A cavernous space filled with row after row of perfectly aligned seats, gently curving inward as if beginning to form a forced smile. Above, a stately chandelier floats high over the mezzanine like an artificial sun, its thousands of lightbulbs spewing enough manufactured light to pollute even the darkest of skies. As if defying physics, the chandelier appears to levitate between the stage and the vaulted ceiling above, which ever so cleverly, by design, swallows the support chain within its elegant curves. A blood red grand drape flows like a waterfall of fabric over top of the proscenium arched stage floor, obscuring all which remains behind.
The overall symmetry of the entire space, from the flowing sea of seats to the deepest recesses of the darkened stage combined with the minute yet astute patterns hidden within the stairwell banister and the decorative plaster ceiling; it all just flows together to produce a bizarre calming effect within the boy's overthinking and over analyzing mind. It is into such vivid and imaginary daydreams, his mind would often wander. The young boy's attraction to patterns, symmetry, and repetition led him to develop a fascination with theaters, especially those ornately designed auditoriums, constructed throughout the late 1920s and into the 1930s. Numerous pictures of notable and grand theaters, from the Loew's Kings Theatre in Brooklyn to the Old Vic Theater in London, are thumbtacked around the boy's bedroom walls, many of which were printed from the boy's favorite website, cinematreasures.org. But most impressive, the boy could rattle off nearly any statistic, from seating capacity to construction date, for just about any theater built during that time span.
The school nurse chalked it up to an acute case of Aspergers, however no official diagnosis was ever set in stone. Unfortunately, the boy's peers at school found it reason enough to taunt him and so he further reclused into his fascination, becoming known to most as the theater dweeb, the social outcast at Rostrum Middle School. Even the boy's own father could not wrap his mind around the allure his son's mind would so often become trapped within. "Don't you have anything better to do than study theaters all day, you've been on that website for hours now", his father would often badger. In reality such statements broke the boy's heart the most, as to hear his own father belittle his fascination made him feel small and insignificant, completely unlike the theaters which wracked his mind for hours upon hours.
It was only a few weeks ago during which the boy made a monumental discovery, as within his very own town an empty theater remained, unused since the 1980s. He immediately became obsessed and researched the place to no end. The pictures he saw online filled his mind with curiosity, so much so that he could barely sleep. The boy just knew he had to see the alluring building for himself to quell his own curiosity, but to do so he'd have to betray his own father and sneak out of the house at night if he wished to make it inside, undetected. Time was of the essence as well, for a recent article printed within the local paper described of the theater's demise, soon to be replaced by a WaWa of course, just the very thought of such lost history filled the boy with a sense of sour remorse.
One winter evening, the wind was wicked, whipping with rage, whistling as it effortlessly licked the bare branches of the leafless tress. Their barren trunks, exposed and naked amongst the frozen winter chill, managing to stand erect without so much as a shiver running down their wood stock. Looking skyward, the evening clouds moved with furry, clearly in a hurry, perhaps to beat the hastily setting winter sun, yet for exactly what, Skylar did not worry. His intentions where not focused above but rather fixated upon the large vacant theater looming just ahead. The massive red brick edifice complete with large stately double doors crawling in peeling paint, adorned from years of neglect. The entire structure was glowing bright like fire beneath the orange, setting sun. The dead theater marquee with its shattered array of lightbulbs and whimsical neon lights hinting of eons past was now guarded beneath not by a ticket attendant but instead a row of hulking demolition equipment which took away from the overall grandeur of the massive brick monument to vaudeville of decades long deceased.
Death row she awaited, but time was nearly up for the old theater as the grip from the yellow CATERPILLAR claws parked just out front would soon diminish the historic auditorium to nothing more than a lump of twisted seats and dumpster food. The approach was simple, for the fenced-in construction site normally bustling with life was dead as the theater itself on this blustery Sunday evening. A nighttime approach was chosen for illicit entry, as despite the lifelessness of the theater, it was perched upon an active city corner bound by a bustling city street; alive by daylight and full with curious passerby's eyes. However, a gap in the fence surrounding the theater provided the perfect sneaky entrance for Skylar to wander past under the cover of darkness. Once inside the perimeter confines of the death row auditorium it was but just a mere dash to the front where Skylar had spotted a door ajar from an earlier daylight scout during a drive home from school by his father.
The sun was now fully hidden below the horizon, except for the faintest of residual rays which extended like fiery fingers quickly being sucked into the darkness of the night. It was time! Just after Skylar squeezed between the fence and rounded the corner to the front of the theater toward the unlocked and ajar door, his muscles froze with fear as what he witnessed was all too clear. Within the safety of the shadows cast by the moonlight illuminating for one last time the long dead marquee in extraterrestrial effulgence, Skylar remained paralyzed in horror. He did not dare move an inch for any sudden action would surely give away his shadowy camouflaged concealment under the blanket of the night.
