Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cineplex part Duex - Frozen Flies, Free gum and drunken fights.

Cineplex is where I discovered the joy of gum remover. That you could use this "insta-freeze" stuff to freeze a fly in mid air, and keep it still enough to tie a thread on it, so you could have a fly on a leash (unless you pulled to hard and cut it in half). It's real use of course was to freeze the flat glob of gum someone had decided to squish into the carpet during intermission so that you could kick it out with your shoe. We used to freeze each other's ties with it as well. Very fun stuff. We probably made a major contribution to the big hole in the ozone layer back then playing with that stuff.

At one point in time, the Dentyne company thought it would be good advertising to give out gum as people left the cinemas. Dentyne would ship us CRATES of gum. And I'd say each of us probably made a box of 500 disappear on our own. It went over well at parties you hadn't been invited too. A common thing as an usher in cineplex was to just listen to patrons talking to each other as they came out of a movie, you can't help it.
PATRON 1: "Hey man, we're heading over to Angie's for a party"
PATRON 2: "Is that the place on Riverside and Montreal Road?"
PATRON1: "Yeah, with the white door, just look for the house with all the cars parked on the lawn, you can't miss it!"

Sounds like a fun party. We had one guy who made a point of crashing them. I'd often give him a ride home and he often talked me into dropping him off at these parties that he was not invited too, and he'd bring a crate of Dentyne in case something went wrong (which it always did).

Door opens "Hey, is Angie here?"
DRUNK GUEST1: "Yeah, somewhere in here, come on in! - What's in the box?"

By the time Angie found out he'd already given out 200 packs of gum and everyone was chewing and saying "He's the Dentyne guy! let him stay!!".

The strangest thing they ever made us hand out after a film was Tampax. I shit you not! That did not last very long, but it was surreal while it lasted.

There's people who have had sex in the cinemas, people who fight in the cinemas, people who die, in the cinemas. Just about everything. No one was ever murdered during my time there but a few people really gave it a good try. I've ejected people and had Num Chucks and ice picks fall out of their jackets (they always want them back too). Vanier was a tough little berg back then. As long as they fought in the outer lobby, or outside the Cinema, that was ok, if they were on carpet and they started, then that was our problem. Luckily there was a Tim Horton's on the corner and we'd just call there for them to send over cops when things got really bad.

One night I ripped the ticket of this really big guy and who immediately went over to a rack of free movie magazines and tossed a pile of them in the air. Turns out he was drunk. I remember telling someone to keep an eye on him in #6. Later in the evening one of the ushers came out of #6 with a popcorn bag full of puke. A 16 year old kid staggered out soon after and started to heave his guts out in the bathroom. I went over to check on him but he couldn't talk while he was puking so I laid some paper towels out for him on the floor and went to get him some water. When I got back he was finished but he wasn't talking. I wanted to know who he was with so they could come and get him and take him home. In about an hour all the movies would be out and the bathroom would be crawling with people and he'd get stepped on.

Then my watch went off. BEEP BEEP. Hey it's 10:00pm ! My shift is over! Woohoo! I went to get another Usher to take charge of the drunk guy. I couldn't find one so I told the assistant manager Louie. Louie was a good guy. Louie went down to check the kid out and I went to get changed. Once in my street clothes I was sitting in the lobby waiting for my girlfriend and I told the only other Usher on duty about the drunk in the can. At this time, the door to cinema #6 pushed open and the BIG drunk magazine chucker from before stepped out and went into the guy's can.

We all heard some yelling and then a big WUMP that shook the wall! We ran into the can. Myself, Ross the Usher and someone else found the BIG drunk guy holding our Manager Louie by the neck against the bathroom mirror, basically sitting him in the sink(grin). Turns out the kid was his little brother and he didn't appreciate Louie telling him he had to get out of here and that the kid was drunk and underage. With the 3 of us (4 with Louie) we managed to move this guy into the lobby. Someone called Tim Horton's and asked them to send over any cops they might have there.

I'll always remember what the Big drunk guy said to us in the bathroom as we danced with him, trying to get his hand's off of Louie's neck. He was actually growling like a dog and saying over and over again "I got a lot of f@#kin' Family problems. I'm gonna kill all of you guys!". Not only did we get him out of the bathroom and out into the Cinema lobby, but there was an exit door right there that led to a utility hallway still inside the building but outside the theatre space. And it locked behind itself when it closed. I thought we could shove him out there and close it, locking him outside. We were experts at it, doing it to each other on countless shifts (I used to stick a pebble down in the frame so it wouldn't lock if I thought some ushers were going to toss me out that door. It was embarrassing, you had to circle the theatre to get back in again). So I pulled this door open, and we danced outside into the hallway, but it closed on us, leaving us locked outside with the big drunk guy with the family problems who wanted to kill us. Actually it was looking like he would actually be able to follow through on his intentions, he was having no problems throwing us around, we were just basically hanging on to his sweaty arms as he pinwheeled trying to clock one of us. This guy smelled bad.

By this time our head manager arrived on the scene (he was one of the biggest dickheads on the planet) and he opened the locked door from the other side and started to yell at this drunk guy and a strange thing happened. All of us let go of the big drunk guy. It was weird. He fixated on our manager, in his tux, standing there, yelling at him to "Get the F@ck out now!" and it was like in slow motion. Maybe this Big drunk guy will thump our manager! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sure we'll jump in at the end so he won't get killed but just let him get one or two in there first! Was I really thinking this?

Just then some guy came in from the back and inserted himself between the drunk guy who was about to charge and yelled two inches from his face "Hey hey HEY!!". (it wasn't Fat Albert). It was a plainclothes cop, and behind him was the biggest, blackest, uniformed cop I'd ever seen. One of those 6 foot 8 guys who are a bit fat but still scary because they are so tall and the big drunk guy calmed right down.

We all had to file statements but I'm sure nothing came of it. Three weeks later the big drunk guy was back to see a movie. He was sober and well behaved and didn't remember any of it. The following week my manager hired cops to work there on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday nights, and nothing like that ever happened again (on those nights at least).

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