Friday, July 16, 2010

at the mall

I am at the mall. My daughters and their friend Emily have gone to wander around, and I am deposited among the other old people in one of the comfortable chairs near the entrance to the Food Court.

It is Friday around noon. Kids are in strollers pushed by fathers in sandals and mothers in flip-flops; toddlers sipping from white Styrofoam cups; mall workers eating large mustard-dipped pretzels.

Old man with faded tattoos, a crew cut, skinny legs and baggy shorts passes.

The men's summer uniform, which I am also wearing, is Khaki Shorts with Leg Pockets. There are two types of men's Khaki Shorts with Leg Pockets: those that end above the knee, and those that end below the knee. Footwear is tennis shoes or sandals. There is one guy wearing Crocs.

Here is a teenage boy in faded camouflage shorts (below knee) with Boba Fett print white tee.

A group of four guys with blue jeans and phone holsters walk by; very old man with cane and Elephantitis (?) discolored (purple) skin over wrist with skin sloughing off; girl in blue shirt texting into green phone; giant guy with blue striped shirt, new Khaki Shorts (no Leg Pockets) who looks like he has to poop, followed by two miniature versions of himself go waddling by into the JCPenny.

Why do fat men insist on tucking in their shirts?

Girl exits Food Court crying, shades of Lindsay Lohan: white top, fnck-me black pumps with ankle straps, black Capri pants, oversized white sunglasses up on head, running mascara, freckles, brunette ponytail; girl's softball team with purple practice jerseys walk by in group of ten; skinny white kid with sideways white baseball cap (no logo) Hollister white tee, plaid shorts, walking with his rotund (all in black) mother. They shuffle out the door; Old man, bright orange Polynesian shirt, high white socks, sandals, Khaki shorts, liver spots, wife.

The Food Court is called "Café in The Woods". This is Woodland Mall. Food Court stores within sight are as follows: Wetzel's Pretzels, AJ's All American Bites, Great Steak and Potato Company, Subway, Suki Hana. I'm pretty sure there is an A&W down there, but I'm not sure. I assume there is a Sbarro down there, since they are in every mall.

Old woman tanning-booth victim, loose black/brown print shirt, black pants, loping walk, orange-ish hair; bald guy, grey hair over ears, lime-green shirt, whistling and swinging car keys in left hand, same plaid shorts as sideways-hat kid; two guys talking sports in chairs next to mine. One guy holds empty Gatorade bottle. Tiny amount of red liquid in very bottom of bottle; Denim jeans crew returns. Each denim-jean guy has a nametag clipped to a front belt loop; black guy who looks like Don Cheadle in jeans and grey tee; pigeon toed girl in flip-flops, white shorts, pink top, long pale legs, pink cell phone accompanied by shorter red-haired girl sidekick; girl with silver earrings, burgundy shirt, blue Nike shorts, two bags in left hand, right arm swings in long arc as she goes into JCPenny; toddler wanders into LensCrafters, mother in pursuit; business woman, black stretch pants, white shirt, water bottle held in napkin which is wrapped around bottle, junk in trunk; shriveled disabled lady in super-fast motorized cart.

Softball team returns with coach. The two guys sitting next to me are also coaches. Third coach talks to seated coaches. The team jerseys say "Grandville". Area volume level increases sharply. Team stands in group near entrance to "Café in The Woods" Food Court. All the softball girls wear flip-flops and socks.

Fat guy in "Just Do It" grey tee, seventies porn-star mustache, flip-flops, grey hair cut short, wife, two daughters in tow.

Overheard: "I be in the dressing room if you don't see me."

Emaciated girl with owl-eyed mascara and blue short shorts with seedy boyfriend who wears white wife-beater tee; janitor in red shirt with yellow mop-bucket/trash-can/dustpan/broom cart does a drive-by of area; guy in yellow "Caterpillar" tee cracks a Red Bull he has just purchased from Wetzel's Pretzels.

Young guy in "Microsoft" outfit: Blue button-down shirt, burgundy tie, khaki (Dockers) pants, business comfy shoes, dark belt, conservative hair; guy in green "STAFF" shirt, Dr. Strange chin-only goatee, red lanyard with ID, Khaki Shorts (Below Knee, sans Leg Pockets), brown sandals.

I have only seen two people talking on cell phones.

Live-action Butthead (from Beavis and Butthead). Kid's head was actually same shape as the cartoon Butthead; girl with short Mod twiggy-era 60's hairstyle (brunette), white top, hot-pink shorts, texts while walking then puts phone in purse, chomping on gum.

Girl talking on cell phone sitting on rail behind my seat. Too much background noise to eavesdrop!

Guy in Taekwondo outfit; Hollister grey tee; Old Asian guy with metal crutch, fresh surgery scar on right ankle, flip-flops, Khaki Shorts (Leg Pockets, Above Knee), white bandage right leg, Hollister tee; strawberry-blonde girl, freckles, red and white striped baby-doll dress, pale skin, cleavage, holding hands with boyfriend (possible teen pregnancy risk).

Nearby stores are as follows: JCPenny, ICING by Clair's, Motherhood Maternity, American Eagle Outfitters, Buckle, Yankee Candle, LensCrafters.

Aging hippy with engineer's boots, jeans, avocado-green tee, graying beard, Stephen King hair, picking at right elbow, hairy arms, black digital watch; serious blond in little black dress, button-down long sweater, black flip-flops, headphones, black purse. A mall gazebo worker getting a pretzel; baby somewhere in Café in The Woods Food Court is howling happily; tall guy, red beard neatly trimmed, sunglasses on crew cut, cream colored work shirt thin enough to see sleeve of undershirt, dark business pants, Sears bag; emaciated mascara girl and boyfriend are back! she got an iced coffee from Starbucks; white shirt, crew cut, business pants, beeper(?!), bag from apple store; girl with bad posture, giant boobs, white wife-beater shirt, splotchy legs, blue skirt; tanned warthog woman marches past, scowl, dainty wicker pink and tan purse; lots of attractive tanned women with powerful thighs; ancient man, white button-down shirt, pocket protector eyeglass case(with pocket clip!), florid face, burgundy ball cap, long tan pants, cup of coffee, shuffling feet, white socks, brown sandals;

Mystery toddler in Café in The Woods Food Court still howling happily at full volume.

Wallet-chain(!); old man, tiny purple "Hallmark" bag with little handle;

Daughters have returned. I'm out!

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I am the author of 5 books: Android Down, Firewood for Cannibals, The Cubicles of Madness, Robot Stories, and most recently, Various Meats and Cheeses. I live and write in Michigan. My website is at