The bag of popcorn that you’ve been handed is covered in rules and regulations. “Do not allow your popcorn or any other items from concessions to contaminate the screen. Be considerate of the allergies and tastes of other movie goers.” “All food containers must be thoroughly disposed of before leaving the theater. Failure to abide by this policy renders you subject to search and seizure.” “No drinking from cellular phones is allowed.”
It seems excessive, but you’re excited nonetheless. This is the first time that you’ve been cleared to see a film on Screen Zero at the Electric Fool’s Theatre.
The previews are just ending as you walk in. The screen takes up most of the whirlpool-shaped floor, around which numerous other members of the audience have gathered. In the center is a fountain gushing cinemafluid from five distinct valves, one for each of the primary senses. The luminous substance trickles through a series of lenses before swirling into a slurry of synesthetic scenes below.
You do what everyone else does. You squeeze your way towards the front of crowd and cup your hands, drawing it up to your mouth and swallowing as much as you can. The sharp flavor of a car crash causes your jaw to jerk to the left after the first few handfuls; the heat is somewhere between bonfire and jalapeño. You follow the footsteps of the protagonist as the sharp bitterness of his aftershave drifts through your mind’s tongue. His eyes are apple cider, his voice is cool cognac.
By the time the credits begin rolling, you’re not entirely sure what it was you were watching, but you know that it isn’t sitting well in your stomach. You make it to the garbage bin just in time to vomit. As you do, the entire film plays on rewind through your skull, comprehensible at last.