TWENTY-ONE, 2.0

Maria stood in front of the double-doors, arms spread as wide as her little frame would allow, shouting, yet again, “Sorry, no entry just yet.”

The swarm of moviegoers stared at her, some shouted from the back “Why the hell not?” while others crossed their arms and glared.

A bald man in the front of the line said, “I’m gonna ask for my money back, this is an absurd festival.” He looked like an angry-all-of-the-time type of guy.

“That’s not my department.”

“Don’t talk to me that way.” Now his finger was in her face.

“You mean, like an adult?” Over the headset, Maria heard Alice’s call for a medic to the projection booth.

“Is Ian okay?” No answer. “Alice, is Ian okay?”

“Ian is…well, Maria just stay downstairs, okay?” Maria threw down her clipboard and ran to the staircase. She heard the crowd behind her burst through the double-doors, but she didn’t care.

Up in the projection booth, Ian was standing by a machine, Maria couldn’t tell what it was, but he had his back to the door. Alice stopped her, “What are you doing up here?!”

Maria said, “Ian, are you–” then she saw it. “Not again!”

“It’s not stuck, I mean, not really. Maria, I love you!”

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