A Day at the Dirt Mall

     I hit the doorbell, then knocked once for insurance. Damn it was cold in New York. I'd returned home for the holidays and I was standing on Xeno's porch waiting for someoen to answer the door. Soon I was greeted with a Xeno wearing a Serial Killer T-Shirt and Pajama pants.

     "C'mon, We're going to the dirtmall" I said.
     "I can't.. who's going?" was the reply.
     "I'm kidnapping you, you have no choice, get dressed and we're going. Ben and Becca are with me."
     "I can't I got plans" Xeno tried.
     "You're being kidnapped, plans have no relevance here. Besides, I'm only home for a week, after that I'll be gone for like 6 months" I said.
     "I was supposed to pick Burgess up from school." he said.
     "Hope she has another ride then." I told him.
     "I feel bad!" he said. By this time he was already in his room changing into suitable attire. I waited for him to come out and told him again that he was being kidnapped. Then I told him we were taking his car.

     Ben and Becca returned from the bank and we all piled into the Xeno Wagon. We started up and took off for the Dirt Mall, a mere 20 minutes away. Twenty minutes is normally a preposterous amount of time spent driving to a Dirt Mall, but in Central New York, that's about as close as major attractions like Wal Mart and the Dirt Mall get. Thank goodness the Xeno Wagon had heat though.

     Some people have asked me what the Dirt Mall is when I've brought it up in conversation, including Becca, who was with us that friggid day. It's hard to explain the Dirt Mall effectively, and it almost always requires that you've seen the movie MallRats to know the roots of the word. My Dirt Mall, has about 20 customers within the entire mall. You can walk the length of the mall within 10 minutes and all of the stores are worthless. You'll have your standard mall stores like K Mart, Kay Bee Toys and a Waldenbooks, but all they have are leftovers from just before they became a Dirt Mall. The Kay Bee still sells Ninja Turtles as it's hot item.

     As we entered the place, we were greeted by the silence from the Dirt Arcade, and the smells from Michael's Dirt Court, the kiosk that sold pretzels. Stale pretzels. The Dirt people mulled around buying dirt jewelry and getting their hair cut. The first order of business on our list, however, was to take in a movie. So, with that goal set in our heads, we headed for the Dirt Theatre.

     When we reached the theatre we had to decide what to see. I'm not sure what else was playing at the time but when we stepped into the theatre to see 'Enemy of the State', I realized that there were only two other people in the place. It became our goal to force these people out of the theatre.

     We started with the fist pump, a long held tradition where I come from. Since they weren't sitting behind us, they weren't annoyed in the least by the waving of arms, we quickly moved on to loud commentary. I remember cheering every time Jon Voight showed his face on the screen, but the people never left the theater and I was soon too far into the action to care about making them leave.

     After the movie, we headed for Gino and Joe's, the greasiest place I've ever been in my life. Gino and Joe's is an Old School pizzeria that sits in a mall and changes lots every year or so. They have the square plastic drums of kool aid that perpetually bubbles around and they have green red and white tables. I guess it's to symbolize that they're Italian. If you're not stern of stomach I don't suggest the pizza, it's kinda hard on the internals. Ben usually is the one to suffer and suffer he did, starting by burning his tongue. Xeno poured about an ounce of the pepper onto all of his pieces, he said he used it to sopp up the grease. As for Becca, I don't remember actually seeing her eat any of the pizza at all, probably the wise choice.

     Now that we had eaten it was time to walk off the food, so we strolled to the pet store. Now normally you can be entertained in the pet store for at least 15 minutes, looking at all the animals living with their 3 cubic feet of space. In the Dirt Mall, it's a little different. they don't really have any pets, and they don't really have any supply. All they really have is a lot of sawdust in cages and a permeating bird shit odor. Realizing this, we abandonned that end of the Dirt Mall for K Mart.

     Inside the boundaries of K mart we wakled around wondering if there was anything worth buying. The only things we could find were Cow pot holders and some rifles, which were locked. We considered playing hockey using a bottle of mouthwash but figured that may get us into a little bit of trouble and resorted to throwing the pot holders at each otehr like ninja stars. After we had a K Mart employee following us around we decided to stop and head for the Dirt Arcade.

     A normal arcade is full of kids and loud and you hate to be in there because it somehow loots you for everything you're worth in change. The Dirt Arcade is very different. There are no children playing games, just militant men in their 30's who have been playing Mortal Kombat since it came out. There's also nothing to play at all. The only thing in the place that is even close to appealing is the Xmen game. Not the fighting game, the side scroller that came out when I was 10 years old. The only thing the four of us could find to do was play Air Hockey.

     Xeno had been practising. I believe the end score on the game was 10 to 2, and it lasted about 5 minutes. The only reason that I got the second point was that a shot of Xeno's bounced off my goal and back into his own. So, in my defeat I handed the ... thing... whatever the hell you call those things that look like scrubbing bubbles to Ben. Ben played valiantly but in the end, lost as well. The change machine wasn't working and there was no one at the counter, so we left, having spent a grand total of One Dollar.

     Having covered every store in the Dirt Mall, including Radio Shack, where I managed to Blue Screen the display computer, we exited the Dirt Mall. As we walked to the car, the final episode of the day was upon us where some hapless Dirt people tried to back over me with their Dirt-mobile. In defense I jumped back and screamed out: "DON'T FUCKING HIT ME". They drove off, dumbfounded at what had happened.

     So, after much boredom, grease and witness to Dirt, we piled into the Xeno wagon and drove back home. I couldn't help but wonder as we got home, what ever happened to the girl that Xeno was supposed to pick up at school. It was really cold that day too..