Humphrey Bogart's Girl is a Girlfriend of Mine

I decided to catch an early bird matinee.  I do that now and then when my head is overloaded with too much stuff that didn't make much sense.  'God, I'm not sure where I go with this case."

The old Paramount Theater was but a good walk from my apartment building, three blocks uptown, one block over.  Halfway there, Tyke's Tavern made itself handily available for a couple of whiskey sours, MacKenzie style - Southern Comfort, lime juice instead of lemon, double sugar and a lime slice, on the rocks, not crushed.  Tyke used to say that I had turned a whiskey sour into something else, but in my book, it was a whiskey sour, MacKenzie style. 

Tyke was a good old boy.  Used to be a priest way back when, now he had the best neighborhood bar in Boston.  But now that I think of it, Tyke somehow tended bar the way a priest would tend a bar - he could pull  a confession out of you before you knew it and somehow left the place feeling that you were right with life again.  He was the kind of bartender that every police detective ought to know, on the ins with the local drunks, yet still with enough conscience to do the right thing.

I always wondered about the old lady who sat in the glass ticket booth.  She had always been there taking your money and slipping you your ticket.  she never wore a name tag, but always wore a white sweater draped around her shoulders, summer or winter didn't matter.  She wore cat-eye glasses draped around her neck with a silver chain and black hair combs in her salt-and-pepper hair.  Never smiled; never talked; never did much anything but take your money, give your ticket, and return to reading her romance novel.

The movie poster spoke of the feature for the night, The African Queen.  I didn't know anything about the movie, but I went to every Bogart movie that came out and I must confess I had a fancy for Kate Hepburn.   From the artwork on the poster, she must be Bogie's girl in the movie. 

I never bought popcorn, never bought a soft drink, though every now and then I would get a hankering for some Raisinettes, but not today, not for a matinee. 

I loved this old theater.  She was a palace.  Gold leaf and maroon brocade draped everywhere - a ceiling painting like the Boston night sky on a cloudless night.  Lord, this place was worth the price of admission just sit in here for a couple of hours and feel like someone rich.

The lights went down and the newsreel played, telling us about the victories being won in Korea.  Tom chased Jerry, Jerry outsmarted Tom and then the movie rolled.  Not a bad story.  Not what I had expected but a mighty fine movie.  I figured I might take blue-eyed Mary to see this one.  Yet again, I was getting more and more into this Kate Hepburn gal. 

Ordered a couple of ham sandwiches to-go, just before the Woolworth's luncheonette closed for the night and Boo and I and Mama Southern Comfort had dinner that evening by our open window and listened to a gentle summer rain come by.


The End

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