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THERE WILL BE BLOOD

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saturday John and I ventured out to a dead mall smack in the middle of tourist town, seeking entertainment, air conditioning, and a Black Market Minerals - though not necessarily in that order.

Dead malls are fascinating, aren't they? This one had maybe 30% occupancy, which meant you'd have to walk past seven or eight empty, boarded over storefronts to get to the lone Claire's or Gift Mart on the other side. And yet the mall itself was gorgeous - in such pristine condition, you'd swear they wrapped construction last week and not 10 years ago.

All it needs are some tumble weeds.

Anyway, when I stopped for a restroom break John wandered into one of those horrendously tacky tourist shops. You know, the ones that sell cheap fairy statues alongside Ninja throwing stars? Yeah. Those.

I found him a few minutes later chatting with the shop owner, a lovely older British lady, over an open knife case.

Now, despite the fact that John can sew better than I can, decorate a mean cake, and match duvet colors better than most designers, there are still times when I'm reminded that he is, after all, still a guy. This was one of those times. And given the choice, I suppose I'd rather he be admiring blades than cheap fairy statues anyway. So, you know, there's that.

When he saw me, John waved me over and asked the lady to show me "that one knife." I then had what I think was a switch blade handed to me.

John grinned impishly. "Now, push the button."

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Ok, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "later, as Jen was having her finger re-attached in the ER..." Which, I must admit, would be nicely dramatic and somewhat hilarious (for you) at the same time. Fortunately, however, none of my blood was spilled that fateful evening.

None of MY blood.

So, now that I've both ruined the story and dropped some juicy foreshadowing, let's get back to it.

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The switchblade-which-might-not-have-been-a-switchblade startled the heck out of me, but the nice British lady assured me you "only" needed a concealed weapon's permit to carry one. It also had handy sandpaper lining the sides, so you wouldn't lose your grip if your hands were wet. WITH BLOOD. Mwuahahahaaaa!!


Ok, so maybe she didn't say that last part.

Anyway, it was as the nice British lady was showing us another blade - one that was "spring-assisted" and therefore still NOT technically a switchblade - that the trouble began. As she was clicking it closed in the case, she "hmphed" slightly and looked at her finger.

You all know where this is going.

Or...maybe not.

She then removed another knife and began showing us that one, talking about the features and whatnot. (Btw, I love that knives have "features," but they never include "reeeeally pointy!!")

As the nice British lady went to close this second knife, she did a lovely dramatic flourish. I say "lovely" because it was a large, graceful arc. I say "dramatic" because at the apex of that graceful arc huge droplets of extremely dramatic blood rained down all over the glass counter top between us.

I'm talking droplets, people. When they hit the glass they made a sound.

Um. So...

Two things:

a) John tends to faint at the sight of blood.

b) HOLY KITTENS THAT'S A LOT OF BLOOD.

The three of us stared at the counter in stunned silence for approximately .86 seconds, because that's how long it took me to realize what had just happened and what exactly the red raindrops were. I then gasped, backed into John, and expressed my concern for NBL's well-being with a courteous, "Holy CRAP!!"

Mental Note: In the future, try not to knock into someone who gets light-headed at the sight of blood.

John and I later agreed that if either of *us* had just sliced open a finger and rained blood down from on high, we'd probably take a wee break from the sales floor. You know, sit down a spell...maybe get a drink...or a bandage...

Not nice British lady, though. Nope. She just mopped up the counter with a tissue, wrapped her finger in the same tissue, and then assured us she did this all the time. She even pointed out - as the tissue rapidly soaked from white to red - that she hadn't felt the cut at all because the knife was so sharp. Yes, she was using her injury as a selling point. Talk about dedication! "See how clean this cut is? You won't get that with just any knife!"

In the end, John emerged victoriously conscious - if substantially paler - and the owner of (yes, really) a new knife. Not that knife, mind you - a different one. One that does NOT snap open, or have "spring-assists," or any other sudden moving parts. It's really just an emergency tool for the car: it has the window breaker and seatbelt cutter on it, in case we're ever in an accident.

Still, want to know the real reason John bought it? I mean, besides feeling guilty over nice British lady's blood loss?

It's bright anodized orange, so it matches our car.

And *that's* why I love my husband.

Posted by Jen at 12:56 PM Labels:

59 comments:

  1. I do love dead malls as well for some reason. There was one here in our area where they had built a brand spanking new one Right next to it and within a few years the old one became verrry vacant. However it managed to stay that way for years. It recently was demolished and a swanky new chic shopping area went in. I miss the white peaks of the old mall. It was massive tent style roofing.

