Okay, I don't hang around malls. It wasn't part of my environment growing up. Boise didn't get it's first mall until about ten years after I left. Oh, I'd been to malls (primarily in southern California on vacations), but I was always pretty overwhelmed and over stimulated by the number of opportunities to buy things I didn't need or want by had to have.
Now just let me preface this by saying Tess and I were watching the remake of Night of the Living Dead the other night. Much of the movie is set in a mall because the people running from the zombies barricaded themselves there under the false presumption that zombies wouldn't find them there because everyone knows zombies feed on brains and there are not a lot of those to be found at your average mall.
Anyway, I walk into the mall and realize that it doesn't technically open for another 30 minutes and all of the stores have their gates down and maintenance people and mall workers are milling about drinking coffee. So I'm thinking about Night of the Living Dead and looking at possible places to hide when I see these figures in the distance walking erratically towards me with outstretched arms. And I swear I thought I heard them murmuring something about "brains" as they careened from side to side of the mall, advancing towards me.
I was just suppressing a shriek that would have rivaled any little girl when I overheard a security guard say, "Here come the mall walkers." I didn't know whether to be relieved or run away. There must have been have been maybe 50 of what my friend in the casino industry used to refer to as "blue heads" jockeying for position as they did laps of the mall before it opened.
I sat down on a bench and watched in fascination as the mall walkers staggered past me. And I know that I'm going to hell for this, but in my head I began to hear the voice of a race track announcer:
And on the outside there is Speed Walker with Handbreaks followed by Pacemaker by a head. Coming up on the outside is Plastic Rainbonnet with Shorts-n-Black Socks and Hip Replacement close behind. They are heading into the home stretch approaching the Cinnabon. And coming from behind is Oxygen Tank. Oh my, Plastic Rainbonnet is down. Now it's Speed Walker with Handbreaks and Oxygen Tank. It's Speed Walker with Handbreaks and Oxygen Tank...my oh my oh my....IT'S OXYGEN TANK BY A NOSE HAIR!!!!This kind of pissed me off because my money would have been on Speed Walker with Handbreaks. But I was quickly distracted by a security guard breaking up a scuffle in front of the Cinnabon. Apparently a new Cinnabon employee had made the mistake of handing out samples just as the Mall Walkers were passing by. I saw a tray hit the floor followed by the Cinnabon employee. Security guards began swooping in from all sides and the Mall Walkers began making a break for it in a blur of polyester with bits of cinnamon rolls clutched in their hands. And then they were gone.
I sat on the bench stunned at the drama that had just unfolded before me. Who would have thought this kind of thing went on at a shopping mall in the wee hours before the vendors open their gates and begin hawking lotions, cell phones and head massagers. I felt like Marlin Perkins from the old Wild Kingdom show witnessing the mating ritual of Nigerian Wombats.
I for one will never look at a mall in the same way.