Not that there was anyone in the large auditorium who’d notice. He’d come to the same theatre every day for a week, and there had never been more than five people in attendance. Sam didn’t know how the place stayed open.

Clutching the cardboard container, he made his way to the back of the room, where the daytime employee stood by the open door. His was the one consistent face Sam counted on. Each day once the theatre emptied, the burly, dark-haired man walked down one aisle and up the next, straightening seats and picking up trash. He appeared to be Sam’s height but stockier, more beefy. Muscular. From what Sam had observed before and after the movie each day, he had a friendly demeanor—and a damned handsome face.

They’d never spoken, but Sam suddenly felt the urge. He dropped his trash into the big receptacle by the door. “My contribution.”

“Trying to put me out of work?” The employee raised his eyebrows, a grin playing on his lips.

Nice eyes. Sam gazed into deep brown irises and decided they were just a shade darker than the man’s shaggy, brown hair. Soulful eyes crinkled around the edges when he smiled. The tiny lines added to his charm.

Sam glanced at the small black nametag pinned to a red theatre vest. Marc. He smiled. “Sorry. I can go back and leave it in the seat if you prefer.”

“That’s what most people do.” Marc headed down the aisle. “Toss it on the floor or shove it into the seat next to them.” He reached the front of the theatre.

“I suppose so,” Sam said in a louder voice. “If that’s the case, I can tell you where to look today. A couple sat over there.” He pointed to the left side of the aisle. “A woman sat in the second row, and I sat in the middle. Of course, my area is clean.”

“It always is. I’ve watched you every day this week.”

He’s watched me? Sam thought he’d been unobtrusively watching Marc. In reality they’d been checking each other out, and neither one had caught on. The thought made his cock twitch again.

Marc moved through the second row, stopping to pick up a soda cup and candy wrapper. Holding them up, he shook his head sadly at Sam.

Sam feigned disappointment. “She seemed like a nice lady too. Cried at all the right spots.”

“Women are tricky.” He scoured the rest of the theatre, walking toward the entrance. “They’re the worst offenders. Sneaky. Candy wrappers tucked between the seats, that kind of thing. Most men are fooled by their wiles. Not me.” He dumped the trash into the big plastic can and wiped his hands. “So, you a big Ingrid Bergman fan? You’re catching quite a few showings of Casablanca.”

“I’m partial to Bogart. Never been one to succumb to the wiles of women either. Actually, I’m trying not to go out of my mind.” Sam glanced at the floor and back up. He hadn’t told anybody this, but decided to spit it out and see what happened. “I was, uh, laid off from my job this week. Total surprise. I’m still in shock.”

Marc frowned. “That sucks. Sorry to hear it.”

“Thanks. I’m working through the stages of grief, but so far I’m stuck on denial. Not ready to face looking for something new. It’s much easier to bury my head in the sand—or the movie screen. This is the closest theatre to my apartment that shows a matinee. I must admit, I’ll be glad when you change the film. Five days in a row of wartime conflict is a little depressing.”

“Hate to tell you this.” Marc shoved the trash container away from the door and stepped out of the auditorium. “Casablanca runs for a whole month. It’s got a couple weeks left.”

“Oh, my God!” Smacking his forehead jokingly, Sam followed him out. “I might have to upgrade my Cable TV service. Right now, I only have a few channels. If I went for a bigger package, I could watch movies at home.”

“Do you think this is the best time to add expenses?” Marc leaned against the small candy counter in the lobby. “With the layoff and all. Oh, shit. I shouldn’t have asked that.” His eyes clouded uncomfortably.

“You’re right, of course.”

“Unless you’re Howard Hughes or something? Hell, I don’t know what you can or can’t afford.” He slipped out of the vest with the theatre name printed on the pocket.

“It’s no problem. Of course, I’m not rich or losing my job wouldn’t matter so much. I know some people work for the thrill of it, but me—I work for the paycheck.”

“I hear ya. Though I do love it here. What’s better than getting paid to watch movies every day? Oh, and push a broom around occasionally. You know.”

Sam smiled. He didn’t want to appear too forward, but sometimes life required taking chances. He inhaled and asked quickly, “Are you off work? I planned to grab a sandwich at the coffee shop down the block. Care to join me?”

Marc gazed at Sam for a moment, seeming to think it over. He nodded. “That sounds good. I have two hours before I need to get back. A sandwich and a cup of coffee would hit the spot. Let me punch the time clock. Take me just a sec.”

“Great.” Sam shuffled his feet nervously. What am I thinking? He’d never been so forward before. Something about this guy appealed to him, and he certainly didn’t have any reason to hurry home.

Marc stepped into an office behind the counter and returned momentarily with a jacket. “What’s the weather like? Colder than hell earlier.”

“It’s nice out now. I think spring has sprung.”

He held the front door open for Sam and grinned. “You didn’t just say that. Sounds like something from my mother’s vocabulary.”

“Color me old fashioned.” Sam shrugged sheepishly. “So, if the nametag is to be believed, your name’s Marc? I’ve been thinking of you as that cute guy who works at the theatre.”

Strolling down the block, Marc gazed sideways at him. “You sure you’re not thinking of Oscar? I’m certain you’ve met him.”

Sam laughed. “The wrinkled, bald guy who looks about ninety? One day I wasn’t sure he was breathing until he reached out and took my money.”

“Oscar works at his own pace, that’s for sure. Anyway, yeah, my name’s Marcus, Marcus Phillips. People call me Marc.”

With a sidelong glance, Sam nodded. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Sam Merit.”

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