Sam's Humor

These essays were written in 1995 and are still funny to this day. Enjoy them! Don't steal them!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Getting Malled

Getting Malled
by Sam Palahnuk

It was the ideal day, the ideal hour. My databank indicated that few humans infest the target aquisition zone. The window of opportunity was brief. I had carefully studied the target aquisition zone, and I’d collected enough data to create a holographic map in my memory. I knew the target, I knew the location. I synchonized my internal chronograph -- this mission would take exactly 15 minutes and 0.0 seconds. There would be no margin for error.

I drove my vehicle to the target aquisition zone - humans might know this place as a “mall.” I didn’t enter at just any parking structure entrance, no -- I entered the perfect entrance -- my entrance -- because I knew no one else will be there, and I could get the to the perfect parking spot the fastest. No humans where there to block the path of my vehicle (I’d pitty them if they had!) I parked in the closest spot to the the target.

I entered. My legs where pumping furiously, as if they were powerful hydrolic pistons - neuclear fuel surging through my neoprene veins. I barely had time to notice that I was walking much faster than the pathetic humans around me. I sped past them -- my holographic memory told me that my target -- a pair of Levis 501 jeans, was one floor above me, 50 feet north by north east of my current coordinates. All conditions were GREEN, the mission is going off without a hitch.

I began my rapid assent up the escalator. A flashing RED ALERT appeared in my vision system, the entire scene turned crimson. A human female with her spawn were blocking my path -- I saw their bodies silhouetted in a red flashing target lock. Within a nanosecond I reviewed my options:

0. Pull the shotgun out of my leather jacket and kill them both
1. Fling them over the edge of the escalator causing them to plumit to their death
2. Walk right over them, crushing them with my massive robotic weight
3. Burn them with my eye lasers

I instantly chose option 3 (although option 1 was most appealing) and started burning them with my eye lasers - I chose a low setting, 500 miliwatts at first. They must have felt the unbearable infra-red beams because the human female moved her spawn and I was able to pass them easily. This pleased me as killing them might have caused unexpected delays.

I calculated the most efficient route to the target and I followed it without error. The target was on the rack before me. I rotated the rack with one quick and accurate motion of my cybernetic arm. My computerized vision locked in on the target, in my size. I snatched it, paid for it quickly and in moments I returned to base.

I tore the tags off the jeans, folded them and put them in my closet. There was no need for me to try them on, because my calculations indicated they would fit perfectly. I glanced at my watch -- 0:15:00.0 minutes had elapsed. Mission accomplished. Now I could sit down to my well deserved episode of Bay Watch.

Shopping Terminators are fast, efficient, and accurate -- and that’s how we like it. However, shopping is not quite as logical when I go with my wife. In the spirit of scientific discovery, I decided to go shopping with her one Saturday afternoon. Observing her might expose me to potentially new and interesting ideas that I might be able to adapt into my own shopping programming.

Firstly, we didn’t leave for the mall until three hours after our plan. I knew inside that the mall would be more crowded because of our tartyness, but I didn’t say a word.

I expected the mall would be busy, but I wasn’t prepared for this swarming mob of “average Americans” that undulated before my terrified eyes. The crowd was thickest toward the center of the mall, and there was the problem -- a certain muscular, long-haired male “celebrity” whose name my laywer tells me I cannot mention, was making an appearance, and thousands of women and a hand-full of gay men where flocking around him. For the sake of this article I’ll call him Arnold Favolone.

My wife, to her credit, thinks Arnold Favolone is a talent-free, muscle-bound “horse faced” slab of meat with a silly voice. This meant that we could fight our way through the throng without my having to endure the emasculating humiliation of holding my wife's purse while she waited in like to get his autograph.

After we pushed through the mob, we entered Victoria’s Secret. This place manages to be completely offensive to men despite the fact that sell skimpy lingerie. This is partially because the place stinks of dried flowers, perfume and other foul odors. It’s also obscenely ornate and the lighting is soft and subdued -- there wasn’t a flourescent tube anywhere to be seen! In other words its enemy territory to a guy.

