Mike walked slow, through the mall’s hive. He was frightened, but inspired. Miniscule, yet massive. A lady, probably in her late 40s, flies to him like a buzzard to a fresh kill. “Hi, you here shopping?”
“Yeah, actually I gotta-” he began.
“Let me show you what you can get for some of the women in your life,” she asserts. The lady grabed him by the right elbow, in a way that one of her fingers press on, dug into, a funny bone-ish zone. Mike had to bite the inside of his lip, which also hurt, to cope with the discomfort she gifted.
At a table she stopped, releasing Mike’s branch. In front of him, a florescent selection of shirts that read “SKANK,” in varying fonts, depending on which shirt you snatched. And on the note of snatching items from a table, a few of the other shirts boasted “SNATCHY.” “Oh that’s okay, I already bought all my gifts. Thanks...though.”
“These are empowering shirts! Your women will love them.”
“My women? What do you mean?” Mike wanted some expansion on that statement.
“Your girlfriend, your mom, your sister. Whoever.” Her brows were raised, knowing this customer couldn’t walk away from such connection to and belief in a product on the part of the one selling.
“No thank you, really,” Mike said, smiling back. She rolled her eyes, walked away, snagging another carcass. Mike continued his steps toward the exit, which was still a ways from his locale. He looked to his right, looking through the giant glass doors by the Starbucks. Rain. As he walked through the congealed plain of consumers, Mike noted as many characters as he could, not that he would remember half of them, or even two-thirds, when back in his study. He stopped at a bench, up against a marble wall, near an interior entrance to one of the colossal department temples. Forgot his notebook, at home, he realized, reaching into his back pocket. With phone out, in “Notes” mode, he noted.
-Girls tending counters in makeup section, with so much makeup on their faces they look like they belong IN an ACTUAL painting.
-So much money spent, such short spans of time, seconds.
-Older man, looking lost, scared. Feel sorry for him. One day, will I be that aged?
-Lady at the SKANK/SNATCHY counter...fascinating, really. How are those monikers empowering?
I’m not judging, at all. All these varietals of Human life could be beautifully blended into any genre of manuscript. Love these characters, all of them. I wonder if they’re looking at me, realizing I’m trapping them, on this page--or, actually, in this phone. Feel like an obvious spy, which, I guess, nullifies any worthiness as a Literary incognito.
The SKANK lady just passed me, her eyes hurling spiteful shurikens. The mall feels like it rumbles beneath me, like it’s cognitive, angry with the trampling soles.
Mike stood up, shot for the doors. On the drive home, he watched the wipers toss drops off the glass. He didn’t know if this meant anything. On the radio, he heard of a fight at a Bay Area mall, in San Jose, that lead to two shoppers being rushed to a nearby ICU. Mike couldn’t understand this. He didn’t want to.