Idling outside within the dangers of the dark, a lone streetlight above illumined within the corner of Skylar's eyes, the unmistakable shiny white hood of a lone Ford Crown-Victoria. The occupant of which appeared to be taking an evening snooze break directly in front of the open door leading into the safety of the deserted theater. In thought, the empty parking lot was the perfect place for a cop to catch a catnap under the dark of the night and Skylar had not thought nor planned for such a possibility.
In the distance a hollow repetitious thumping sound became increasingly audible, rattling above the rustling of the wind, but Skylar still too scared to move could only listen in horror as his mind began to play tricks about the origins of the sound's furor. As the wind gusted, so to did the thumping sound grow louder with intensity and quickness, as if physically imitating the invisible turbulence within the gusty air. Ceaselessly, the wind blew wild like a rats nest of shaggy yet springy hair, bouncing around untamed, atop the skull of a passionate orchestra conductor forcefully pulling notes from a sea of instruments within a high school bandstand.
The repetitious thumping sound began to increase in volume and speed with such ferocity that the sound became nearly melodic, forming a harmonic patten to Skylar's ears. It was with such a tune that Skylar was able to pinpoint the origin of the thumping sound to a single portable restroom barely balanced about the muddied uneven ground within the fenced off construction area. Its unhinged plastic door flapping like a polyester sail cut loose from the mast of a sailboat quivering within the wind of a savage storm much like the torso of a dying deer painfully convulses along side the gutter of a rural road moments after meeting its final match by a speeding carload.
With the cop car still parked out front idling away, Skylar knew he could not stay, he contemplated just waiting it out but the chill of the night was taking its toll and thus he could no longer stand it for much longer. He had to make a move, but calculated it must be for one wrong step and a caught trespasser he'd be. If the cop were truly sleeping he thought perhaps he could just dart past, make a run for it, but to where? Into the empty city where he'd blend in like a colorful clown trapped within a black and white horror movie? It was in that moment of contemplation that the headlights of the Crown-Vic flashed on and nearly blinded Skylar as he dropped low to the ground in response. On his stomach while french kissing the frozen mud and loose gravel, he hoped and prayed that his presence had not been blown away. He could feel his heart pound against the ground, beating louder and faster which each passing second. Soon the amounting fear and anxiety became just too much. Fight or flight, the latter of which impulsively kicked in and Skylar sprung to his legs and ran for the only safety he knew he could hide.
Toward the Port-a-John he ran with all his might, too terrified to look behind for what he might see in fright. Skylar dashed into the confines of the plastic fortified restroom which such velocity that he nearly wobbled the entire commode over and off from its unstable dirt perch. Quickly Skylar turned around and forcefully pulled the door shut behind himself, all the while the unforgiving wind continued to howl and yank at the door, as bursts whipping in through small ventilation holes within the roof of the restroom created a ghostly screeching sound. The thin polyethylene inclosure of the Port-a-John was illuminated bright blue as the headlights from the cop car were directly fixed upon the blue tinted plastic of the shitter. Skylar was shaking with fear nearly crapping himself as he assumed he had been seen. His father would surly scold the boy if he knew he was sneaking into the abandoned theater late at night. However, Skylar could not even fathom what his father would do if he then got arrested for trespassing too!
These thoughts lead to near crippling stress for Skylar, but just as he was about to succumb to a near all out panic attack, the bright headlights illuminating the blue interior of the toilet stall began to dim. Skylar could hear the sounds of small stones and frozen gravel crunch beneath the tires of what he assumed was the police car moving away. Skylar stood up top of the open toilet seat, carefully placing his feet about the narrow plastic rim to avoid a shitty slip. From this vantage he pressed his face against the air vents along the top of the stall to gain a clearer look outside. He could barely just make out the silhouette of the cop car adorned with a red and blue light bar turning around and backing up, the rear trunk of the car nearly touching the door of the Port-a-John Skylar was hiding within. The patrol car was so close that Skylar no longer had to strenuously hold the door shut in the strong wind gusts as the rear of the bumper on the Crown-Vic was physically up against the stall door, preventing it from being opened.
At this point Skylar was quite literarily shit out of luck, trapped with the confines of the temporary commode. Penetrating the thin epidermis like layer of blue plastic, Skylar could hear the crackling and often inaudible booming emanating from the police officer's radio and overheard the officer call back into the station that he was preforming speed enforcement and parked in the back corner of the old Embassy Theatre lot. A slight sigh of relief overcame Skylar as he new he was not spotted, short lived however, as a sense of claustrophobia began to creep upon the young boy as the realization that he was trapped inside a Port-a-John became all too real.
But there was nothing Skylar could do except sit upon the porcelain thrown and await for a speeder to whizz by outside, in hopes the cop would follow suit with lights blazing at which point he could make a run for it and escape back to safety. But as the minutes passed the situation inside the blue plastic box grew dire by the second. Despite the cold temperatures outside, the interior of the confined Port-a-John was beginning to warm up from Skylar's body heat alone. With the rising temperature followed an overwhelming stench of decomposing human fecal matter combined with stagnant piss so thick with the rank of ammonia that Skylar physically started to feel ill to his stomach, but he had to resist upchucking for any sound and the cop parked directly in front would surely hear and thus investigate. A half-hour quickly turned into an hour and an hour into two as Skylar remained trapped within the portable restroom shelter. It was obvious the cop must be snoozing away but there was nothing Skylar could do but continue to wait out the situation.
