Today at the mall, you’ll find that the bench in front of the Superpretzel will be completely empty. Run to it and take a seat, putting your Kohl’s bag on the other half of the bench so that no one else will sit with you.
That bench is the best spot in the entire mall. Always has been, ever since you first started hanging out at that mall in 1981. It’s got perfect sun from the skylight, and it’s right near the overhang so you can lean over the edge and look down shirts. You still remember when you sat your wife there to make out with her in public back when she was just your high school sweetheart. The spot is never available and when you caught it empty that day with your high school sweetheart you knew she was the one for you always.
Here comes your wife now.
“We gotta go,” she’ll say.
“Can’t,” tell her. “I got the spot. Not gonna let it go.”
Your wife will stare at you. You have a great deal of mental illness in your family and you can see her sometimes watching you for any manifestations. Then she’ll look at the bench and remember.
“Oh this is where we used to kiss! How cute. But seriously, we gotta get to my sister’s.”
“I’m staying,” tell her. “Got the spot. Not gonna let it go until I know why.”
Your wife will stare again. She’ll wish she were a violent person.
“Let’s go,” she'll say.
“Anytime this spot comes empty for me, it’s for a reason. It was empty the day I knew you were the one for me. It was empty the day my father died and I didn’t know it yet. It was empty when I came here after I didn’t get my promotion. Remember that?”
“And it was empty the day Robbie got kidnapped,” you’ll say. Robbie is your son and he’s been missing for a year. It hasn’t been easy.
“It’s the best spot in the mall and I need to know why it’s empty today. I need to wait.”
Your wife will reach for the bag at the end of the bench.
“No!” you’ll say. “I need to sit here alone. Leave the bag.”
“But my sister’s present,” she’ll say.
“Buy another one,” tell her. Then throw your credit card at her.
She’ll go, and you’ll sit and wait. You’ll sit all day, not minding waiting because you’re in the spot and everyone in the mall who sees you knows you’re on the cusp of enlightenment and they're jealous of you. They shove their kids along, or tussle with their classmates, wondering when they’ll get their day in the spot.
Today is your day, and at the end of it, when you stand up and lift your bag, you’ll see carved into the wood, “Robbie wuz here, 2/12/07. U Just Sat In Hiz Fartz.”
It’s your son’s work, there’s no doubt. He was alive and walking the mall as recently as a month and a half ago. He must be one of those kidnapped kids who just live with his abductors in the same town as his parents without trying to run away, the way kids like to do these days. You son is alive, and you just sat in his fartz.
Happy Hang Onto Your Spot At The Mall Day!