How could I forget how toxic the mall is? The miasma of capitalist nihilism. The poisonous classism of the upper-middle class against the working-class goons who sell them their gewgaws. The screaming children. The way the mall security stares askance at any person of color. The suspicious predominance of Spanish-speakers in the janitorial staff. The crushing desperation of so many of the workers. That shit is living death. How did I forget?
It is, after all, one of the major reasons I quit that job in the first place.
I’ve grown un-accustomed to living my life with heavy shielding. I like being open, clued in, with one hand on the heartbeat of the world. It’s not safe to be that way in the mall. It’s like being a plague doctor with an immune disorder: you’re tempting Death.
I work in two different kiosks for the company, in two different malls. The smaller, less prosperous of the malls is easier to manage: I picked out a set of four matching steel rings and
borrowed “modeled” them all day, using them to regulate my in/out like a gas masks. It worked fine, with minimal effort.
The larger of the two malls, however, was more of a problem: more prosperous, with a more “affluent” (higher pre-tax income, overextended on debts and a lifestyle they can’t pay in the post-crash economy) and psychically toxic clientele, more in need of free therapy in the form of abusing retail employees and jewelry to reinforce their crumbling middle-class racial and gender identities. Keeping that space clear enough for me to work without setting anyone on fire required a daily application of a pentagram banishing rite. Yeah, that’s right, I had to go back to a banishing rite. I hate banishing; I would much rather invoke, conjure, or tune. And it worked. Barely.
I’ve made it through, now. Tuesday was my last shift until I need to work over my next break. And don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to make rent. I love having a roof over my head. But I need to find a new source of greenbacks: one where I’m not selling and fixing slave-made baubles for petty asshats.