Movie Madness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Best friends Loretta and Chuck decide to rent some movies for the weekend, but the movies aren't the only things with an R-rating.

Loretta Gains was visiting her grandma for the second summer in a row. She's dreaded this  for the whole year.

There wasn't much to do for kids Loretta's age. You could walk the entire length of the town in a matter of minutes. A few drug stores, a beaten up baseball field and a lake that had more litter then water. 
Loretta was used to the busy streets of the city. The ringing of car horns and foul smells reaping from beneath the gutters. It was home to Loretta.
However, there was something Loretta found fun, her grandma's stash of old classic cinema. 
Loretta loved movies. It ignited her imagination. The stories, the adventure, everything. Movies had become a crucial part of Loretta's life. She even took a film class at her high school back home. Something about the old cinema that Loretta couldn't shake. 
The other benefit of staying at her Grandma's was Chuck, the kid who lived next door. The two of them have known one another since they were little. They shared the same love for movies. Spending whole days watching movies and then talking about the movie afterwards. Sorta like their own movie review showcase.
One Saturday afternoon, Chuck and Loretta rode their bikes to town to rent Monster Squad, a film about a group of kids fighting off iconic monster characters.
Loretta and Chuck parked their bike's behind the drug store, right before walking to the video store around the corner. 
Chuck grabbed the door handle and pulled, but it was locked. He pulled time after time again growing increasingly frustrated. 
"Maybe their closed today." Loretta inquired.
"On a Saturday?" Chuck shot back, peeking through the window,"Hello! Hello! Is anyone in there?" The place looked empty as though no one had been there in years. "This doesn't make sense." he implied.
"What?" Loretta asked.
"It's really empty."
Loretta looked for herself. Chuck was right. It was empty. Almost as if no one had ever been there.
Loretta started to get this uncomfortable feeling in the pit of her stomach. Usually something that happened when something was wrong.
"We could go back to my house. There's a Shirley Mystery marathon on t.v." she suggested.
Chuck seemed optimistic, despite the disappointment in his voice. "Sure--yeah that sounds fun."
As the two hopped back on their bikes, a strong  gust of wind barreled over them, causing Loretta to lose her balance.
"Whoa-what's happening?" Chuck called out. 
"I don't know. It's like a tornado!"
"In California?! That doesn't make any sense!"
"You got a better idea?" Loretta replied coughing.
After a few moments, the dust settled almost instantly. 
As Loretta and Chuck cleaned themselves up, they noticed something off in the distance blinding them. They tried their best to shield their eyes and make out what it was. Chuck kept trying to get a peek but it was so bright it felt like he was trying to look directly in the sun. "Whoa turn off the blinders."
Loretta was finally able to make out what it was.
"A video store?" she questioned, dumbfounded by what she was seeing. 
"Where'd that come from?" Chuck said, wiping the dirt from his eyes.
Loretta didn't respond. She was so mezmorized by the store. It was so out of place. A town that for the most part was falling apart. Most of the buildings missing letters and pain, and yet here is this shiny new video store. Plopped right smack dab in the middle of town. As she stared at the store, she began to get that feeling in her stomach again. 
"Maybe we should go home." Loretta said, backing away from the store's direction.
Chuck on the other hand wanted to check it out. "What? Are you insane-what's wrong with you? Look at that place, it's so tight." Chuck's excitement wasn't met by Lorettta. "I don't know.." before Loretta could continue, Chuck grabbed her hand and pulled her toward's the store.
Despite Chucks friendly enthusiasm, Loretta didn't feel comfortable, but she started to think she was over thinking it, after all--it was just a video store...right?
"Doesn't it strike you as odd that no one else is here? Loretta inquired, as the two burst through the doors.
"Eh-there was probably a morning rush?" Chuck replied, shrugging his shoulders heading to the front of the store. 
Loretta wasn't convinced. The thought had occurred to her though that it was early and most people were at the county fair. She shrugged it off and followed behind Chuck.
Loretta looked around with such curiosity. Shelves lined with movies, dating back to the 1920's, candy and popcorn front faced on the end caps of the rows, basically a teenager's heaven.
Chuck's eyes were wide eyed and full of wonder. 
"I don't know what I want. Gummies, popcorn, soda--ugh so many decisions!" Chuck cried out, scooping various goodies into his arms. 
