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There's always next Saturday

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By Bill Evans

 

    

 

   The sun was rising over the eastern horizon and daylight was burning. It was almost picture show time at the Imperial Theater on Main Street and the coins in my pocket were about to burn a hole in my britches.

This was a must-see trip, too. It didn’t have anything to do with what was on the marque.

Now, ever so often, neighborhood pals have misunderstandings which must be resolved. This disagreement had been going on for a couple of weeks. 

I couldn’t rightly remember what set it off, but a showdown was about to erupt.

Tootsie, Bobby Parker and Ned Plyler and me knew we were the good guys. Dick Isley, Jack Edwards, Toy Gregory and Tom Butters were the outlaws. 

And just like our usual early Saturday ritual, we met out at the livery stable (the plunder house). Tension filled the morning air. 

Each of us were ready to face the unexpected.

We were on our toes and our shooting irons were slung low on our hips, just in case the situation called for a little fast drawing. 

I checked my pocket one more time.

Yup, I’m ready. We had our dimes stashed away with a few brownies for something called sales tax.  

 

 for popcorn. You know, you gotta be extra  careful when your saddle bags are loaded down with that much cash. 

I looked everybody straight in the eye. Sweat was popping on our brows. Maybe our nerves were getting the best of us.

 Our mounts were saddled and ready for the ride down Chesterfield Avenue, up on Market and over to Main Street. But first, I had to run up on the porch and tell Mama I was headed out.

We could smell the aroma coming from the saloon at the corner of Main and Arch streets (Mr. Lingle’s hot dog stand). 

We secured our faithful steeds to the hitching post in front of the Imperial. We sorta glanced over the morning crowd to determine friends and watch for foes.

So far, so good, I thought. But if one of these desperados want to slap leather, I’m ready. 

Everything was pretty calm and a line soon formed up to the ticket window where Mrs. Gardner was on duty. Forking over my dime and two pennies and clutching my ticket, I moved inside where the smell of hot popcorn was overwhelming. I knew that extra nickel was gonna come in handy.

The dim lights were on in the auditorium so we could find our seats and be sure the territory was safe. 

The lights dimmed and the bright ray of light from the control room upstairs in the balcony burst forth on the silver screen and the Republic Pictures Eagle appeared.

Hot dog, our Saturday morning Western adventure was about to begin. 

As usual, the opening scene was in the town saloon and we immediately recognized the boss of the bad guys and his gang. They kinda reminded me of Dick, Jack, Toy and Tom. Every week, the same bad guys are allways the same; they just appear in a different show.

Suddenly, a stagecoach and buckboard ran lickety split over familiar background.

You know, for the life of me, I still can’t figure out why the wheels seem to be turning backwards when they’re moving forwards. 

But trouble was looming, There was about to be a showdown amid a huge rock formation.

Slowly, the hero and his sidekick blasted away the last of the bad gang. 

We were really lucky today. We got a Chapter 15 on one long running serial and Chapter 1 on a new one.

Gosh, I never would have figured the man behind the gang in the last chapter was the banker. I didn’t see that one coming. Leon Errol and Edgar Kennedy were in some kind of crazy story and, boy, were they funny. 

Finally, a color cartoon brought our Saturday morning movie adventure to an end.

Some  of the fellas stayed around to watch everything all over again, but we had to be back at home right after high noon.

Heading up the aisle to the lobby was when it happened.

Dick Isley went for his cap pistol and the gunfight was on. Lucky for us, he didn’t have any real caps.

“Bang, Bang,” Dick hollered. Then all of us started shooting. Shouts of “Bang” and “Pow” echoed throughout the theater. It was causing quite a stir. 

Our ruckus brought the sheriff (management) out of the office.

We were quickly ushered out the front door into the bright sunlight of a Saturday morning on Main Street.

You know, I reckon all that gunfire and hollering stuff sorta calmed us down. We got together with the former bad guys and walked back to Chesterfield Avenue, never realizing that we had left our horses tied to hitching posts in front of the picture show. 

But that’s OK. We’ll  just get ’em next Saturday morning.