Not to get off the subject, but when I was a kid we had a Blood Hound named Doobie. He was huge, ungainly, and couldn’t see because of he had enough skin for two dogs, and it folded and flopped over his eyes. When we took Doobie to the vet, he’d brace his legs on the door frame at the entrance. No amount of pulling would budge him. If you tried to push his legs off the door frame he’d put them back by the time you could get to his collar to pull him again. We had to hog-tie Doobie and drag him on his back to get him into the vet’s office. My parents were always ticked-off when this happened, but I remember thinking it was really funny when I was a kid.

My wife became a bit ticked-off at me when I braced my legs and arms against the door frame at the entrance to Victoria’s Secret. I found myself unconsciously using all of Doobie’s tricks. No matter how much she pulled on my leash, I wasn’t budging. She finally lured me into entering the store by offering to let me into the changing rooms with her so I could see her try on skimpy lingerie. I discovered that day that my sex drive was indeed stronger than my sense of smell.

I followed her around like a puppy as she flitted from one rack to another. She grabbed hand-fulls of bras, panties, camisoles, and other items that I couldn’t even name. I noticed that many of the items she held where frilly and lacey, where as I would have chosen simple and skimpy. I kept my mouth shut as we wandered around the store. She asked me questions:

Her: Which color do you like better? (showing me two panties, both very similar pink colors that I could barely tell apart)
Me: Transparent would be better
Her: Humph. You’re so silly.

She started chatting with a woman in the underwire bra department. I have never spoken to anyone while shopping, and I would never think to just chat with someone in such an embarassing location. Even though they where perfect strangers they laughed as if they were old friends. I stood still, afraid to move.

Finally we entered the dressing room. I felt guilty as I slipped in with my wife. I feared at any moment the mall police would arrive and haul me away. Fortunately they didn’t, despite the sign telling us we were under “constant surveylance.” I wondered who’s job it was to stare at a closed-circuit TV screen watching women strip down naked 12 hours a day. I wondered if there were currently any openings for that job. My wife tried on all 150 items she had picked out, and selected a single bra, leaving the rejected items in a sad mound on the dressing room floor.

I was delighted to leave that smelly place. Then we went to another clothing store. We were now on the hunt for sweaters, even though she already has at least one sweater in every color known to man. My wife waved one sweater at me, pointing out the $150 price tag. She told me that she had seen the same sweater in another shop for only $75. All I could think about was the fact that I had once made a sweater in school for $3 worth of yarn.

Although she tried on several sweaters, she did not buy any. We then browsed several more shops, and she started complaining about being tired and hungry. We ate at the “food court” within the mall. I wonder if they call it that because eating there is equivalent to begin handed a life sentence. We ate next to a woman who was completely ignoring her three screaming children. She sat there, chowing down on her hot-dog-on-a-stick and sucking lemonade out of a styrofoam cup -- oblivious to the 250 decibel howling eminating from her kids. I was both furious at her for ruining everyone’s meal with her three “air-raid sirens on legs” and in a strange way I envied her ability to completely ignore them as I wish I could. I wondered if she was deaf.

We finally left after a ‘quick stop’ at The Bombay Company. We had been in the mall over three hours and my wife had purchased exactly one bra. We were both tired, sore, and our ears were still ringing from the “we’re-louder-than-a-jumbo-jet brothers.”

I asked my wife, as she sat there moaning over her soreness if she had enjoyed our shopping trip. She assured me that she had had a wonderful time and wondered if I hadn’t enjoyed it too. I asked how she could have enjoyed it if she was now so tired and sore. She told me that it was a “happy” sort of tired and sore.

Now I have seen both ways to shop, and currently I’m thinking of taking up shopping by phone.

Word Count: 1689

Copyright 1995 Sam Palahnuk
Do not duplicate or distribute without written permission of the author.


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