    I'm always afraid I will do that with switchblades! Though I will say the more your around something like that the more fearless you get. And pain, pshhawww, I managed to slice my finger open when working a shadowbox for a customer(Back in my framing days) through the glass gloves no less and thought all I needed was a band-aid. Shock, it'll get you every time. *chuckles*

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  2. lololol...Hilarious. For a second I thought this would be vampire related.. not knife holding Nice British Lady related. lol. I love this blog, you always make me laugh.

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  3. That is seriously awesome! My husband also tends to faint at random, inconvenient moments, including, but not limited to, the optometrist. Mm hmm. Also - insert random thought process here - the movie "Julie and Julia" makes me think of you. That's a little strange, seeing as how I don't officially "know" you and everything, but, well, there you have it. And when are you coming to Colorado, so I could at least be given the opportunity to *know* you? Hmm?

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  4. And that is why I hate knives.
    Reminds me of last Friday when I was zipping up the new purse my sister had just sent me. It snagged on my finger but I thought it just scraped it real good and thought nothing of it. A few minutes later, I happened to notice my finger was gushing blood. Yeah, see if I use that purse again.

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  5. With a sales pitch like that, I, too, would be the proud owner of a new knife. Even if I have absolutely no reason to own one.

    Also, dead malls are awesome.

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  6. LOVE the Dr. Horrible poster. it's one of my life's great addictions.

    what a crazy random happenstance!

    ps
    congrats on the new knife. and I think NBL should change her name to HCNBL: hard core nice british lady.

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  7. I have totally been in that store and my husband almost bought a knife, too. Fortunately, I didn't let him get to the store demonstration stage.

    Festival Bay is such a weird place. One one hand you have the Bass Pro Shop with its indoor fishing area and Fuddruckers, which is always busy when I'm there and on the other you have 70% empty shops and 20 % complete crap. So weird.

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  8. Looks like Festival Bay (I think that's the name) in Orlando - we used to take our son there for Yu-gi-oh tournaments ALL THE TIME. My army hubby loves knives as well, but would never have survived seeing someone bleeding over them!

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  9. and that's why when I borrow my dad's pocket knife, I always hand it back to him to close. I don't do well with blood, either, especially when it's my own.

    But I would totally buy an orange knife to match my car.

    If, you know, I had an orange car.

    Awesome story, anyway!

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  10. I love how Nice British Lady got her own abbreviation...NBL!!! hahahahahahah

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  11. HOLY FREAKING CRAP!

    This feeling I have right now... it's in between howling with laughter and screaming in horror. Not sure which one to go with.

    I would have to buy a knife out of guilt (and fear that she wouldn't bandage the wound until I bought something, and bleeding everywhere, and oh, God, WHY...).

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  12. This story had everything! You are such a funny writer, I enjoy your posts so much. I laughed, I 'eewed', I was sad (for the dead malls and what that REALLY means) and the ending was perfection. Love your posts, both here and over there. :)

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  13. Being a blood fainter myself I could hardly read this without looking away to get the images out of my head. Good lord. Good. Lord.

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  14. My favorite dead mall was what we, the four of us who were together, call the Albany, NY circle mall. It smelled like mildew and followed a brush with death in a Schenectady, NY roundabout.

    That aside, it takes a very special type of person to use their flesh wound to sell you the implement that caused said wound. I bet she has awesome stories when/if she gets squiffy.

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  15. I've always wanted to buy a dead mall and convert it into someplace to live. I think it could be really really cool.

    As for NBL, yeah, I have to admit, I've done similar. Teaching a beading/knotting class I was using a hotwire tool to cut the thread and managed to put a nice little imprint of the wire onto the side of my thumb. I immediately launch into a safety lecture using the various scars on my hands as teaching points (keep a gentle touch on the hotwire tool, don't cut wire with scissors, sharp exacto blades are less likely to cut you than dull ones, and the like).

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  16. I'm guessing she works on commission.

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  17. Jen, I think *I* love your husband for that. No worries though, I won't be stealing him. I have my own John. *impish grin*


    Btw, was that the Celebration Mall down by I-drive? It looks like it, and it's one of the few places around with a BlackMarket still in it. I think I've even been in the shop you mentioned before.

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  18. using your recent instructions for embedding a link, this is what I got from your story NBL

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  19. I am disappointed that this did not turn into an "OMG WE WERE ESCAPING THE ZOMBIES!" story. But I don't know, maybe Nice British Lady is REALLY a zombie and that's why she didn't feel the cut? Did she look at the back of your head with hunger in her eyes?

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  20. Eh, it was just a flesh wound.

    Just me?

    Darn...

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  21. It was only a flesh wound...

