Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Mall of America

His first steps inside feel like the first steps into the empty auditorium right before graduation. He is in a huge room; a place created for so many people yet surrounded by such small amounts of movement. It is early and the crowds haven’t taken true shape. It is awful quiet for a place called the Mall of America. Fortune can see small patches moving through the building. There is a family sitting on a bench. There are people in dark blue shirts sweeping the floors. There are two women in track suits stretching in front of a television. The prettier of the two looks up at Fortune and stares at him, a blank expression on her face. Fortune studies the women as they start walking through the mall like it’s a high school track. They occasionally check their watches for their lap times.
His parents could be anywhere. They could have gone into any store in the whole mall. Fortune isn’t even sure what stores are in the Mall of America. He doesn’t know where anything is really. The only things he knows about the mall are the roller coasters and the underground aquarium and “The Mighty Ducks.” He thought he knew a lot about it. Now that he is standing inside he realizes he only knows three things and there are a lot more than three things inside the Mall of America. The mall feels like a giant cave with small tunnels that lead to larger rooms. It’s one of the biggest places Fortune has ever been.
If he was at the mall at home right now Fortune would know where the arcade was. He would know the exact spot of his favorite ski ball machine (third from the left). At home he knows where everything is. He knows that if he wakes up in the house and his parents are gone, there will be a note on the kitchen table telling him where they are. This morning he looked for a note when he woke up in the van but the van Fortune knows how many steps it takes to get to the phone at home. If he had a phone he would call Joey’s house or the police for help. But Fortune doesn’t know if the Mall of America even has phones. Fortune doesn’t even have Joey’s number memorized.

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