Twist #024 – Film at Eleven by Morris Hershman

film-at-eleven

The small black coupe parked at the curb after an urgent squeal of tires. Two men hurried out into a chilling rain that plopped against their hats and coats.

“He must be close by,” Second-grade Detective Rory Dalcross snapped. “The stoolie said he’d seen our customer on this block.”

“The creep could be out past Weehawken considering the time it took us to crawl over here,” Detective Ed Aiken argued, muffling a sneeze. “I knew something would get us out on the street at a quarter to eleven on a miserable night like thi–“

“So help me, we’ve got him!” Dalcross suddenly snapped his heavy fingers. “The perp is in that movie theatre for sure.”

“How could you know that?” the snarly Aiken demanded. “Besides, it’s a building with six separate movies, and he could walk out while we’re in a different branch of the sixplex.”

“He won’t.”

“How can you know that?”

“Because the show in theatre number four won’t be finished until five minutes to eleven.”

“Huh? You think you even know which theatre he’s in?”

“I sure do, Ed.” Dalcross grinned confidently. “Take my advice and get with the program.”

Only the rain hurried him now as he walked behind his partner into the crowded softly-lighted lobby. Both men showed their I.D. cards to the first usher, who called out the anxious looking manager.

“Is this culprit–” the manager swallowed hard– “dangerous?”

“Judge for yourself. Lloyd Newburn was serving two consecutive life sentences at Ossining until last week when he shot a couple of guards and broke out. One guard was killed. The other will survive — as an imbecile.”

“Oh, Lord! Well, shouldn’t you have more men with you?”

“There’s no time for that. But we’ll get him before the show is over. There’ll be no trouble for the patrons.”

The detectives walked side-by-side with the pallid-faced manager. Lobby games were in full and noisy use. Young men and women carrying soft drinks or popcorn were surging back to various theatres. A crowd shuffled out of theatre number five. Dalcross was so sure of himself he didn’t look at any of the departing patrons, but his partner stared at the men.

After leaving his down coat on a lobby chair, Dalcross walked inconspicuously into theatre number four. At the back, he let his eyes get used to the darkness. He didn’t look at the screen, having previously seen the flick twice.

 

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