"Slow down slick. Let's just take a look around before we get too crazy." Loretta replied playfully, tugging at Chuck's shirt.
Meanwhile, behind a closed curtain, lied a scarce man by the name of Ned. Hair scattered on top, a mustache as thick as fur, skin so damaged from the sun, you'd think his skin was made of oranges. 
Ned lurked from afar. What might appear as sinister intentions, was actual concern for the two. He slipped out from behind the curtain, cautious and slow, trying his best to seem normal without bringing attention to himself. 
"Can I help you?" Ned asked, sneaking up behind Chuck and Loretta.
That move caused the two to jump a foot. Loretta clenching her chest for dear life. Chuck took this as an opportunity to be Superman and stand in-front of her like he's her protector.
"Where'd you come from?" Loretta squeaked.
"Did I startle you? I assure you it was not my intentions." Ned asked, trying to allude to the fact that he was watching them.
"Ya think?" Chuck responded hysterically, staring  harshly at Ned as he stood in-front of Loretta like he was her protector.
"My apologies children. I was in the back straightening up. I didn't hear you come in."
The two of them kept a distance between them and Ned, weary of his being.
"I'm Ned." he said, opening his arms welcoming Chuck and Loretta. "Welcome to Sphere's Video Extravagenza!Can I help you look for anything?"
Loretta didn't answer immediately. She was still in shock. So she decided to side step past Ned to walk down an isle. "We're just looking around, thank you though."
Loretta tugged Chuck's shirt to let him know to follow her.
"Take your time. If you need me, I'll be right over here." Ned stated very cryptically, making Chuck and Loretta keep one eye on him as they strolled down the isle.
After a moment of looking around the store, Chuck was stopped when he found the old Western section. 
"Whoa! Loretta check this out!" Chuck called out.
"What?"Loretta replied, hurrying over to him.
Chuck picked up an old gunslinger film starring "Rad Tad McGee", a famous old western seventies movie star that she loved watching as a kid. 
"No way!" Loretta said excitedly, "I've seen all his films, but I've never heard of this one!" 
"Billy the Kid and the Gang of Thieves. It must have been earlier on in his career. We have to get this one." Loretta stated, urging Chuck to take the movie.
"Deal." he agreed, exchanging a smile with Loretta.
As Loretta and Chuck approached the front counter, Ned stood there quietly. As if he had been waiting. 
"Found what you're looking for?" Ned asked, reaching his hand out slowly, like a lion cupping it's prey, taking the movie from Loretta's arms.The second Ned took it, Loretta pulled back quickly.
Ned rang up the movie, reaching below the counter to pull out a coupon of some sort.
"Since you're our first customers.." Ned stated, ripping a receipt off and placing it on top of the movie, handing it to Chuck. .."you get your first movie for free."Due back...when you're ready." A fiendish smile spread across Ned's narrow face.
"Wait--for free? Really?" Loretta asked, clearly confused how that could be.
"Mmm-hmm." Ned nodded his head.
So many things seemed odd about the place. A video store that appeared out of nowhere. A creepy guy lurking in the shadows, and free movies. 
Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?
Loretta knew something was off, but Chuck's childish excitement distract Loretta.
Chuck smirked at Loretta like they won the lotto. "Come on!" he shouted, tugging Loretta's arms. 
As the two left the video store, Loretta hung back but Ned was nowhere in sight.
Moments later...
Lurking in the shadows, Ned seemed to be arguing with someone.
"Excellent-excellent!" a voice celebrated.
"I don't know about this--there just kids." Ned exclaimed. 
"We wouldn't be in this mess if it wasn't for you."
"It's just--"
"They're so young. We were younger then them when this all began."
"Which is what makes this perfect!"
"I don't know--I don't feel good about this."
"Look at me."
Ned turned to a mirror hanging on the wall behind him, staring back at a reflection of himself. The reflection stood in the mirror, surrounded by what appeared as an outer space like background.
"Don't you worry brother, soon, very soon we will be united."
Later that night, Chuck was getting ready to head over to Loretta's. 
They preferred to wait til her Grandma goes to bed so they can turn the lights out and make up the living-room into their own personal movie theater. 
Chuck spent some extra time getting ready. Given their friendship status, Chuck tried to hide his crush as best he could.
Chuck decided to wear a tuxedo that was last worn to his cousin's wedding. It even had the stain from the grape soda he spilt when his cousin tripped over her wedding dress and face planted in the cake. 