Trying to kill what little sense of time there was, Skylar started to look around the inside of the stall, using his phone as a dim flashlight. But this turned out to be a poor idea as his eyes wandered to the interior of the bowl which was caked with a slurry of what looked like a viscous mixture of refried beans mixed in with whole corn kernels, blown out from a bodily orifice with such velocity that it caked the interior and rear of the entire toilet area with brown shit speckles. Glitter shits, Skylar joked to himself, all humor quickly killed however as a black log the size of a football was spotted floating just above the surface of the water like a crocodile half concealed under a blanket of neon algae, ready to snap. A swamp of feminine hygiene products floated about the surface tension of the water like toxic lily pads, their white strings dangling like anchor lines into the blue chemical water, which filled the toilet bowl reservoir.
Streamers of twisted toilet paper snagged between the the bowl and the seat lid cover were held down by the weight of shit stains. The sensation to gag at this point was nearly unstoppable for Skylar but he held his barf back. However, the sight of the men's urinal inside the Port-a-John was the final blow to Skylar's stomach. The once blue plastic was now stained highlighter yellow by years worth of urine. The drain was clogged with a mound of pubic hair, seven cigarettes butts, a single Cheez-It cracker, and an unfurled condom; the nauseating imagery caused Skylar to puke just ever so slightly inside his mouth. He couldn't help it as he heaved over the bowl to empty his mouth of the acid soup concoction his body just produced, ladled within his quivering jaw. Splashing into the blue water the vomit appeared more like left over chili and beans then the spaghetti he actually ate for dinner hours earlier. Just as Skylar began to become overtaken by pure disgust, the booming of the cop's radio broke the silence of the night. The interior of the Port-a-John now glowed a dull red hue as the break lights on the Crown-Vic flashed on. The radio roared again. "10-25, can we get a positive confirmation on a white male suspect walking erratically near the intersection of Grand Ave and Main?"
A moment of radio silence, followed by the brake lights on the police cruiser fully illuminating bright red. The Crown-Vic inched backward just barely tapping the Port-A-John shaking it some, before speeding off into the darkness to investigate the call. The momentum of the patrol car's wheels momentarily spinning within the loose gravel just before the vehicle took off into the night, spewed a hurricane force blast of gravel and dirt against the portable plastic restroom's stall doors. The violent action caused the entire enclosure to rock off its unsteady balance upon the uneven ground and fall completely face down, door side pinned to the ground, the disarray ending with a loud THUMP! Chaos, as Skylar was immediately knocked the ground, bewildered as he looked around only to see the white roof the the Port-a-John now positioned straight ahead and the toilet at an angle beginning to spill its contents. Worse yet, Skylar could not stand upright for the plastic stall had fallen at such an angle that all he could do was kneel and crawl.
Skylar began to scream in horror as the stew from the toilet and highlighter yellow acidic liquid from the urinal pipes began to flood the interior of the Port-a-John as it lay on its side. Skylar was trapped for the door was pinned down against the frozen ground. Mercilessly Skylar kicked against the flexible walls of the lavatory stall and scraped at the ceiling and walls with such terror and strength that blue plastic bits began to curl up under his fingernails. Skylar's screams of horror and help fell upon deaf ears within the empty night of the city, the cop just seconds ago near, now far off, investigating another cause. The sewage stew began to soak Skylar to the bone as it slowly filled the portable stall up like a bathtub from Hell, Skylar helpless, as he lay facedown within the lavatory liquor. Globs of saturated toilet paper and bobbing turds floated past his torso. An unbearable stench quickly began to build up within the impervious polyethylene portable stall. Skylar flailed around his arms as if beginning to physically drown, but everything he grabbed onto had the consistency of soft clay as it squished and oozed between his fingers. Kicking his feet only worked to splash the seeping fecal slurry around further, now drenching his hair in grotesque brown gravy.
Gasps for air were followed by the sensation of drowning, Skylar's lungs were filling with gas, but it was of the deadly methane kind as it began to displace the oxygen within the small stall. Fighting to breath, Skylar's face began to turn red as the boy began to succumb to respiratory distress. Soon his vision blurred and his brain began to drift into an infinite sleep. After only just a few minutes, Skylar's screams of horror and kicking turned to silence, blending in all too well with the calm of the night. Skylar lay motionless within the blue plastic coffin as drips of raw sewage began to seep out from the tiny narrow ventilation slots within the horizontal Port-a-John.
It wasn't until early Monday morning that a construction foreman arriving on site discovered the fallen restroom and upon attempting to upright the commode, was stricken in terror as Skylar's motionless body, frozen within a cube of sewage, fell out directly upon the man's steel toed boots, landing with a lifeless THUMP! The boy's expression of horror and fight from the night before, still visible and strewn across his face, now partially obscured beneath a frozen layer of toilet tissue and used feminine pads.