    ("no it's not, your arm's off")

    "not it's not.."

    "What's THAT then...")

    Reminds me of Eric Idle's cameo in National Lampoon's European Vacation.

    Jen, glad everyone stayed on their feet!

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  22. Oh, that's sweet. :) Yeah, once I cut my finger 1/2 a cm deep with a bread knife while cutting a bagel on my way to school, so I wouldn't trust myself as a knife salesperson... Great story though! The setting reminded me of Zombieland. :D

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  23. Oh my God... this reminds me of the time I turned my apartment into an episode of CSI...

    This was like, a couple weeks after my roommate and I moved in. I was in the kitchen opening a can and I sliced my finger on the lid, and I HAVE NO IDEA HOW, but there was suddenly blood spatter everywhere. Like, in a 360 degree arc around me. The cupboard was open so there was blood on all the plates, all over the walls, the fridge, the oven... It wasn't a lot of blood, just little tiny drops everywhere.

    My roommate walked in and just stared. It took us a good hour to clean up, we kept finding more tiny droplets... It was friggin' surreal. Also if there is ever a murder in that kitchen the CSIs will be going "WTF" for a while

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  24. How gorgeous for a dead mall - ours is not so pretty. If you are ever in the lehigh valley, pa look up the Whitehall Mall

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  25. OK, I will be chuckling about this post for the rest of the day! :P

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  26. I thought it was Festival Bay too. I liked the random Universal store in there, attempting to flog off previous season's merchandise to pretty much nobody. They did get $9.99 + tax from me as they had an "I love Nerds" (the candy) t-shirt in there which worked for me on two levels - enough to sell it to me with ease.

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  27. Since you (and me BTW) are Princess Bride nuts... shouldn't you have named this entry "There Will be Blood Tonight (said in your best Inigo Montoya imitation)? Too wordy? ;)

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  28. That certainly looks like Festival Bay! We used to stroll through there when we'd go to the Fuddruckers, but now that there's a Fudd's closer to us at Crossroads, we only visit there when we're early for a reservation at Texas de Brazil.

    It kind of reminds me a little of the game Dead Rising. And the knives and blood add to that.

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  29. Two things

    First - Yeah for finding a knife to match your car!

    Second - I am very, very happy that she cut herself instead of your or your hubby!

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  30. I felt faint just reading that!

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  31. Great story and I love that he bought a knife to match your car.

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  32. Hee-hee, what a great story to end my day with.

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  33. As a male obsessed with middle-age weaponry these sorts of tacky tourist shops draw me in all the time (although in Europe they seem to be inevitably Chinese salespeople), and you really should give John some slack. there's a deep, subconcious, Y-chromosome determined NEED for a man to buy blades.
    But do just be careful if you walk in on him slashing imginary zonbies with it :P

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  34. Aw, you tell a great story.
    Loved it.
    Gotta ask, does that weapon break car windows ifn you ever land in one of the many canals in your state?
    Or do you already have an awl in your car?
    mocking

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  35. The best part of Festival Bay Mall used to be Steve & Barry's but they, like everything else in there, closed down.

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  36. We have one of the ultimate in dead malls up here in RI -- Rhode Island Mall. The only shops that are left are a Sears and MAYBE a toy shop (though when we went to visit, they had a sign saying "check out our new location in Warwick Mall!"). Technically there's also a Wal-Mart and Kohl's, but they don't actually connect to the mall. The mall itself is absolutely eerie. I used to go there as a kid, when there were shops there, and it's creepy to go there now and see everything -- and I mean everything -- closed up.

    As for the knife story -- I don't think I could have paid attention to the sales pitch after that. I would have been more concerned about the NBL bleeding in front of me. Yikes.

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  37. We have a dead mall here, but it isn't nearly that nice. I love abandoned places, and I often wish it would just get it over with and go under so that it would be more interesting.

    On a side note, have you seen the steampunk Google Maps wristlet? It is some kind of awesome. Link here

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  38. nothing...seriously NOTHING made my day quite like a double Dr. Horrible reference. And this is why I <3 Epbot.

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  39. I bought a penknife a few weeks ago, and was gently unfolding it before I took my eye away for a SPLIT SECOND to see it had retracted itself in the blink of an eye and taken a chunk of my finger with it. Fun times.

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  40. We have several of dead malls - one is pretty old and is currently partially being used by a service organization. Another was just built a few years ago. Bad location and very bad architecture - no one wants to go there! And yet another is again, bad location and high crime in the area.

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  41. Well, you know those Brits: have a cup of tea and keep buggering on!

    I don't know that the words "I do that all the time" are really all that comforting, given the situation.

