Amongst the tattered old envelopes and piles of yellowing paper in the archives of all of the stuff I’ve every wrote, I’ve been coming across alot of unfinished short stories and novellas. I’m not really sure what to do with them; perhaps get them in some new issue of Vexxed at some point. This is called “Love; Live At The Strip Mall” that I wrote sometime in 1997 and only got two pages in — all written in badly-set typewriter (with fading ribbon) on the back of, oddly enough, some court juror’s questionnaire.

The Cast: Don Ameche the Narrator, Joe Schmoe the anti-establishment yet commercialised teenager, Henry Who the land developer, Grechin Green the enviro-activist, Ted Tasteless of XXX Lawn Bowling, Suzy Homemaker as well…, and Bud Bitter as Head of Tourism.

PART I : “…the whole plan is a powerful ingredient to replace millions of years of woods with buildings — building that protect our physical well-being and enhance a sensual lifestyle of affluence. The career of neon lights could be lovely. Tearing town a four billion some-odd year ingenious masterpiece for our picky needs of convenience and (quote/unquote) fast service…”

It is the twentieth century. It is the year of nineteen hundred ninety-seven. Another brick in the mosaic of a dark dollar. The emotionless structures of monetary transaction sprout up like stupid, witless weeks through the pristine land (or not as pristine as it was). And to accentuate this weed-y mayhem; a sexless contractor’s masterpiece: the strip mall in the language of the English impostors. A tinkling hood ornament of this sleek, well-oiled machine of capitalist tomfoolery. Not even the apparent “purity” of (now a commercialised endeavour) all the children’s Rage Against The Machine albums could topple this Turkish Delight machine. For everything is a product.

“…and now that the populous have been introduced to this haberdashery,” cried the narrator, Don Ameche, “we will now look at one such incident of the creation of one of these vessels of misfortune: the strip mall. One such insight of one incident will allow us to – in the future – alarm and make us aware of such incidents. The birth of the strip mall occurs when the mall-loards cut a great cesarian gash in the fabric of the community, creating elusive advertising to make their minds to wish they could suckle the lovely products of the strip. “Pass a drink, we’re thirsty!” the citizens would shout to the mall-lords, who know the citizens are in their eternal grasp.

“Wine or champagne?” the mall-lords would query, “or maybe a dry vermouth?”

And so it came to pass that in the spring of the aforementioned year that the Universal Council of Mall-lords and Government Officials sent a commander to Everytown U.S.A. to add another addictive strip mall (or a bad habit as the locals called them) to the countless, infinite roster. Henry Who was the lieutenant contractor in the agreement.

Before H. Who left to attend seminars in the distant city, he and other U.C.M.G.O. members did extensive research on social and economic patterns in the city within the comfort of the Council’s super-fortress located underground. After research, H. Who was bestowed, by the Council, a new identity and documents to confirm H. Who was local in that particular city and for “all of his life” so that his given knowledge of local goings on could sway the locals of that city to be on his side. After all, he should know what was going on after years of living there (supposedly, but you and I know otherwise.

PART II : The reporters of FATE News grabbed their notepads, pens and sedatives before running off to their respective automobiles. The Editor was barking at the top of his lungs. Such a drill sergeant!

“Get this story! Get to the deadlines! Get me my coffee! Somebody give me a hand job!”

The office was an ant colony of drone workers. For you see, at the the crack of noon there was going to be a non-public public forum at the cellar of the town hall regarding a referendum on the illustrious H. Who’s proposal for the strip mall. The town was a-buzz. So many different opinions on this skeletal product market to be produced. The TV punk kids lining the streets of the city’s X district would be in an uproar over the phone to their friend’s (business wrecks) over the phone:

“I can’t believe they’re tearing down our spot for some stupid mall! I won’t allow it! I will never allow it!” cried – to + “I wonder if they have any Rage Against The Machine trading cards and tea cosies there?”