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View From Your Table

New Orleans, Louisiana

James C., in one of the holy places in New Orleans! This has to be one of the best VFYTs ever!

From A Confederacy of Dunces:

He sat at attention in the darkness of the Prytania only a few rows from the screen, his body filling the seat and protruding into the two adjoining ones. On the seat to his right he had stationed his overcoat, three Milky Ways, and two auxiliary bags of popcorn, the bags neatly rolled at the top to keep the popcorn warm and crisp. Ignatius ate his current popcorn and stared raptly at the previews of coming attractions. One of the films looked bad enough, he thought, to bring him back to the Prytania in a few days. Then the screen glowed in bright, wide technicolor, the lion roared, and the title of the excess flashed on the screen before his miraculous blue and yellow eyes. His face froze and his popcorn bag began to shake. Upon entering the theater, he had carefully buttoned the two earflaps to the top of his cap, and now the strident score of the musical assaulted his naked ears from a variety of speakers. He listened to the music, detecting two popular songs which he particularly disliked, and scrutinized the credits closely to find any names of performers who normally nauseated him.

He put the empty popcorn bag to his full lips, inflated it and waited, his eyes gleaming with reflected technicolor…In the darkness two trembling hands met violently. The popcorn bag exploded with a bang. The children shrieked.

“What’s all that noise?” the woman at the candy counter asked the manager.

“He’s here tonight,” the manager told her, pointing across the theater to the hulking silhouette at the bottom of the screen. The manager walked down the aisle to the front rows, where the shrieking was growing wilder. Their fear having dissipated itself, the children were holding a competition of shrieking. Ignatius listened to the bloodcurdling little trebles and giggles and gloated in his dark lair. With a few mild threats, the manager quieted the front rows and then glanced down in the row in which the isolated figure of Ignatius rose like some great monster among the little heads.

“Oh my goodness!” Ignatius shouted, unable to contain himself any longer…“What degenerate produced this abortion?”

“Shut up,” someone shouted behind him.

When a love scene appeared to be developing, he bounded up out of his seat and stomped up the aisle to the candy counter for more popcorn, but as he returned to his seat, the two pink figures were just preparing to kiss.

“They probably have halitosis,” Ignatius announced over the heads of the children. “I hate to think of the obscene places that those mouths have doubtlessly been before!”

“You’ll have to do something,” the candy woman told the manager laconically. “He’s worse than ever tonight.”

The manager sighed and started dow the aisle to where Ignatius was mumbling, “Oh, my God, their tongues are all over each other’s capped and rotting teeth.”

James C. is coming to visit me and my family in Baton Rouge this weekend. We’ll be cooking together. There will be photos.

UPDATE: James C. stopped by the Commerce diner in the Central Business District:

New Orleans, Louisiana

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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