    There is a dead mall in Washington, PA. It literally has two stores-a JoAnn Fabrics on one end and a JC Penney on the other. The entire rest of the structure is completely deserted. You'd think those two stores would move to one of the close-by strip malls, but no.

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  42. This story reminds me of European Vacation, when the Griswolds hit Eric Idle on his bike, yet his British sense of duty and politeness never fails.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsM0CwqGrBs

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  43. @ Melanie L. - Steve & Barry's was pretty much the only reason I had to drive to Orlando! We got some awesome deals there and were so bummed when they closed...

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  44. I think I was at this mall last year while visiting the Orlando area. I'm pretty sure bc I went into that Black Market Minerals also. On the dead mall bit, have you ever been to labelscar.com? (And no I'm not associated w/ that site-I just like reading it.)

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  45. When I was a teenager, my parents managed a store in a nearly-dead mall. My brother and I explored every inch of that place. I think that's where my love of deserted public spaces began.

    I have nothing but sympathy for John and fainting - my husband's the same way, and he's a former Marine. I've heard it's a hard-wired physiological reaction that affects a certain percentage of the population. It has nothing to do with squeamishness or being wimpy.

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  46. Bwahahahahaha! I was reminded of Dan Aykroyd as Julia Child by your knife episode. Good grief!
    My uncle almost bought me a switchblade as a librarian school graduation present. I would have had it engraved with "Shhhhhhhh!"

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  47. Wow, we saw that mall on a road trip last summer. We were pretty depressed that it was so empty, because it's pretty much the coolest mall we've ever seen. The restrooms being in the utility tunnels was pretty creepy though, especially since it was so quiet.

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  48. OMG! I'm queasy with needles/blood/etc, and reading your post I know it will be entertaining, but my stomach is turning knots as I'm picturing the incident. And then I'm slorphing trying to contain my laughter at how it all played out. You provide the best diversions from my otherwise-mundane accounting job!

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  49. If I was drinking milk, it would have come unceremoniously out of my nose. As it was, it was bad enough lossing a guffaw here at my work computer. The milk would have just been too much.

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  50. This reminds me of the great salesperson I had when I bought my car. After I had taken the test drive the salesperson was showing me the attributes of the car and when we got to the trunk I said "wow, that's big, you could fit a body in there." He looked at the trunk space thoughtfully for a minute and then said, "well, I think if you positioned them right, you could fit two."

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  51. My brother, about 8 at the time, was playing with his new Swiss Army Knife in the back seat, when my mother heard "I hate the sight of blood, especially my own."

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  52. PS - We have a Dead Mall here as well. The anchor stores and theatre are all doing ok, but most of the little bits are missing. *sigh*

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  53. Our dead mall keeps running adds saying it has over 50 shops. I went through one day and counted 30 including the claw machine, soda machines, check your weight machine, etc. That was before the book store and the dollar store left and they were the city's good book store and dollar store.

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  54. I was at a mall a few weeks ago, one I had never been to before. It was half empty, and no one was shopping, but it was oddly pristine. Someone had painted murals of people shopping, and murals of storefronts, and there were false balconies and Italianate windows all around the food court to make it look like you were in an Olde Worlde plaza. And it was the weirdest thing, because it was EXACTLY like being in a life-sized video game set. I'm thinking either Tomb Raider or Counterstrike: Condition Zero. It was like the uncanny valley of malls. The empty halls, the false fronts with nothing behind them... even little alcoves with plastic plants and a few tables set up in a way that no human being would ever use. I was tempted to jump on the benches to see if I could smash them. I think it was the highlight of my year.

    -Sei

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  55. I was in Missouri visiting my brother when he was stationed out there and they have many large knife shops. I wandered into one and purchased a pretty pink spring-loaded knife. I carry it for protection (dad made me practice being able to pull it out and open it single-handed)but mostly use it to open mail and packages.

    And that's my cool knife story.

    Glad you guys made it out of there without passing out and hopefully NBL is all good.

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  56. I'm not sure I understand the fascination with dead malls. Where I live we only have one mall. It's dead. And it's depressing. Maybe the appeal of the dead mall goes up when one has the option of going to a non-dead mall from time to time.

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  57. C'mon, folks, don't knock the Festival Bay too badly. It's got loads of soap shops, chocolate shops, and hot tub retailers! Or at least, enormous canvas prints of those businesses covering every vacant storefront, giving the illusion there are thriving stores there but really fooling nobody.

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  58. ...and *that's* why "I" love your husband too....

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  59. I still think the best part of Festival Bay is the labyrinth to the restrooms. I got lost in there once... On the plus side, David Bowie and his goblin friends were plesant, though terrible with directions.

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