to the A & to the F

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I’m at the mall. My wife and our girlchild invited me along.

We go into this dark cavern of a store and WOWSA! the sounds are pounding. Lots of black and white posters of semi-nude young people hung on the walls. The sound is cranked to eleven – BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM.

I take up a position in a comfy black chair near the front. Several chairs have been placed here, apparently for the weak.

Wife and girlchild disappear into the bowels.

I’m looking around at the goods and it looks like they’re doing a lot of plaid. That, and ripped up jeans.


And the shirtsleeves and the jeans cuffs have to be rolled up and rolled up badly – sorta wadded up.

Blessed Goddess I’m glad I forgot my hearing aid!


There’s a beautiful severely thin dark skin girl with curly hair over by the door greeting those who enter. I wish she’d put on a couple of pounds.

Damn, that bass is pounding! I think at this point we must all be synched up on the same heartbeat.

This place is about one strobe light short of being a disco.

The guys working here all have plaid shirts, ragged jeans and ironic haircuts.


They seem to be talking to each other, but they couldn’t possibly hear each other. Are they all lip readers?

I notice that the sound is actually compressing my chest. So if I stroke out and die while I’m here my heart will keep going.

The beautiful girl from the door walks by and I think she’s checking me out. And I know why, too. I’m the only man in the place wearing a decent pair of jeans. Everybody else looks like they just worked a hard shift on a shrimp boat. And me, I’m rockin some pristine 501s.

Wow, this music! BOOM BOOM BOOM – And I notice this, too, that when they find a couple of bars they like they stick with it!

Loop it til you puke!

I’m trying to pick up on some of the lyrics, and I’m getting something like – Tonight I’m gonna party in my mind. And – I love youuuuuooooOOOOooooOOOOOOOOooooooooo… Over. And. Over.

My wife comes up and she’s holding a lacy, girly shirt on a hanger for me to see. She says – “Wudda _ _ _ grrp _ _mnxp _ _ Cute! _ _ _flooperschnauzer_ ok?” I think I know what this is about. My wife is looking good and I’d like to see her in this. I smile. My wife smiles and returns to the darkness.

As a side effect of the sound pressure on my gourd, my eyes have become pinwheels.

I want to think about what this all means but my mind will no longer form a complex thought.


Black and white tennis shoes like I was wearing 60 years ago.

Some people of a tender age might disagree, but you’re never too old to be hip. I’ve been standin here on this riverbank for a long time watchin all the little boats of cool come and go.

So, I’m thinking I’m going to get up and break it down for ’em.

Bust out the Robot. Show the children a little Animation.

Oh! Wait! Can’t do that – I’m still rehabbin a knee!

I can pop. But I cannot lock.

You remember the knee, right? No?

Okay, maybe I’ve gotten all I’m going to get out of the knee.


I wonder absently whether my ears might be bleeding.

A young man sits down in the chair across from me. He’s reading something on his telephone.

Bulky watch cap pulled down low. Plaid shirt. Ratty jeans (rolled up cuffs). Scruffy boots with chrome buckles. Big rhinestone stud in each ear. Nicely manicured goatee over a two-day beard. He’s wearing a long plaid scarf wrapped twice around his neck.

What would my character say to his character?

Then my daughter comes up with my wife and I’m reading her lips and it looks like she says something about “boobies.” I get it – we’re going to the store where the lady has a Secret!

Hand me down my raggedy-ass jeans, gotta bounce!

We’re heading for the door and the beautiful, severely thin girl smiles and tells “us” goodbye.

Oh, yeah. She wants me.

I’m out.


I’m out.


I’m out.


6 responses to “to the A & to the F

  1. So let me tell you a little tale.

    I think I’m pretty cool. I’ve got wild, white curly hair that hasn’t been cut in 2 1/2 years. I’m adorned with a fair amount of tattoos (I’d have to stop and count how many if you really wanted to know). I’ve my own eclectic sense of style. I listen to all sorts of music. I love to cook and especially love to eat. I used to bike a LOT but now I run instead. I stand up paddle board and manage to stay ON the board. You can talk to me about anything under the sun or moon and I never judge; I prefer to only listen. The elements are my friends. I drive a cute little convertible bug.

    When my niece called me up and said she wanted to visit for a few days I thought “Hey, (if you read above) my ‘cool aunt resume’ looks pretty good and heck, if 19 year old wants to hang out for a few days than hot damn, I MUST be pretty darn cool”

    So up drove Sara.

    “Hey Aunt Kris, can we go shopping in Freeport?”

    “Oooh, Mexicali Blues, Leapin Lizards, ooh, ooh Horny Toad, heck ya, let’s go”

    “Ok, I wanna take you to A&F too”

    “Um, what’s that?”

    “Oh, it’s this great store with all sorts of cool clothes and I think you’ll like it”

    Ok…lump me in with the hip older teens…maaann, my “cool aunt” status just jumped up a few notches. Ok, I’m in.

    So off to Freeport we go. We park, we talk about everything and anything under the sun. Oh yah, I’m feelin it…I’m hip. No dowdy aunt status for me.

    Then, we enter this A&F store.

    Ok…I didn’t see any white rabbit run by. I don’t recall ANY conversation about going down the rabbit hole. Where are we? What IS this place. Like you David, I needed to sit.

    The music, the lights…did I just enter the Twilight Zone…where WAS I?

    Once my brain started to get used to the sensory overload, I settled in to observe. Figured, can’t beat ’em so may as well kick back and make this my own little petrie dish. Let Sara wander and shop.

    Now, I’m neither a waif nor do I carry a lot of extra weight…I’m happy with myself and my stature. But my goodness, I felt like I needed to never eat again if I was going to fit into any of this stuff. I’m also not prone to violence but I’ll be damned if I didn’t want to pin down every one of the people working here and make them consume vast amounts of chili cheese hotdogs.

    Ok, WHY am I here again…ah yes…”cool aunt status”.

    Long story short, Sara finally lead me out of the rabbit hole into the sunshine and ahhh, I could breathe again. Once my eardrums finally settled back into place, we started chatting again. She confessed that she REALLY wanted to bring me there to see how I’d hold up and watch me interact. Ahhh…so she was observing me as I was observing everything else. Was I in her petrie dish or was she in mine? We had some good laughs over the whole experience and I still retained my “cool aunt status”.

    So where am I going with all of this? I’m not really sure, other than to offer up a story that popped up as it related to your experience.

    Long and short of it….we’re all cool, we’re all hip, we’re all observers and participants in this crazy adventure called “life”….best part of it all is sharing it with both friends and strangers alike….and you my friend are like the pied piper, bringing us all into the fold. Lead on David….we’re coming right with you….


  2. Girlchild. Yes. I don’t shop at the mall either… but it sounds like you were talking about Hollister. (…returned to the darkness.) “Everybody else looks like they just worked a hard shift on a shrimp boat.” This post is so full of funnies. Thanks for sharing.


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