As we are plagued once again by the holiday shopping nightmare, our malls have begun their descent into the hellish chaos that capitalism demands. If you need proof, search YouTube for mall fights. I’ll wait…
Now that we’re both familiar with the subject matter, I’d like to brag about the best goddamned mall fight I was lucky enough to witness. Only a minor bit of hyperbole has been added. The names of the people and stores have been altered to protect the innocent (and to keep the corporations from suing me).
Selling high fashion sunglasses from a mall kiosk is certainly one of the strangest ways I’ve earned a living. Also, it was one of the most boring, as $300 shades didn’t sell very often at the poorest mall in town. Despite the insane amount of foot traffic that circled my booth from all sides, I mostly functioned as a living mall directory, pointing confused seniors and lost children toward the food court.
To stave off my boredom, I became fast friends with the employees of the gothic clothing store chain across the hall. On one particularly slow Sunday, Gene (manager of the goth store) brought over his Arby’s lunch to sit on my counter. This was fairly common — I got to use their bathroom, they could eat on my counter. I vividly remember he had curly fries, horsey sauce, and a gigantic cup of Big Red, as I was starving and didn’t get a break for another hour.
Gene was well into his shift and his fucks-to-give were long gone. Mid-way through our usual game of “spot-the-sketchy-neck-tattoo”, Gene spotted a beefy redneck shouting “Jesus” propaganda into the entrance of his store. The redneck — complete with shit-kickers, cowboy hat, and a nearly emptied margarita purchased from the food court — had his proud mother and underaged girlfriend in tow.
The redneck would walk by on a loop every couple of minutes with new phrases to shout, like “Jesus loves you” and, my personal favorite, “Go to HELL, DEVIL WORSHIPPING F@GGOTS!” His words, not mine.
As the mom and girlfriend giggled in delight, Gene was boiling hot. He had to deal with this sort of moron fairly often, but today, he’d had enough of that shit.
On the redneck’s fourth tirade — this one involving goat sacrifices or something of the like — Gene had to fight back. “No one worships Satan in there, man. We just sell black clothes. Jesus isn’t real.”
The redneck ignored Gene and kept slurring and strutting along. Moments later he was back with a fresh margarita in hand. As his underaged girlfriend stole a sip, the redneck shouted another complaint. “What do you shit-heads have against Jesus? Get the fuck out of my mall!”
Time shifted into slow-motion as Gene exploded from the counter top, shouting “You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, goddamn redneck! You get the FUCK out of here before I beat your ass!”
The Redneck kept walking, calling Gene every homophobic name in the book. It was at this point Gene said “Keep walking then, PUSSY!”
When the Redneck heard he’d been called a pussy, he finally spun around, playing the “What’d you say to me?” card. Gene had a different kind of reply ready this time, hurling the giant Big Red soda directly at him, taking out the mom, the girlfriend, and the redneck, in one fell swoop.
The Redneck’s shit-kickers slipped on the delicious soda, taking the mom and the girlfriend to the ground with him. He tried over and over to get up, looking like a baby trying to escape a crib. When he finally stood up, Gene was ready and waiting with a cocked fist.
At this point, I wondered, should I jump over the booth and help Gene? The Redneck outweighed him by a good fifty pounds or so. Meanwhile, Gene’s other two employees were standing at the door, eagerly watching. The redneck charged at Gene like a crazed bull, but Gene drew back and fired off a nasty right-hook to the redneck’s jaw. That planted his drunk ass firmly on the ground, where Gene continued to pummel him. The redneck mounted an offense, swinging at thin air.
Huffy, a 17 year-old goth store employee, ran to the fray, getting a rib-kick or two in before realizing he was still on the clock. He then ran backwards into the store. Gene laughed manically at this, continuing to smash the redneck’s face while the mom and girlfriend cried and shouted. The redneck continued to talk shit through his bloodied mouth. Gene kept on hammering the redneck until mall security pulled him off.
Cops showed up, filed a report, the whole bit. They found the redneck in the wrong, because he blew over the limit thanks to his many Margaritas. I think he was permanently banned from the mall. Gene, however, skated by with no consequences, other than a set of bruised knuckles.
I’m pretty sure we talked about the fight for at least two months after that. It was certainly the highlight of working at that shithole mall. Every time I go Christmas shopping, I can’t help but think of that Big Red sailing through the air. Gene was an absolute hero that day.
Sometimes I wonder what the Redneck’s side of the story was. What did he tell his friends? He got ambushed by a group of devil-worshipers? He held his own until the cops pulled him off? You should see the other guy? Whatever the version, it’s probably far from the truth — that he came to the mall, got drunk, and acted like a total asshole until it got his ass good and kicked.
Although it was brief, it was the best fight I’ve ever seen. It was comical, but most importantly, no one died or got seriously injured. So, gentle reader, what’s the best fight you’ve ever seen?