29 March 2005

Bright light and explosions

There's no such thing as Tourettes Syndrome anymore. No such thing as crazy. No such thing as MPD, or whatever they're calling Multiple Personality Disorder now. Only people on hands-free cell phone headsets talking to themselves. Yelling. Holding intimate conversations with the back of my head. Asking me what's for dinner. Wanting to know if I picked up the kids.

They're saying:
"What's up?"

Old friends who I've never met in my entire life. They're telling me their secrets. They're telling me their wife wont be home tonight, the ball and chain is in Virginia. They want to know if I picked up toilet paper. They need their prescriptions. Their drycleaning. Condoms.

They follow me around talking to me like I know them. Hounding me. Wanting to know why I'm breaking up with them. Wanting my permission to stay out just one more hour.

I'm at the mall today. I have some time to kill while my rear car-stereo speakers are installed and I'm wandering. I took my camera but ended up only getting one picture I really liked. I walk by all the empty Kiosk stands in the center of Mall Avenue. I walk by them, no one ever stops at those things. That's like screaming you have a shopping problem. There's always one though. One nobody, I mean nobody stops at. You know the one, they sell shingles or gutters, or something house related. No one is ever standing at that one listening to a sales pitch. I wonder how they stay in business. I wonder how old that water is they keep cycling through for demo after demo that nobody watches. The Kiosk that time forgot.

I imagine this place after the end, after the bright light, and the boom that comes way after we're all dead. Time is no longer a factor. The wastelands of our once mighty consumer empire. I imagine I'm walking around the wreckage of an exploded Gap, picking through the remains of Express Men. Covering my nose and mouth with my torn shirt as I walk past the rotting food court. Grabbing what I can from CVS and Sears. Hoarding canned goods, tools and Twinkies. Riding around a shopping cart in the vacant Marshalls parking lot.

I can still hear the voices of my friends asking me when I'll be home, wanting to know if I want to eat there or go out. They're asking me if I'm happy, if I need a place to crash. They want to know what I'm doing tonight and I tell them everything.


Jon said...



Baby Sea Tuna said...

That's it, Paul...I'm taking away your copy of Fight Club!

Just kidding. You're totally right. It's like Modest Mouse said, "The malls are the soon-to-be ghost towns..." I say we push that red button and speed up the process! I mean, it's not like anyone was going to buy one of those boomerang helicopters or Taiwanese knockoff PS1s anyway...

Jon said...

I like malls. I like to walk in them and get a pretzel.

prettyminotaur said...

you are a marvelous writer. and, of course, the shopping cart...boss!

Paul said...

I don't know about marvelous, but thanks. :)

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