Volume 1, Number 4 -- November, 1996

The Mall

Dean Shutt

It was just another day, really. Me and Dave (the other Dave) were headed down to the mall. There was a sale at the Anything-for-a-buck store that Dave didn't want to miss. I went with him cause the air was on the fritz at our apartment and I figured the mall would be cooler. We spent a lot of time at the mall that summer Dave and I. Seems like our air was never working on the hot days. I just can't handle the heat myself, your shorts get all sticky and they start to creep up...well, you know what I mean.

Anyway, we got down to the mall just as it opened, as we usually did. You see, we worked mids Dave and I, so we had a lot of free time on our hands during the day. Dave made a beeline for the Anything-for-a-buck store, meanwhile I was headed to the hairdressers. Now before you start getting any ideas about Dave and me, let me assure we were full-fledged, card-carrying members of the heterosexual club. Sure we lived together, but when you earned what we did and lived where we lived, well, let's just say we were lucky we didn't have to share quarters with fifteen Guatemalan immigrants. The reason I was headed to the hairdressers was to see my beloved. You see I had met her some months before and even though she had never actually talked to me or anything like that, it was fairly obvious that she wanted me. Oh sure, she was good at hiding it, even to the extent of saying no each of the thirty-four times I had asked her out, and getting the restraining order and changing jobs and phone numbers and I'm pretty sure she was a blonde named Mary when we first met and now she was a redhead named Judy but still I have a sense for these things and I could tell that as soon as the police left and we could be alone...well let's just say I was pretty confident of my chances.

When I got to the hairdresser's they told me that Mary/Judy wasn't working that day. I was suspicious because I had this feeling that her co-workers were trying to keep us apart. But then I consulted my pocket-sized copy of her schedule for that month (I kept the yearly at home on my wall) and saw that they weren't lying to me...this time. So I headed off to find Dave and see if he was up for a game of mall security guard. In case you were wondering, mall security guard is played by seeing how many employee discounts you can get by telling people you are undercover mall security. It is a great game and Dave and I played it often that summer. We wouldn't be playing this day though, as I found out when Dave came running up to me all out of breath and excited. He looked like he had just found a half price sale at Beverages & More. He was agitated though, like he found a half price sale at Beverages & More but it was two days before pay day.

I asked him what was the matter and he started babbling some nonsense about a gunman going crazy on the first floor near the corndog stand with an AK-47 and two 357 magnums. He was obviously overwrought so I smacked him upside his head and asked him tell me what the hell was going on here. The shot upside his head obviously calmed him down some, because he was finally able to tell me calmly and rationally about some crazed gunman by the corndog stand with an AK-47, two 357 magnums and a knife. See, people tend to leave out the details when they are overwrought.

We were both immediately aware that this situation was going to require action and that we were the men to take it. We were both military guys you know, so we both knew just what to do. We made our way to the mall directory and made our plan. Dave would hit the smokeshop and pick us up some of those neat brushed chrome Zippos and a couple of cartons of smokes, I was headed to Sears to check out the televisions. Don't let anyone tell you that looting doesn't take planning and skill, it does, and lot's of it. We headed off to our assigned tasks, whistling a happy tune, and what should happen but the bozo with the AK was blocking our path. This wouldn't do at all, it was bad enough that this ding-dong was causing all of this commotion in our mall. But to keep us from doing our rightful share of looting that disasters entail, well that was just wrong. We were just about to point this out to Fred the rent-a-cop when Fred took a round from the AK. Now let me tell you about Fred, he was a good and kind man who took his pathetic little job seriously. Not seriously enough to keep him from helping Dave and I load that espresso machine (the professional model, not one of those dinky tabletop jobs) into my car during the '89 quake, but pretty seriously nonetheless. The point being, that now the yahoo had pissed us off, it was time to take action.

In no time we had a plan, which isn't really surprising when you realize that it wasn't much of a plan. Dave headed off to Barbecues Galore for some briquettes, lighter fluid and those really cool long matches. I made my way to Stroud's for some king-sized comforters and a couple of pillows. Our plan was to meet back at the top of the escalator, for some reason these freaks just can't resist escalators. Dave had no trouble grabbing what he needed and getting back to the command post, those BG people are a cowardly lot and had taken off at the first sound of gunfire. I however, was having a somewhat more difficult time of it. It takes certain kind of man to work full-time in a store that specializes in bedding, and it isn't the sort of man who cuts and runs at the first little bit of gun play that he hears. So when I came tearing up to the checkout with several hundred dollars worth oh bedding in my arms, old Lou was already asking if it would be check, cash or charge. I had been meaning to apply for a Stroud's card anyway, and it only took an extra fifteen minutes, so I figured what the heck, the loon could wait.

By the time I got back to the escalator, Dave already had the operation in full swing. He was tracking the doofus along the upper deck, dropping a combination of lit matches and flaming briquettes on him from above. The matches were nice because they got tangled in his hair pretty easily. However, you manage to land a flaming briquette in someone's pocket...now that is effective. Since Dave seemed to be doing OK with his little game of tag, I grabbed the rest of the lighter fluid and headed to the escalator. You know they say that all of the bedding nowadays is nonflammable, let me just say that after the first gallon or so of charcoal fluid, they won't only burn, they'll melt and stick.

The timing was perfect, just as I finished soaking the comforter and pillows in fluid, Dave had the goon coming up the escalator. I lit up one of the pillows and let him have it, just to let the nimrod know he was dealing with the first team. Amazingly it didn't even slow him down. He ducked it and gave me a smile that would have chilled my soul if I didn't know what we had planned for him. He made it to the top of the escalator and Dave caught him in the back of the head with the other pillow, that sent him sprawling. I moved in with the comforter and tossed it over him. His flailing about like a nutcase took care of the rest. In no time at all he was wrapped up tighter than a Cuban cigar (an amazingly apt analogy as you will soon see). I looked at Dave and we allowed ourselves a victory smile, we had the dimwit, it would just be a matter of time till the fumes got him.

Then we heard the sound, it sounded just like a lighter fluid soaked comforter being sliced by a gunwielding lunatic's hunting knife. Which would make sense because that is exactly what it was. I grabbed for the matches and found that Dave had used them all in tormenting the moron. I looked at Dave and he gave me a grin, turns out he made it to the smokeshop to grab those Zippos after all.

Now you would think that we would be heroes (or at least get an employee discount card) after the way we took the loser out. That wasn't the way it worked out though, turns out the mall management was pretty upset with us. It wasn't our fault though, I mean who would be dumb enough to build an entire mall out of wood in this day and age?

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

[an error occurred while processing this directive]