After the Movie


Disclaimer: No profit, no infringement, just obsession.

Notes: This came to me after taking my Mom to see Happy Feet for Christmas. Many thanks to a little blonde girl in front of us.

Buck Wilmington blinked and rubbed his eyes as the lights came up in the theater. He looked beside him, smiling when he saw that JD was still sitting there, wide eyes glued on the screen and little mouth hanging open. "You're gonna catch a fly if you don't close your mouth, Little Bit."

Blinking, the five-year-old closed his mouth, little tongue licking across candy and popcorn coated lips. "That was really good," He proclaimed in a hushed voice.

"What, the Twizzlers?"

Rolling his eyes, JD said, "No, Da, the movie!"

"Oh, liked it, huh?"

"That was really, really, really, REALLY good! I liked it when they called that seal 'rubber butt', didn't you Da? And when they all started dancin', that was really neat. I didn't know that penguins could dance like that, did you Da?"

'Oh lord, here we go', Buck groaned to himself. The trance was off now, and a very energized. . . thanks to sugar. . . little boy was reasserting himself. "Uh, no, I didn't. But I think they just did that - "

"It was really scary when them kilder whales was tryin' to catch Mubble and -"


"--and that other penguin. . . the one with them feathers on his head."

"Yeah, that was kind of scary, but they got away, didn't they?" He tried to get the focus off of one of the more frightening aspects of the film and back toward the positive. At the same time, he unfolded his six-foot-plus frame from the theater seat and started toward the stairs. Stopping half way, he saw that JD was following, eyes still on the screen, where nothing but credits was appearing now. "C'mon, son, we're supposed to meet Chris and Vin at Maggie Moo's at five."

"'Kay." The pace didn't waver. Two steps, stop, watch a few seconds, two steps, stop. . ."

"JD, can you read all that stuff?"

"Huh?" JD stopped, gaze shifting from his father to the screen and back again.

"Never mind. Come on, buddy, we've got to go."


Finally. . . FINALLY. . . the little boy reached the steps. Buck started down, long legs taking him quickly from one little plateau to the next. Behind him he heard, *thump* *hop-hop* *thump* and knew his son was following him down the stairs, as only the joyful little brunet could.

Reaching the bottom, nodding to the theater worker who was beginning to 'police' the theater, and dropping the two paper cups and cardboard tub into the waste bin, he turned, preparing to head out of the theater. "Comin', Little Bit?"

"Yep." *hop-hop*

He was about to coax JD to put a little more energy into moving forward rather than up and down, when he felt his cell phone vibrate against his thigh. Knowing that it was more than likely Chris, asking for an ETA, he slipped the cell from his jeans and activated it. "Wilmington."

"Hi, Buck!"

He smiled at the child's voice. "Hey, Junior! How was the exhibit?" While he had taken JD to see Happy Feet, Chris had taken Vin to see the new Native American exhibit at the museum, which JD proclaimed 'boring, boring, boring'.

"Really neat! Dad bought me a book with pictures of 'bout everything in the 'xibit. Wanna see it?"

"Sure do. When will you guys be at Maggie Moo's?"

He heard the older boy calling out to his father, then in the phone he said, "Dad says ETA, fifteen minutes."

With a chuckle, Buck said, "You sound more like him every day. Okay, our ETA should be about twenty minutes, so you guys find us a nice table."

"Okay. OH! We got JD a s'prise. . . it's a coloring book they had in the gift shop, and guess what? It's got penguins in it! See ya, Buck!"

Before he could respond, the call was disconnected at the other end. Shaking his head, he turned, checking on JD's progress. He frowned when he saw the little boy jigging around from side to side as he made infinitesimal progress forward. "You need to go to the bathroom, JD?"

"Nope." The weird action continued.

"Well, that was Vin. They're going to be at Maggie Moo's in about fifteen minutes."

"'Kay." Still the dance continued.

Dance! That was it. Laughing, Buck said, "So, are you Happy Feet, there, Little Bit?"

Grinning up at his father, black bangs bobbing, the little boy said, "Yep! I'm bein' Mubble!"

Wilmington shook his head, still grinning. He waited while the child made his way along the aisle, reaching him finally. Holding out a hand, he said, "C'mon Mumble, let's go."

They moved slowly through the lobby, JD dancing along beside his father, who slowed his steps to a crawl. He smiled broadly at the other patrons as they passed by, while his son was oblivious to those around him. Most smiled back, a few asking "Good movie?" or "Happy Feet, huh?"

'Well', thought Buck as they reached the lobby door, 'at least I'm not buying anyone replacement popcorn like after Cars'.

The End

January 2007