When Fortuna spins you downward, go out to a movie and get more out of life. Ignatius was about to say this to himself; the he remembered that he went to the movies almost every night, no matter which way Fortuna was spinning.
He sat at attention in the darkness of the Prytania only a few rows from the screen, his body filling the seat and protruding into the two adjoining ones. On the seat to his right he had stationed his overcoat, three Milky Ways, and two auxiliary bags of popcorn, the bags neatly rolled at the top to keep the popcorn warm and crisp. Ignatius ate his current popcorn and stared raptly at the previews of coming attractions. One of the films looked bad enough, he thought, to bring him back to the Prytania in a few days. Then the screen glowed in bright, wide technicolor, the lion roared, and the title of the excess flashed on the screen before his miraculous blue and yellow eyes. His face froze and his popcorn bag began to shake. Upon entering the theater, he had carefully buttoned the two earflaps to the top of his cap, and now the strident score of the musical assaulted his naked ears from a variety of speakers. He listened to the music, detecting two popular songs which he particularly disliked, and scrutinized the credits closely to find any names of performers who normally nauseated him.
When the credits had ended and Ignatius had noted that several of the actors, the composer, the director, the hair designer, and the assistant producer were all people whose efforts had offended him at various times in the past, there appeared in the technicolor a scene of many extras milling about a circus tent. He greedily studied the crowd and found the heroine standing near a sideshow.
"Oh, my God!" he screamed, "There she is."
The children in the rows in front of him turned and stared, but Ignatius did not notice them. The blue and yellow eyes were following the heroine, who was gaily carrying a pail of water to what turned out to be her elephant.
"This is going to be even worse than I thought," Ignatius said when he saw the elephant.
He put the empty popcorn bag to his full lips, inflated it, and wait, his eyes gleaming with reflected technicolor. A tympany beat and the soundtrack filled with violins. The heroine and Ignatius opened their mouths simultaneously, hers in song, his in a groan. In the darkness two trembling hands met violently. The popcorn bag exploded with a bang. The children shrieked.
"What's all that noise?" the woman at the candy counter asked the manager.
"He's here tonight," the manager told her, pointing across the theater to the hulking silhouette at the bottom of the screen. The manager walked down the aisle to the front rows, where the shrieking was growing wilder. Their fear having dissipated itself, the children were holding a competition of shrieking. Ignatius listened to the bloodcurdling little trebles and giggles and gloated in his dark lair. With a few mild threats, the manager quieted the front rows and then glanced down the row in which the isolated figure of Ignatius rose like some great monster among the little heads. But he was treated only to a puffy profile. The eyes that shone under the green visor were following the heroine and her elephant across the wide screen and into the circus tent.
For a while Ignatius was relatively still, reacting to the unfolding plot with only an occasional subdued snort. Then what seemed to be the film's entire cast was up on the wires. In the foreground, on a trapeze, was the heroine. She swung back and forth to a waltz. She smiled in a huge close-up. Ignatius inspected her teeth for cavities and fillings. She extended one leg. Ignatius rapidly surveyed its contours for structural defects. She began to sing about trying over and over again until you succeeded. Ignatius quivered as the philosophy of the lyrics became clear. He studied her grip on the trapeze in the hope that the camera would record her fatal plunge to the sawdust far below.
On the second chorus the entire ensemble joined in the song, smiling and singing lustily about ultimate success while they swung, dangled, flipped, and soared.
"Oh, good heavens!" Ignatius shouted, unable to contain himself any longer. Popcorn spilled down his shirt and gathered in the folds of his trousers. "What degenerate produced this abortion?"
"Shut up," someone said behind him.
"Just look at those smiling morons! If only all of those wires would snap!" Ignatius rattled the few kernels of popcorn in his last bag. "Thank God that scene is over."
When a love scene appeared to be developing, he bounded up out of his seat and stomped up the aisle to the candy counter for more popcorn, but as he returned to his seat, the two big pink figures were just preparing to kiss.
"They probably have halitosis," Ignatius announced over the heads of the children. "I hate to think of the obscene places that those mouths have doubtlessly been before!"
"You'll have to do something," the candy woman told the manager laconically, "He's worse than ever tonight."
The manager sighed and started down the aisle to where Ignatius was mumbling, "Oh my God, their tongues are probably all over each other's capped and rotting teeth."