Tony turned away from the game he was playing on his laptop. Deftly, he filled half a small bag, added butter from the self-serve dispenser, and then filled the rest of the bag and added more. After he handed it to his daughter, her pale face lit up, the crystal blue eyes twinkling.
"Yeah," Tony replied, adding a nod.
Jenny scooted toward the stairs that led to one of the theater balconies but Tony's eyes were already back to the computer screen before she had disappeared.
Tony harbored no illusions about winning a Father of the Year award. He never wanted a kid in the first place but had gotten a girlfriend knocked up seven years ago. She had insisted on having the kid but Tony wanted nothing to do with it beyond paying for an abortion. His girlfriend got all high and mighty with him but had mercifully left him by the time her second trimester was underway.
"See how you like coming home to absolute silence every night with no child to greet you!" she snapped as she stormed out of his place with her suitcase - for the last time.
Tony actually liked it just fine. He heard later on that his ex had given birth to a girl, but that was little more than a bit of trivia to him. A man of limited ambition, he liked a roll in the sack every now and then and a job that paid for a modest apartment. He didn't need much room for fancy furniture for computer games played on line or on his hard drive, so life was good.
He had a regular job doing maintenance for an old- semi-rundown movie theater in an old, semi-rundown part of town. The place concentrated on older movies, real schlock with science fiction, mystery, and horror with lots of sex thrown in. Some of those movies had even been rated X in the initial release and had to be edited for more revenue-friendly versions. But this place showed the originals, which attracted a healthy amount of geeks and perverts and just people looking for some cheap entertainment. For the price of one admission, one could stay all day and it was not uncommon to have some people practically living here for the fourteen or so hours it was open each day.
Later at night, they ran full triple-X films. Although digital home viewing was now the mainstay in the porn industry, there were plenty of folks who were nostalgic for watching hardcore on the big screen. Often, that nostalgia resulted in sticky stains in the seats but since Tony was maintenance and not janitorial, he didn't much care.
It wasn't full-time work but the owner offered to make it that if Tony would work the concessions a few days a week, too. That was fine since there was only one screen and after the initial flow of customers before each movie, no one really bothered him. His boss didn't care if he played with his computer on the job. Hell, Tony always showed up sober and did his job, so everyone was satisfied.
So all in all, Tony was content with his lot in life. That was until two months ago when his ex-girlfriend decided she wanted some freedom back in her life and literally left this kid (Tony didn't even know her name until he saw her) at his door. The former Mother-Madonna-wanna-be couldn't be tracked down and suddenly Tony had a responsibility he didn't want.
He didn't blame Jenny as she was a pretty good kid, even if she was unintentionally intruding on his existence. She didn't whine or have tantrums and seemed easy to please. Hell, if she had any say in choosing her parents, she would have done better. So he took her in and did the best he could - something he knew was rather limited.
Hiring a sitter was out of the question unless he could get a better-paying job that still gave him the leisure time on the clock he wanted. Since that wasn't going to happen, he took Jenny with him to work. Originally built in the 1920's, the place had a few balconies that no one ever used, so he had the girl stay up there and play with her few toys.
She was always happy with peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwiches, which were cheap and simple. And she could have all of the popcorn she wanted (and a little candy although Tony regulated that more tightly - after all, there were a few things about parenting he somehow knew). It also meant she could see the movies. Yeah, some of the stuff was pretty graphic but hell, kids were going to learn about sex anyway...
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Thursday, May 05, 2016