I mean, that is a really funny picture. 
Chuck walked up to the front door, sweating like an athlete during the big game. His deodorant didn't stand a chance, as when he examined himself before he knocked, he noticed the stains underneath. 
"This is it!" Chuck mumbled to himself, checking his breathe before he knocked. He took a deep breath and knocked calmly trying not to make his nervousness too obvious.
After just a few moments, Loretta opened the door with a smile that would light up any room. Like she stepped out of an 80's rock video, wearing a novelty tee shirt cutting off at the bellybutton.
Chuck stood there with his jaw nearly on the ground. He thought to himself he should say something, given the curious expression on Loretta's face.
"Where is it?" Loretta asked, bouncing with angst, knocking Chuck out of his trance.
"Huh?" Chuck replied with wide-eyes.
"The movie?"
"Oh yeah--yeah."
"Well come on. Popcorn's almost ready!" Loretta said, ushering Chuck to come in the house.
Chuck shut the door looking around. "Did she go to bed?" he asked regarding Loretta's grandma.
"Yeah like an hour ago." Loretta answered, "Wheel of fortune, followed by Matlock, in bed by ten. Right on schedule."
Loretta and Chuck started to get everything ready for their movie night.
Chuck set up the VCR, while Loretta grabbed the bag of popcorn and poured the sodas. Chuck set a blanket on the floor in-front of the screen for him and Loretta. She flashed him a pearly smile to show her appreciation for the gesture.
"Well thank you kind sir." Loretta said jokingly curtsying, sitting beside him, handing him a soda and setting the bowl of popcorn between the two of them.
"You ready?" Chuck asked excitedly. 
"You have to ask?" Loretta shot back.
Chuck pressed play and then sat back down next to Loretta this time inching just a little closer to her.
"You know...I really like being with.." Chuck nervously spoke. Loretta quickly shushing him. "The movie's starting." 
Loretta and Chuck were glued to the television. The movie was almost over and the two of them were on the edge of their seat. 
Loretta gripped Chuck's hand. Chuck forgot about the movie for a second when he noticed her hand touching his. This sent a sense of warmth down Chuck's chest. 
"Here." Chuck said, hovering his arm over her shoulder, attempting to comfort her.
Loretta was too into the movie to respond. She instead broke their grip and leaned in closer to the television. Chuck remained where he was, a small smile on his face but clearly he hoped for more.
After the movie has long ended, Loretta and Chuck had fallen asleep. Loretta on the couch and chuck down below.
Loretta turned over on her side to get comfortable.
The light from the screen burned bright, illuminating the entire room. Chuck and Loretta didn't flinch.
The movie from earlier came on all by itself starting from the beginning. This time instead of the title fading onto the screen it was Rad Tad McGee, foaming at the mouth, eyes as red as blood glaring devilishly at Loretta and Chuck.
Rad Tad McGee tried to push his hand through the screen, only for it to be electrocuted in the process. Rad examined his hand for a bit to make sure it's okay. He decided to try once again, this time he was successful. He reached through the television one arm after another until he emerged in their world.
Rad Tad McGee stood over the two, hovering menacingly. He looked like a angry cowboy risen from the swamps. Leering at Loretta and Chuck, groaning and huffing. He took a step in Loretta's direction.
A creaky door opened in the distance.
"Loretta!" her Grandma called out.
Loretta sprung awake in a panic. Everything was normal; popcorn on the floor, television screen blank. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. 
"Yeah Grandma!" Loretta replied, nudging a sound asleep Chuck. 
"Huh-what?!" Chuck muttered as he sat up groggy, popcorn embedded in his cheek.
"Can you bring me a cup of special tea? I'd get it myself but Geraldo is on and he's got a Barbara Bush impersonator on, it's hilarious." her Grandma said chuckling in a playful manor.
"Just a second!" Loretta replied. 
Loretta and Chuck scrambled to pick up their mess. 
As Chuck reached to eject the tape from the VHS, he noticed a set of wet foot prints on the carpet. 
"Hey." Chuck said to Loretta. "Did you do this?" 
Loretta joined him to look at the foot prints. She immediately was off put by them, but her curiousity was short lived when the thought occurred to her that the prints would stain the carpet and her Grandma would kill her.
Loretta rushed into the kitchen to make the tea. Chuck stayed in the living-room to finish cleaning up the mess.
