Monday, October 5, 2015

Dead Center

It's not very neat
It is all very new
Who am I to judge?
A brand new set of arms.
There is a human skeleton displayed in the center of the Groever Plaza shopping center. People from the area are decades deep in lethargy as far as the shock factor goes. Every once in a while, though, denizens like myself are kind of taken aback at just the mildly morbid concept of its regal display. I know, there's skeletons all around us and that's fine but there is practically no way that the people who put this market place together knew what they were doing when they propped this lifeless frame in the direct middle of such a vital and lively area.
In my first month here, I never really needed to shop for anything other than groceries. You could make the argument that I'm somewhat of a big catalog boy. There's something deeply gratifying about leafing through a twenty-page reader, judging and price comparing such colorful and ultimately useless items. The shops in the Groever district are mainly for practically the same kinds of items: suits, household appliances, totes, containers, and bins. I really had never a reason to visit this area until an associate of mine, who calls himself Gorlop, asked me to scout the location for any oddities or vintage collectible sundries. There was no rush to do so, especially since I only talk to Gorlop about once a month, until one day I was strangely compelled to check that shit out.
I can breathe
I can read
How much for a towel rack?
My feet lead the way.
It was just recently that this all went down. There I was, headed to this average sized outdoor mall for reasons I had become less comfortable with. At first, I just kind of kept my head down. I was reluctant to make any acquaintances on that particular day. The entire place was a series of buildings, some conjoined by a disappointingly cute pathway that was covered by some dumb arbor wrapped in a nest-like twiggy mass, speckled with LED lights. I'm sure they would look more appropriate later in the year. The first few shops I checked out were fairly mundane. I bought a package of incense sticks to prove that I wasn't stealing anything. Really, the most interesting thing on this first wing of the plaza was this place called Uncle Groanwald's Ice Cream. Obviously there was tons of great, over-priced ice cream but they also had several shelves of small, molded vinyl figurines, like green army men and orange native Americans. That was by far my favorite part. I think it's because that's the last positive thing that I remember seeing before I saw that damned skeleton.
I was two shops deep in the middle section of the strip when I actually kind of looked up and saw it. My eyes widened but I didn't scream yet. I was panicking but I had not yet decided how to feel about it because there are so many other people going about their regular day. I paced around for a moment and then walked into a coffee shop that I was mentally neglecting. Inside, I saw my friend Pete and gave him a thousand dollars because he is a really great guy. I sat down with my coffee to debate on what I was actually going to do if I had to walk past the skeleton to get back to my car. After about half an hour I came up with, simply: "do not shout".
I should not fall
I should not reach
Where is the iron
I will walk away.
My heart was no longer pounding, I was cool. Still, in my cautious state, I couldn't help but to talk to the cashier next door. She was clearly recently out of high school because she was fake nice in our conversation. I asked her about the skeleton, and she just kind of replied, "skeleton?" and halfway peered out the window to look, just to say "I guess I didn't really notice. It's neat, Though". This made me feel worse for a moment but then I let it go. I didn't fully plan on asking anyone else about it after that little nightmare but I was still curious. I walked outside and stood in front of the building and basically just spaced out, looking in the direction of that dry, off-white figure of bones. I was staring at the skeleton. Somebody, of any description, walked by and I just kind of mentioned, "Heh. Skeleton". They looked up, smiled, and said "yep. spooky." and continued walking. Give me a break, you know?
I was basically ready to go home. I had enough. Still, I was dreading the confrontation. Obviously I wasn't going to go back out the way I came in, at this point. I plodded down the cobblestone pathway toward the center of the shopping center, gaining nervousness. There it was. The framework of a dead human body. There were people taking pictures in front of it. Then basically I realized that they must have just put the skeleton there because Halloween is coming up, haha.

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