"I'm beginning", said Mr. Scoop. "To get The Fear."
This was followed by promises to stop drinking before having to leave the
country. Normally, I might have punched him in the arm and told him to
stop hacking Dr. Gonzo, but I understood under the circumstances.
We were, in fact, at the mall.
Now you have to realize, that left to our own devices, Mr. Scoop and I
emerge from the house only under certain conditions: to go to the jobs
that pay our booze habit, to buy some small amount of food (because
although delivery rocks, I do like to cook), and to buy booze and
comics. Not necessarily in that order.
Why were we at the mall? Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Mr. Scoop needed a new cell phone and Levis. I needed a new bra. We thought it would be best to try and purchase these things before the official start of the holiday shopping madness that would descend next weekend.
However, as we arrived at the mall we realized...so did everyone else.
The mall had decided to expand. Although it was anchored by perfectly solid institutions like Sears, Lord and Taylor's and Macy's, the suits had decided that it needed a Nordstroms. How many money sucking retail giants can you seat upon one patch of land before it turns into a the commercial equivalent of a black hole? Answer: Who knows? Great minds are still stuck on the "angels on the head of a pin" question. They'll get to the "Great Mall Debate" sometime after the year 3000, when we've all given up on leaving our homes because of UV radiation poisoning and only shop from home via the Internet anyway.
Meanwhile, the construction had caused whole sections of parking to be closed off. We parked Mr. Scoop's MR2 in a section of near no-man's land so far away as to be in the next town. We braved 3 interstates on foot to get to the nearest door of entry. Or at least it felt that way. I'd like to apologize for keying the driver's side of the black Toyota Avalon that was parked about 100 yards from the door to Macy's. I'd like to, but I won't. She nearly ran us and 3 other pedestrians over in her bid to park illegally in the handicap space. I hope she enjoys the smiley face and the C-bomb I carved into her door. It was the least I could give her for her trouble.
It might buff out. Maybe.
Mr. Scoop had spent most of the voyage from the parking lot in Nether-hell to Macy's chain smoking and surveying the terrain nervously. "Can I buy a gun here?", he asked me. "No dear", I replied.
Inside, the situation was no more reassuring. We fought our way past hoardes of perfume saleswomen only to get to the mall proper. A kiosk saleswoman latched herself onto Mr. Scoop and looked desperately up into his face. She grasped his hand and exclaimed, "Your nails are horrible! Please. Let me buff them! I have a nail care system I can sell you that uses rare Dead Sea minerals!" Mr. Scoop stared her squarely in the face. "Are you God?" he asked. "N-n-no", she stammered. "Then how dare you judge me!", he raged. "Begone, vile retail tempress!"
A lot of our trip was like that.
When we got to the center of the mall, we reached the Heart of Darkness. Photos with Santa. It's not even Thanksgiving yet.
Mr. Scoop vaulted the velvet ropes before I could do anything to stop him.
I couldn't really see what was happening clearly. I smelled cheap bourbon. I would find out later that when Mr. Scoop landed in Santa's lap, Santa vomitted Christmas. By Christmas I mean, Ten High Whiskey. I heard demands involving artillary, a pony, and a Transformer. Then Santa screamed.
I followed helplessly after the brouhaha as mall security brought a flailing, cursing Mr. Scoop out of the darkness and into the blinking daylight of the parking lot. He was trying to finish pulling up his pants.
"I left Santa a little present".
We went home.
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