Lurking in the shadows stood Rad Tad McGee, groaning and huffing, watching Chuck from afar, clenching his fists with angst. 
Unaware, Chuck continued to straighten up. One thing that kept distracting him was the foot prints. He knelt down to examine them a little closer, dipping two fingers in the imprinted carpet. He instantly noticed the stale odor perforating from the moisture of the foot prints. 
Rad Tad McGee started towards Chuck slowly, his clear intentions to harm Chuck. That is, until he over heard Loretta in the kitchen preparing her Grandma's tea. He shifted his focus in her direction. 
Loretta ran around the kitchen grabbing a cup out of the cabinets, preparing the kettle on the stove.
Meanwhile, Rad Tad McGee stood maliciously in the shadows of the doorway, watching Loretta, puffing his chest, scraping skin from his knuckles from clinching his fists so tight.
"Hey Loretta, come quick!" Chuck called out frantically. Loretta walked out of the kitchen.
Rad Tad McGee grew angrier. 
Loretta joined Chuck in the living-room to check out the foot prints. 
Meanwhile, her Grandma, grown tired of waiting, walked into the kitchen to get the tea herself. Rad Tad McGee stood there still, her Grandma unaware of his presence. 
As Loretta and Chuck examined the foot prints, Loretta couldn't help but notice the large shoe print. As she started to think about how weird the shoe prints were, the glimmering reflection of the television caught the corner of her eye. 
Loretta peered up to turn the television off when she noticed the movie playing in the background. 
"That's odd." Loretta exclaimed.
"What?" Chuck replied.
"The movie's playing, but I don't see anything."
"Yeah you're right. Maybe it's like a deleted scene or something."
"What deleted scene would be with no one in the background?"
Loretta knew something wasn't right. 
The kettle blew loudly for the whole house to hear.
"Oh no I almost forgot." Loretta complained, springing to her feet, running into the kitchen.
As Loretta quickly reached over to turn the stove off, she suddenly got the feeling that something was wrong. Loretta darted her eyes to something nagging in the corner. 
As her eyes started to focus, she then saw Rad Tad McGee holding her Grandma hostage. His corroded hands pressed upon her Grandma's mouth, firmly holding her body against his so she was not to escape, flashing a devilish grin with rotted teeth at Loretta.
Fear struck Loretta's veins. All she could do was breath heavily, trying to keep her cool. She knew she should try to save her Grandma but the ability in her legs seemed non existent. 
Chuck ran in behind her only to see the same thing. 
Unlike Loretta, Chuck's bravery kicked in and he grabbed the closest thing to him, a broom handle, and charged towards Rad Tad McGee. "Get your hands off of her!"
"Chuck don't!" Loretta cried out watching Chuck charge Rad Tad.
In the blink of an eye, Chuck, Loretta's Grandma, and Rad Tad McGee teleported through a portal into thin air.
Lost and confused, Loretta called out for Chuck and her Grandma, desperately searching around the house for them, hoping they would be huddled somewhere in a room.
Nowhere to be found. 
Loretta ran into her Grandma's bedroom, searching under her bed and in her closet for them. Feeling defeated, Loretta settled on her the bed, slouching her shoulders and sighing.
Then! It occurred to her!
Loretta ran back into the living-room, falling to her knees in front of the television. She watched the same scene from before, a deserted western town with no one in sight.
"Come on, come on, where are you?" Loretta uttered, hoping to see Chuck or her Grandma pop up.
After what seemed like forever.
"Hello?" her Grandma asked, coming into frame.
Loretta was relieved. Seconds later Chuck appeared as well. The both of them muttering around, trying to figure out where they were and how they were gonna escape.
Loretta felt helpless. There was nothing she could do, and the they were trapped in an alternate universe.
Chuck searched high and low for the opening of the portal but all he could see weathered saloons and farm houses in the distance. Loretta's Grandma sat on a pair of steps of a saloon, trying to catch her breath. The travel proved too much for her.
Chuck comforted Grandma, trying to assure her that they would get out, even though he himself worried they may never escape. 
A large clock struck high noon. The echo of the clock hand could be heard from miles around.
Rad Tad McGee meandered out of an alleyway, spitting chew all over, hands tucked into his belt, with a angry mug expression on his face.
Chuck and Grandma worried. Grandma clamped her arms around Chuck's body, making it hard for him to breathe.
