The Glare

I mentioned that I’ve been working at Ford’s Theater this week, which has provided some prime opportunities for Tourist Watching, which is nearly as interesting as Bird Watching.

During a break today I was sitting in the second floor balcony of the house as a group of tourists (touri?) came in for the Park Ranger lecture on the night Lincoln was shot. Since the orchestra seats were already filled, an overflow of about thirty people came up to the balcony seating. I watched idly as the folks made their way down the steps and into the seats. A Chunky Young Lad of about twelve, all feet, elbows and bad haircut, double-timed down the steps to get a seat near the front. He tripped, stumbled forward and careened into the woman descending before him, just about knocking her off her feet. Then he blithely skidded past her toward a second-row seat. He was brought up short by what must have been his Male Parental Unit, still descending, who bellowed, “LOOK OUT, _________, YOU’RE GONNA KILL SOMEONE!”

________ responded, “WHAT??? I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!!! I TRIPPED!”

Male Parental Unit caught up with Chunky Young Lad and words were exchanged. The rest of the CYL’s family group seated themselves. CYL stormed up the aisle and threw himself into a fifth row seat, well behind the other touri. He flung his arms across his sturdy chest, slid down onto the back of his spine, and GLARED.

Oh, my, did he glare. It was a death ray of a glare. He glared and glared at the back of the MPU’s head, his eyes hot enough to melt glass. Apparently the glare wasn’t working at that range, so he leapt to his feet, stomped up the stairs to the sixth row, threw himself into another seat and fixed his laser beam on the old man again. Still not working. MPU impervious. CYL got up, slammed his way into a seventh row seat. BZZZZT with the killer-diller eyes. Still not working. MPU incombustible.

CYL finally landed at the very back row, where he turned off the death ray and smouldered for a good two minutes, seething equal parts shame and impotent fury. For the last time he rose and walked back down the steps (and I’m damned if he didn’t trip again, on the exact same step). He slid into the third row and took a seat just behind the MPU. I was fully expecting him to pull a John Wilkes and do something dreadful to the back of the old man’s head, but he sat quietly through the Park Ranger’s speech of conspiracy, violence and bloody death, no doubt filing it away in his squared-off head, behind his beetling brows.

I had to go back into rehearsal then, so I missed the final act. Was it “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” or did MPU take his angry offspring next door to the Hard Rock and for a Coke, a ten dollar hamburger and some kindly words?

I’ll never know.


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