denver was a last minute thing. before that, I’d planned for, ooh, a couple of hours, to go back to the flatiron crossing and visit those nice people in PacSun to see if they’d had a delivery of large tshirts with skatetractors on that I could get my hands on. I figured I could probably get all that stuff with ‘Colorado’ or ‘Boulder’ or ‘Flatiron’ printed on it while I was there as well and so I’d only have to take one evening out of the social calendar to visit the mall, eat alone at the Renaissance and actually get to bed before 2 am. so wednesday evening was dedicated to’ project taxable items’ and if I got away from the globalization meetings we had arranged that afternoon which I’d arranged myself but completely forgotten about and had left my UK/US travel adaptor behind and couldn’t plug in the laptop and had the wrong phone and it felt like the wrong head which I had found under a bucket, then I figured I’d probably have a couple of hours and anyway the flatiron’s pretty small except for the enormous empty department sotres at each end/corner/whatever where dirk and sarah are just kind of unloading ties and arranging them in a spiral on a shiny tabel in menswear, because they’ve run out of shoes to arrange and they haven’t actually sold anything for an hour.
so I extricate myself from broomfield 5, turn the wrong way onto interlocken loop, end up at the airfield where a couple of light aircraft spray the car with nerve gas or something and then I take a left and look back over the crest of the hill where broomfield sprawls out beneath me, and I can see foleys and nordstrum about a mile away and so I set off in a straight line, keeping them in my sights all the time. across parking lots, central reservations, golf courses, 4-ways, 3-ways, and anything else the rental fucos can negotiate and in 5 minutes I’ve slammed through a hedge into the empty parking lot and I’m wondering if the flatiron actually closes at 6pm on wednesdays, until I see a middle aged couple with a foleys bag fall through the doors and I realize that I’ve jumped the first hurdle and at least I’m at the mall and its open. I stick the dead laptop in the boot/trunk lock my wallet in the car and set off on my pathetic little quest.
cookie smell. its there. good. right. being a veteran of the flatiron having been here once before, I know where I’m headed and stride confidently through foleys, which looks like the kind of place I might come back to one day when I’ve passed 60, lost all my money to online poker and have lost all self respect and have the sartorial elegance of a pig farmer on vacation, and then the world opens up and I’m into main street, or the village, or ‘flatiron street’, or whatever they’ve called the main drag in the mall which in the UK would have actually been a regular street for 800 years but now it’s got a marble tiled floor and an atrium roof and smells of cookies, but I suspect over here in Colorado used to be, well, probably nothing at all but a maybe a place where some animals roamed around or something athough I’m sure that’s completely inaccurate and actually it was a street for 300 years, but a street that had animals roaming all over it, and I know that I should take a left out of foleys, but there’s only straight on as an option, so I’m confused already. oh, but wait, I’ve come out 20 yards from PacSun, it’s just over there. bingo. I’ll be out of here in 20 minutes and then I can get a game sausage and pasta entree in flatz and spend 4 hours reading email and watching drew barrymore in some family channel film about bad love and driving cars up mountains blindfold etc.. brilliant.
‘hi there!’ oh dear. looks like I’m this evening’s customer. don’t they know I’m british? surely they can tell I’m not used to being communicated to in stores unless I’m complaining about christmas lights being put up too early or the rudeness of the staff. ‘my name is christy and i’ll be your server today. rashid is with us in mens today so if you have any questions today, then please today let me know and we’ll see how we can help today sir. is there anything I can help you with today?’ dammit. I was hoping to slip in quietly, pick a couple of tshirts that would be perfect for a 16-year old son but that I’m actually buying for my 38-year old self, bag them and slip away before anyone had noticed. they probably remember me from 6 months ago when I did the same thing. they’ve been brainwashed or something and they have some kind of sinister ESP that they use to gang up on shoppers and make them buy stuff they didn’t want. ‘er, no, i’m just, er, looking’. ‘ok sir, well, give me a holler if you’re needing anything, sizes or styles, ok?’. ‘right, sure’. a holler? what’s that? sure, I’ll give you a holler. I’ll find a tshirt that looks about right and I’ll come up to the counter and shout in your face I THINK I’LL TAKE THIS ONE BUT HAVE YOU GOT IT IN A LARGE, CHRISTY? I’m not sure about this at all. and they haven’t got any tshirts I like, even though rashid pulled a couple down from the ceiling with a huge stick, in case I ‘wanted to check the style’ of them. exit strategy. head down. move to the door, stealthy. nearly there. ‘YOU HAVE A GREAT DAY TODAY SIR’. jesus, she doesn’t have to shout at me on the way out the door, I mean, I was the only person in there. ‘YOU’VE A GREAT EVENING SIR YOU SEE US AGAIN SOON’. oh no, rashid has barked out to me as well. I’m nearly out the door. do I acknowledge them or something? I’m too far out to speak normally, and I can’t turn around without that looking just really awkward. maybe I’ll just ignore them. no, can’t ignore them, that’s just rude. dammit!
