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January 04, 2005

And God Delivered His (or Her) Judgment

For there shall arise false Christs, and false
prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall
deceive the very elect.

--Mathew 24:24

One day in the height of the shopping season, there arose a great clamor at the Templeview Mall. A great blue light descended from the heavens. Clouds flecked with gold and silver flittered through the entire region and surrounding parking zones. It was this distraction that allowed Mark Filbert to steal a space from parking space competitor Zeke Trump. Zeke had shown weakness and allowed himself to become distracted. As Zeke walked the mile and a half to the mall employees door, he knew the mean man who stole his parking place would receive his just desserts. Too upset by trivial events and tied up in his own world of petty revenge, Zeke failed to notice the anarchy around him and entered the mall. As Zeke's shadow disappeared into the employee's only door, the light became brighter and brighter until all that could be seen was the blue glowing light that emanated from far atop Templeview Mall.

Then the mall shook and the whirlwinds changed their consistency to dust and fire. They danced the mall's circumference wreaking havoc on all that would move, or even think of it. The shaking of the mall intensified and fissures and crevices shot forth upon the ground projecting as earthbound rays from the ambit of the mall in all directions upon the earth. The mall rose from it's foundations and soared into the air, leaving behind the sewage pipes of a thousand disemboweled toilets longing to be reattached to their receptacles. Instead, ethereal ladders descended from the upthrust mall allowing any brave soul the ability to climb into the sky toward the bargains of a life time. But none moved. Fear had shook the promise of a bargain from the consumer's minds and the evil spirit of commercialism slid back and recoiled from the bright blue light as if someone had bruised it's head.

Inside the mall, the center fountain shot up to thirty cubits in height and the roof of the mall was ripped away as the source of the blue light descended as a feather from a dove's wing onto the platform in the midst of the great mall fountain. The fountain walls broke and the miniature dam let forth its water into the whole mall, but instead of the trickle it used to be, the water now surged forth wildly with more zeal than it had ever shown before. It's flood carried with it the loose pocket change of a thousand wishers and chased the credit card lenders from the Templeview Mall. At the sight of all this upheaval and water, Zeke the mall custodian, went to get his mop.

Then those unfortunate enough to have been inside the mall witnessed the beginning of a new era. The Mall Dwellers came one by one out of every shop and store drawn for some inexplicable reason toward the light. But as they approached the water, it raged and gushed to the point of frenzy making passage unbearable. For those wearing imported silk shirts and blouses hesitated fearful of the damage the unruly water would inflict upon their purchases. At this hesitation, the light turned red and arcs of energy bolted forth and singed the silk shirts ruining them as if an iron had pressed them that was too hot. The multitudes cried out and begged for forgiveness and they rubbed cigarette ashes on their foreheads to show repentance. Then, as the light again returned to a comforting blue, they slowly stood and approached the raging waters. Zeke, as if overcome by something greater, stood in the lead and thrust his mop into the wild flood. The waters parted and there was dry marble on which the Mall Dwellers could walk, and even though the waters raged on both sides of them, they were granted safe passage to the platform beyond.

Zeke stood closest to the light. After a moment, he again raised his mop and the waters resumed their wild frenzy, but the Mall Dwellers were safely on the center platform. Then Zeke turned toward the Mall Dwellers and although no human words were used, they knew what needed to be done. For some unknown reason they felt compelled to organize themselves into twelve assemblies. In future generations, these twelve assemblies will come to be known as the Twelve Cliques of the Mall Dwellers and their genealogy would be traced from generation to generation in order to keep there bloodlines distinct so that each Clique would be able to perform it's assigned duties with the blessing of the blue light.

Then the light quivered and a low and deep voice rattled the air and the vibration brought many a Mall Dweller to the point of fear --except, of course, for those of the Clique of Victoria Secrets who were inwardly excited and swooned with red faces and increased heart rates. The language spoken was one that spoke directly into the hearts of the Mall Dwellers and the words were imparted as gently as a mother's kiss...

"I have come to deliver judgments on the mortals of this planet. Though this judgment is final it will not be done in mass. Judgments will be done on an individual basis. You, the Twelve Cliques of the Mall Dwellers, will be given specific tasks in order to prepare mankind for their reward, or punishment. Since it would not be equitable to judge in accordance to any kind of order, it will be done randomly with no preference to the living, or the dead, or any other discriminating status or data. If any of those present would disagree with this method now, or at any point in the future, complaints and suggestions will be accepted in the mall office."

With that said, the mall directory was ripped off it's pedestal and the blue light etched on it's surface the responsibilities of each Clique. The light then handed them to Zeke to deliver to his people. But as Zeke approached the Mall Dwellers, he heard them in dissension murmuring against the light. The Clique of Arcade Players protested at the loss of their quarters, the Clique of the House of Hair complained of shortages to their electrical appliances, and the Clique of Cinemas wanted to charge admission for mankind to attend their own judgment. Zeke, in a fit of indignation, threw down the mall directory and cursed them for their conduct.

Coming to his senses, Zeke looked down at the shattered directory in horror. The Cliques had also realized the importance of what just transpired and again repented of their murmurings, but now was a crucial time in the history of the Mall Dwellers and for all of mankind. For now it was up to Zeke's memory, to try and recall what the blue light had written. He toiled for days stressing over each word. Painfully he tried to reconstruct the directory as best he could. His best done, he presented it to his people and they read and they learned. Zeke hoped everything the blue light had written was accounted for and he hoped he had gotten it mostly right, but Zeke had never been too good with numbers and now he regretted not trying harder in school. For the next forty years, he would have doubts and nightmares about this event, and just a little guilt about rearranging the names on the list to be judged.

After some time, the blue light again spoke. He gathered together his Cliques and took the list back from Zeke. "I will now begin. The first person to receive judgment will be Mark Filbert. It seems that Mark has a propensity to steal parking places. For this, he is condemned to the hell of waiting on a red light that will not change. A police cruiser will be sitting directly behind him and this punishment will be performed in a state with no right on red laws..."

Then Zeke awoke. But he knew this was no dream. It was a sign that he would be the prophet in the wild preparing for the coming of the light. He picked up his mop and walked shoeless to the nearest K-Mart and waited patiently for the next blue light special.

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