The Projector – Part 5

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

The Brighton Plaza Cinema 5/2/21 – Edward

It had been a long day for Edward. A long month. Looking over the number of movies he’d projected, it seemed on the high end of regular showings; the average was about seventy-five per day. Today, ninety-eight films ended up being projected, and such a variety too—everything from slasher movies to comedies. Edward felt put through the wringer, so to speak, throughout the day. But that was his job. It came with the territory. He looked forward to turning it all off when he got home.

The theater was closed on Mondays, so he looked ahead with relief to a day off, and Tuesdays tended to be slower than the weekends. He was glad—a bit of a break.

With the cinema’s popularity increasing since it opened last month, Edward wondered if they would add another screen. Perhaps, but not likely. It seemed reasonable to him as the attendee numbers continued to climb, sometimes even turning people away, although not that often yet. But they were always at total capacity. If not another screen and projector, he just wished they would hire someone to be a backup to run the equipment. He lamented to himself being the only person doing the work was exhausting.

Wrapping up for the day, he went over the log of the movies shown, making sure he’d listed them all. Someone in management expected them as they were tracking the shows’ statistics—genres and viewers. Edward surmised they were following what the trends were. Eventually, probably within the year of opening, the corporation told him they would make it public how The Brighton Plaza Cinema was doing. It would help boost the sales of the franchises coming into play in the future. This recordkeeping would show this new fangled way of projecting movies was good business. Good for the public, excellent for the company, but damn, it was hard on the projector. Sometimes, it just got to be too much. Edward found ways to numb himself when he got home, drugs or alcohol, but mostly, he stayed holed up in his apartment, away from the world and any more stimuli.

No one knew that the eye scan each moviegoer used to check in was pasting clear, thin strips of plastic onto their eyeballs. The film was a neural link connected to Edward, “the projector” of their movie, who was symbiotically connected to their film choice. He “streamed” the movie they selected directly into their view after having it downloaded to his brain. It was genius as it didn’t require huge movie theater complexes to stream a variety of movies. One and done, everybody got what they wanted. The best part, the plastic strips dissolved after the movie.

Being the first of its kind theater, no one knew that this projector, Edward, would eventually feel his mental health decline severely, and fairly quickly. He would, in a sense, implode from the emotional burnout of having to handle simultaneous realities. The patrons had fun, had a good cry, swooned, were entertained and thrilled, but not so for the projector. His senses were bombarded throughout his 8-hour shift, putting his nervous system into overdrive and devastating his sense of reality. Edward was being used as their guinea pig.

Ain’t capitalism grand?

THE END

Thanks so much for your support of this series! See you next month!

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