Leaving my wife to guard our seats, I headed to concessions for caffeinated drinks to keep us awake throughout the film. I ordered two caffè lattes, large. One concession girl took my money and gave me change. The second asked, “What kind of milk?” (soy, skim) and whipped up the lattes. The third concession worker—a male, the shortest, and the one in charge—watched attentively.
As I lifted my two lattes, a 25-year-old woman stopped briskly, smiled, and raising her eyebrows asked, “May I have two white wines, please?”
The in-charge male said, “Sorry, policies permit us to serve only one alcoholic beverage at a time. You’ll have to come back later to buy a second.”
The woman’s lips weren’t forming any new words.
I turned to her and under my breath asked, “You have someone else for the second one, right?”
“Yes,” she said, in a subdued voice. “My boyfriend—he’s holding our seats.”
For all to hear, I firmly said, “The second one’s for me.”
From the spark in her eyes, it looked like the woman was intrigued by my stratagem.
Concession girl number one, who’d been tasked with pouring the wine, appealed to the male in charge, “What do I do now?”
“Go ahead, give ‘em to her,” he said.
“But . . . !?” she protested.
“It’s okay. We got it covered. Go ahead,” he said, motioning pronto, pronto with his hands.
I lifted my two lattes and began walking away. The woman who purchased the two white wines sidled up alongside.
“Thanks!” she said.
“My pleasure. Glad I could help.”
“Can I ask you one question?” she asked.
“Go right ahead.”
She asked, “Who bought your second latte for you?”
After retiring in early 2015 from public health research, Jim Ross jumped back into creative pursuits to resuscitate his long-neglected right brain. Since then, he’s published over 25 pieces of nonfiction and over 90 photos in 30 journals, including 1966, Cactus Heart, Change Seven, Entropy, Friends Journal, Gravel, Lunch Ticket, MAKE, Meat for Tea, and Pif Magazine. Forthcoming: Bombay Gin, Palooka, and Papercuts. Jim and his wife split their time between Maryland and West Virginia.