Never in my life had I endured such a week of anticipation. I drove everyone mad, ranting to the exclusion of all other matters while my family gazed at me in utter puzzlement. What, they wondered, had become of silent, solemn, withdrawn Zed? All of a sudden, I was bursting with animation. They all knew very soon that they preferred it the way it used to be.
The days dragged as they can only do at such times and my mother sympathised, sort of, by constantly sighing that she would be glad when Saturday was over and done with. Nothing could be allowed to stand in my way. Even Horrie, who would usually have teased me with suggestions of alternative arrangements for Saturday afternoon, and Rosely who would have thrown tantrums at missing out on the Demon’s next home game, instead seemed to treat the event with the respect that it deserved.
Saturday finally came, but there was still the morning to be endured. Horrie was under the car needing to be passed spanners while being earbashed on how giant squids lived at the very bottom of the deepest oceans and fought great battles with whales, and how they reckoned one day submarines would be able to go right under the North Pole. Finally, to the great relief of everyone, my mother gave me my admission and a little extra for something at interval and told me to be careful and away to the Regent Theatre I fled.
Still the agony wasn’t over. There were the newsreels and cartoons and serials and all the other claptrap to be got through. And interval—by then the posters and photographs relating to the cherished film had invaded every part of the foyer and I drooled and had to go for a pee twice. And at last I was in my seat and the lights dimmed... And what I saw, or in fact failed to see, was some other film altogether.
It is probably fortunate that the film I did actually see that day—admittedly through a haze of tears—is really rather dreadful, for I retain a disproportionate hatred of it still. Certainly Captain Kidd was the worst that Charles Laughton ever got mixed up in. I waited right to the end, just in case the real film was to follow. It did not. When I finally dragged myself home and only after an indecently prolonged emotional scene, I tried to explain, but they couldn’t understand. Really, neither could I. It had been there on the matinee placard. It had been all over the foyer. But it had not been on the screen. I had been betrayed by everything I knew to be worthwhile. I would never entirely trust anyone or anything again.