in the end, I just kind of weakly raised my hand and gave a kind of backwards wave with my knuckles while pulling a half smile that was only seen by a couple of teenage girls pulling gum out in strings who probably immediately classified me as a danger to the public. so that wasn’t quite how I’d seen this evening going. now I’ll have to do the walk along the ground floor and back along the upper floor because I’ve crossed the invisible threshold which means I’m too far in to simply turn around and walk out and I can’t just stop in the middle and decide it’s all over by looking at my watch and pretending I’m late for a meeting or something even though I appear to be the only person in the mall, which of course, is worse, because that means everybody is looking at me wondering what the hell I’m doing gibbering to myself in the doorway of PacSun waving my limp wrist about with a sickly insipid half-grin on my face. oh well. let’s get it over with. I might find something in the ‘mid thirties man trying to be 18 through inappropriate dressing in guess, stussy and levis’ section in nordstrum where I can have chat with dirk about whether I’m here on business and whether he’ll accept maestro cards or if I’ll have to put it on visa and I’ll wonder why he doesn’t take a pin number or a signature and I’ll go home alone as they pack up the rest of the ties until tomorrow when they’ll finish the spirals and start of the glove trees for christmas. except I don’t. I didn’t find anything anywhere. 40 minutes of my life has passed by in this place and I’m no closer to a purchase than I was during my globalization presentation on monday, where at least I got pizza and donuts. I’ve even been into crate and barrel and considered getting a set of kitchen knives for the hell of it, but homeland security or the tsa might have something to say about that. I know. I’ll just leave. go back to hotel without buying anything. perhaps I’ll go to denver on friday or something (which I do). so, where was the fucos? that’s right, back though the power tools in foleys. right, let’s go.
I was almost at the entrance to foleys when I took a quick look to my left for some reason. just baskets and things. but hang on, there’s something moving in that one. what is this place? oh. I see. aaaaaaaaaaaaah. it’s a pet shop. not the kind of pet shop you get in the UK which might have a fish and a couple of tired guinea pigs hiding under a shredded free advertiser. no it’s more like the ones in spain that the kids stick their nose up against. the kind of pet shop that has, well, pets in. I’m talking dogs. and cats. and big spiders and lizards and rats and gerbils and geckos and frogs and things that look like sticks that are probably insects, but actually, are just sticks in a spider case without a spider in it. there must of been about 12 glass-sided cases, each with a couple or three puppies in. and these weren’t just your average mixed up breeds of dogs, they were all those wierd ones you only ever see people walking around with under their arms plus a few which would eventually be about 10 feet tall and need their own house. and they were all barking. yapping, to be more accurate. little whiny puppy yaps that were somewhere in between very cute and instant migrane. in the top-right case, was the most striking dog of the lot. it was a white husky puppy which cost about a million dollars and was just kind of slinking about, outstaring everyone that came into the shop. I gave it a go, but after about 5 minutes I had to rush to the bathroom to pour water into my dried-up eyeballs. that dog had the most evil stare. and I swear it had human eyes. I mean, they didn’t look like dog eyes at all, they were bright green, piercing, human eyes, I’m sure of it. there was something strange going on in the back of the store. nevertheless, I stayed for about 30 minutes just watching puppies roll over on metal grills and biting each other’s ears off and I think every customer in the flatiron passed through in that time and stood there going aaaaaah and stuff, so maybe it was just a really nice shop that happened to have a devil husky in one case by mistake and I was reading too much into the little yelping and squelching noises coming from the backroom.
I went for a grilled beef skewered bar meal in the end and watched the bullets on cable in the bar with a couple of flat tires before retiring to the 6th floor and charging up the laptop before falling asleep in front of the scifi channel which had something on which looked like star wars but wasn’t.