A Startling Experience

Gloucester, NSW, Australia

I moved to a town in NSW called Gloucester. Yes, we have a lot of things in Australia named after The Duke.

The town had an old cinema that had not been used for many years. I had previously worked as an assistant manager for Village Theatres in Sydney and was keen to investigate the re-opening of the old theatre. I put out some feelers around town and the owner of the property walked into my shop one day and threw a bunch of keys on the counter. He didn't say much, just that I could go and look at the property anytime.

I was so excited that I went home to collect the wife and children after closing the shop, so we could all go together. We opened the front door, all walked in and started to wander around the theatre. Seats had been removed from the downstairs, so we went upstairs, expecting to find the bio box there. But there was none. Went back downstairs and found it on the ground level. There were many other rooms and closets as well so we continued exploring. One storage area under the stairs had a lot of rubbish stacked in front of it, so I set the children to the task of removing some of it. When it was clear enough to pull open the door I set forth, stepped in and froze at what I saw. As I backed out my wife asked what was wrong, but I could not answer. I was speechless, could not answer but tried to stop them from going into the storeroom. Even though I could not speak the brain had worked out what I saw.

There slumped in the corner in the half dark was not a dead body with one hand missing, that my brain initially registered and sent appropriate signals to my body. It was a store dummy.

After I regained my power of speech, I explained to the family, they had a look for themselves and we all had a good laugh.

PS. We did not re-open the cinema but did take a casual lease on the property to operate a market. Each market day the store dummy went out the front to hold a sign indicating the market was open today.