Being a security guard sucked this time of year. Parking close was nearly impossible and even though she packed a gun, there were people to be afraid of lurking in the lot to pick pockets or break into cars. On her first circuit of the mall she discovered that someone picked the lock of an empty store and was sleeping in a puddle of pee. Great start to a workday that began with an argument with her wife about where to go for Christmas dinner. After rousing the offender and escorting them from the mall, she bought a giant cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll, hoping for a day that didn’t include lost kids, shoplifters, and rowdy mall rats harassing shoppers.
Two bites and a sip in, a skateboarder zoomed by with no pants on. She decided to call the cops rather than chase him down. It was against the rules to skate at the mall, but public nudity was beyond her purview. Anyone flaunting something that small was obviously delusional and potentially dangerous. Sighing, she finished her treat, then boarded the escalator to the second level, only to encounter a red-faced highly-agitated woman waiting at the top. It turned out that the mall Santa was drunk and kept inviting the mothers to sit on his lap instead of the kids. This woman was livid that Santa pinched her butt as she walked by, and wanted him fired immediately. This meant calling the office to notify the manager, then standing by Santa to prevent further mayhem until help arrived. That took nearly a half hour and gained her some dirty looks from rejected kids who wouldn’t get their picture taken unless they waited for a replacement–if one was available. Meanwhile, a woman came out of the underwear store in a hurry. Her purse was stuffed with lacy bras and panties she’d grabbed from a display by the door. Santa had passed out, and the manager was in sight, so she went after the thief. It was times like this she was thankful for her exercise routine and daily run. The woman waddled, she sprinted, then they both ended up on the floor in the ensuing tug of war over lingerie.
The cops came and took the thief away after saying they couldn’t find the skateboarder. When she looked at her watch, she groaned because she still had hours to go and was getting a headache. Peeing, then splashing cold water on her face helped, and the next hour passed without an incident, which brightened her mood until she turned her thoughts to Christmas dinner. She wanted to stay home and watch football in her robe. Her wife wanted to go to Appleby’s, then a movie, then hit a few bars for some Xmas cheer. Way too ambitious! There had to be some middle ground but for the moment she hadn’t a clue what that could be.
Those thoughts were interrupted by screaming coming from the escalator. When she got there, she discovered that a woman had pushed a stroller onto the moving stairs instead of using the elevator, despite warnings not to do so. Now the stroller was wedged sideways with the passenger trapped and howling like a banshee. She punched the emergency stop button, then yanked until the conveyance broke free and the little darling could be extricated. Scolding the mom only led to threats to her job security and the woman pushing away in a huff. When did people stop taking responsibility for their actions? She wondered. Or did they ever?
The rest of her shift went reasonably well but when she clocked out, she discovered a note saying she was being laid off on Christmas eve. Wonderful news when her bank balance was lower than ever. Trudging through the snow led to the discovery that her car had been sideswiped and her front tire was flat. When AAA finally came and fixed the flat, she drove home in a funk. Opening the front door, she was greeted by her wife, who said “My parents have invited us to Christmas dinner, I know you hate my mom’s cooking but it would break their hearts to say no. Please say you’re okay with it.”
“Bah humbug.” She replied, as she walked straight to the liquor cabinet.