Rad Tad McGee continued his mean mugging, spitting chew on the ground, arching his upper lip in the corner of his fae. He stopped in the middle of the street, flinging the lip of his coat behind him, placing his hand above the gun in his holster.
Chuck found himself weak in the knees. This was real. No Hollywood ending for him and Grandma. He hadn't a clue what to do.
Back in the real world, Loretta had the same worry for the two of them. This was the ending scene of the movie. She knew how this would end if she didn't get Chuck and her Grandma out of there as soon as possible.
"When the clock strikes noon, we draw!" Rad Tad McGee yelled, striking his finger at Chuck. Now, Chuck was really worried. 
"Oh man, what am I gonna do? Help us Loretta!" 
Loretta's heart sank as the cries of Chuck and her Grandma echoed through her.
Rad Tad McGee let out a sinister chuckle. 
Suddenly a thought occurred to Chuck. "Wait a minute, this is a movie."
"Huh?" Grandma uttered, still tightly wrapped around Chuck. 
"The movie. We're in the movie!"
"Thank you Captain obvious. You just realize this?"
"You don't get it. We have to play our characters like the movie."
"You lost me."
"You're the old Granny.."
"Watch it!"
"Sorry--cool Granny."
"That's better."
"..and I'm--Billy the kid. The hero!" Chuck proclaimed, his eyes gleaming with pride, puffing his chest out.
Grandma wasn't so convinced on the other hand. "Looks like it's the end of the road for us."
Chuck loosened Grandma's grip, then met Rad Tad McGee in the middle of the street, carrying himself like an old cowboy in a gun fight.
Chuck and Rad Tad stared each other down, squinting their eyes for dramatic effect. 
Loretta watched on as she was helpless to do anything.
The big hand struck again. Just one more til noon. Chuck and Rad Tad looked on and then back at one another.
"This is the end of the line vermin!" Rad Tad McGee called out, spitting onto the ground.
"That's what you think---buddy!" Chuck replied, trying to sound macho, realizing how lame his comeback was.
Grandma hid behind a horse carriage, biting her nails in anticipation.
The clock rang! Gunfire echoed the town square!
Chuck and Rad Tad McGee examined one another. Rad Tad dropped his pistol below, dropping to his knees shortly after, clenching his arm. He let out a large groan.
Chuck had his hand pointed in the form of a gun, smoke lingered from the tip of his finger. He stood there stunned, then proceeded to check out Rad Tad McGee who was now lying on the street, rolling around groaning in pain. 
"Ugh--you dirty scoundrel." Rad Tad McGee moaned.
"This is the end of the line for you bucko!" Chuck replied, raising his pointed finger to his mouth, blowing away the smoke, tipping his head like he wore a hat. "Now, you have a nice day!"
As Chuck recited those words, without realizing, he and Grandma were transported back to the living-room with Loretta.
"You're back!" Loretta yelled excitedly, rushing to the two, hugging them both. "I thought I lost you guys."
"If it hadn't been for this young man, we woulda been gonners." Grandma replied, patting Chuck on the shoulder.
Loretta turned to Chuck. 
"Chuck, I don't know what I would of done if it hadn't been for you. You saved my Grandma's life." Loretta said, smiling back at Chuck.
"Eh it was nothing." Chuck replied modest. "I just did what anyone would do."
"Well I don't know about you two, but I got a hankering for some tea. Anyone?" Grandma asked. After both declined, Grandma proceeded into the kitchen.
Loretta went back to straightening up. Chuck, built with a little more confidence, approached Loretta with a question.
"Hey, I wanted to ask you something?" Chuck said.
Loretta stopped what she was doing and turned towards Chuck, batting her eyes. "Yes Chuck?"
"There's a carnival coming up, and I was wondering.." Chuck asked. He was unable to finish before Loretta answered.
"I'd love to."
Chuck and Loretta smiled back at one another, their eyes reflecting with happiness.
Back at the video store, Ned shuffled around the store, straightening up.
A large orange beam of electricity shot through the sky, down onto the street, bouncing off a street lamp, bursting through the video store doors, landing on the shelf where Chuck and Loretta grabbed it from. The film appeared back as it was. 
Ned strolled by, glancing down at it, smiling.
"Right on time." he remarked, continuing his duties.

Submitted: April 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Griff D. Con. All rights reserved.

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