Night of the Living Dead Mall

My earliest memories of the Sycamore Mall were of this big animatronic Christmas tree they put up each year a ways down from Santa’s house. It moved its branches and spoke in a pleasant contralto; I was absolutely terrified. More recently, though, I’ve been thinking of the place as a study in retail failure. You see, a few years ago they installed a giganto-huge chocolate-covered scab complex on the other end of town, which has been steadily siphoning traffic from my childhood haunts ever since. And so the last time I ventured down to Sycamore, it was full of empty storefronts, dark skanky linoleum, and withered plastic plants. The only things left open were Radio Shack, FashionBug Plus, a crappy Mexican bar and an insurance office.

Enter some local development company, stage right. In a short amount of time they’ve replaced the dark skanky linoleum with light plastic tiles, the decaying plastic plants with fresh new plastic plants, and they’ve convinced several family-oriented retail ventures to move in. There are now snazzy new movie theaters, a Chuck-E-Cheese takeoff dubbed “Monkey World” and a selection of respectable shops. It’s not exactly buzzing with people yet, but there were actual cars in the parking lot and more full storefronts than empty ones. I was shocked and impressed; there may yet be hope for the Forces of Good. In this case the Forces of Good really mean me not having to drive twenty minutes to see a movie or buy socks, but you can make up something about the power of grassroots organization and local community development if you’d rather.

I should mention, also, that I went to the snazzy new theater tonight to see the Lord of the Rings. I don’t need to repeat the same old glowing platitudes that others have already repeated, and I’m too tired to give a coherent, insightful review. So I will merely use the time-honored literary traditions of Repetition and Punctuation to indicate my excitement. Lord of the Rings! Lord of the Rings!! Whooo!

So good night, and I wish all of you sweet dreams about elves doing things other than shooting bows or playing rugby.

*cough* *hack* *cough*

Um, I mean, for heaven’s sake don’t let the bedbugs bite.

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