A Few Days Later
The von Bruinwalds went to see The Wizard of Uz, a newly released movie. Dusk was falling as they stood in line, a line that extended all the way down the block. As luck would have it, they were near the end of it.
"Can I get popcorn?" asked Molly, tugging on her mother's sleeve.
"Yeah, me, too," said Baloo.
"Me three," rejoined Kit.
"You mean I packed all these candy bars in my purse for nothing?" said Rebecca, a little peeved.
"Don't forget the sodas we stashed in Cassie's diaper bag," added Molly loudly.
"Molly, shh! We're not supposed to bring food into the theater," Kit admonished.
The little girl grinned. "We're being sneaky. Danger Woman sneaks food past the evil food police." She was off in a world of make-believe. "Give up, food police, here comes Danger Woman!"
"Don't worry 'bout the goodies, Beckers. We'll polish it all off," Baloo peeked into the diaper bag that he was holding; "in the first half hour."
"Remember your diet, darling."
"Diet, schmiet..." grumbled Baloo.
"I hear the witch is really scary," said Molly, hopping back and forth over a crack in the sidewalk.
Kit nudged Baloo's elbow with a smirk. "Should we reserve a space for you under the seat, Papa Bear?"
Baloo looked annoyed. "Tell me again why we're goin' to this flick?"
"Because Molly wants to see it. The Wizard of Uz is one of her favorite books." Rebecca shifted Cassie to the other hip.
Baloo peered over the tops of people's heads up the line. He could barely make out the title of the movie on the theater's flashing marquee. "Hope we get in ta see it tonight. Dunno if I can handle standin' in line any longer."
"We've been here for exactly ten minutes, Baloo," Rebecca retorted, shaking her head. She nuzzled the baby's cheek, flashing a teasing look at her husband. "Daddy needs to learn patience. Can you say 'patience', Cassie?"
"I'll learn ya somethin', Becky," he muttered sullenly.
"Finally, we're moving!" Kit said.
They took three steps and stopped.
"Think Cassie will be scared by the witch?" Molly asked her mother.
"No, Pumpkin, she'll probably sleep through the entire thing, just like your father slept through It Went with the Wind."
"Hey, you didn't tell me it was gonna be four hours long! An' I didn't sleep through the whole thing."
Rebecca giggled. "You're right. You woke up screaming, 'Air pirates!' when they fired cannons."
"Really, Papa Bear?" Kit laughed.
Wishing that he could sink through the sidewalk, Baloo's cheeks turned pink. "Well, they sounded like air pirates ta me."
He was relieved when Molly changed the subject. "Know what? I was reading Wizard of Uz to Cassie last night. She liked it."
"Did she tell you that, sis?" Kit teased.
"No, but I know she did," Molly replied smugly. "She smiled."
"Aw, she smiles at everything. Don't you, Cassie?"
In response to Kit's question, Cassie flashed him a sweet, toothless grin.
"Told ya," Kit said, gently tickling the baby's toes, prompting fits of giggles. "Not a care in the world."
"Except bein' hungry an' sleepy an' dirty," Baloo added.
"Just like you, Baloo," Rebecca said sarcastically.
"Hardy-har-har, Beckers." He playfully nudged her elbow.
After another ten minutes of standing in line, they finally arrived at the ticket window.
"How many?" inquired the high-school aged male elephant.
"Five," Baloo said proudly. "Two adults, three kids."
"That'll be $1.75."
Baloo dug out his wallet. "I got a dollar an' two checks."
Rebecca sighed. Her husband never had any cash. "Kit, could you...?"
"I'm on it, Mom." Kit was already fingering through his mother's coin purse for change.
The elephant handed them five tickets. Per Rebecca's decision, they bypassed the snack counter. They filed into seats on the left side of the theater: Rebecca with Cassie, Molly, Kit, and Baloo. The MovieTone News was already playing.
"Pass the candy, Beckers," Baloo hissed, digging the sodas from the diaper bag and giving one to his son.
Molly said, "I'll hold Cassie, Mom, and explain the movie to her."
"Okay, sweetie." Smiling, Rebecca passed the baby to Molly before she began rifling through her purse for the half-melted chocolate.
The film's theme music filled the air, nearly rendering the audience deaf by its loud volume. On the larger-than-life screen, the black-and-white title appeared.
"That says The Wizard of Uz, Cassie," Molly whispered.
Cassie was more interested in the shadows flickering over her big sister's face than the movie itself.
Molly continued quietly, "Just like the book I was reading to you last night, remember? Now, don't be scared of the witch, 'cause it's all just pretend."