The second day of the new year, Astrid, along with pilots Hugh Chase and Carl Williams, took her space plane for another test flight. This time they broke no records for altitude or speed. Instead they pushed Ariel through a series of complex maneuvers, carefully measuring the structural integrity of the craft. She came through with flying colors.
The girl inventor was still at the airfield when her Maxxim Carpé signaled she had a phone call.
“Hello,” she said, tapping the screen to pass the call from her phone to her wrist device.
“Hi Astrid,” Toby’s voice came through the speaker. “How did your test flight go?”
“She’s got it going like a turbo vet.”
“Did you just quote Sir Mix A Lot?” he asked.
Astrid laughed. “What can I say, the man’s a poet. Seriously, Ariel is 100%. I’m ready to declare her airworthy, but we’ve still got two tests planned.”
“That’s great,” said Toby. “Another Astrid Maxxim success. The reason I called was to see if you had plans for tomorrow night?”
“Not that I know of. What’s up? It’s not another party, is it? I’m just about partied out.”
“No. Not a party, but a date.”
“I’m listening,” said Astrid.
“They’re showing a Charlie Chaplin double-feature at the Main Street Cinema and I thought we could have dinner afterwards at The Great Wall.”
Astrid was so excited about her date, she decided to stop by the Main Street Dress Emporium and purchase something new to wear. She found a cute tunic dress with bright colors that she paired up with black leggings. She also bought a pair of black heels to go with the outfit. They weren’t particularly high, but since Astrid seldom wore heels, she practiced walking in them for about an hour.
The Cinema was located at the east end of Main Street. It was a small movie theater. Originally built in 1937 in a town in Kansas, it had closed down in the fifties, and had been scheduled for demolition, but was bought and moved to Maxxim City. This was the case with many buildings on Main Street, a feature of the town that made it seem to have far more history than it actually did. Because it had only had one screen and seats for only 122 movie viewers, the Main Street Cinema seldom showed the newest movies, and never anything with digital or surround sound. It was almost always the classics. But sodas were a dollar, candy fifty cents, and all-you-could-eat buttered popcorn was included in the price of your ticket. Toby and Astrid tried not to stuff themselves too much as they watched Chaplin tramp through The Kid and Modern Times.
“It’s amazing how well Charlie Chaplin films hold up,” said Astrid, as they walked hand-in-hand down the street to The Great Wall.
“I think a lot of the great old movies hold up,” said Toby, “if people will only give them a chance.”