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The Woman in White Marble

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Robin Harper



Robin Harper lives on an island in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters, and therefore views the rest of the world as “off-island.” Her professional goal is to someday publish a collection of short stories. Her personal goals include sleeping overnight at the New York Public Library and bumping into Barack Obama at Starbucks, where they will quickly bond over their love for iced coffee – cream, two Sweet n Lows.

Visit Robin’s blog, Hey You, Shorty, by clicking here.




The Great Escalating Tragedy

CROQUET LAWN, KY – Authorities were called to a tense scene at Narrenleute Mall last Tuesday morning. An escalator in the mall’s west wing had come to an abrupt halt, leaving 20 people stranded.

After waiting a few minutes for the escalator to restart, panic began to set in amongst the riders. A few hollered for help while others stood mute, frozen in terror.

One onlooker remarked, “It was so surreal. They were just minding their own business, shopping and whatnot and all of a sudden, the escalator just stopped. No warning at all. All I could think was, ‘oh my god, what if I had got on that thing?’ Those poor, poor people.”

Witnesses say some on the floor above the escalator tried to coax the stymied riders to start climbing.

“I just don’t understand”, remarked Frida Pressman, a Croquet Lawn resident who was at the mall that morning to pick up her prescription eyeglasses. “They could have easily saved themselves. All they had to do was start walking up the steps. We yelled at them for a really long time – like, just CLIMB! We couldn’t get them to move, it was the strangest thing…it was like yelling at twenty brick walls.”

Firefighters and police on the scene were equally perplexed at the riders’ unwillingness to move, but immediately began working on a plan of action to rescue the victims from this deplorable situation.

Good Samaritans on the ground floor also jumped in to offer aid, forming a bucket brigade to pass coffee, chocolate covered pretzels and frozen yogurt up to the trapped. The surrounding crowd became energized, chanting “USA! USA! USA!” as the supplies made their way up the chain.

Despite these acts of goodwill, it was apparent the state of mind of each rider was beginning to unravel. One man was observed to be turning around in circles on his step muttering “This is not happening. This is not happening.” Another man began waving his bag from Totin’ Tom’s Gun Emporium around his head yelling “I’m an American! I pay taxes, I don’t deserve this!” Witnesses told us he also continually shouted expletives at those urging him to climb.

“I saw one woman just sit down and close her eyes,” said Bob Dealey, a truck driver from Paducah who served as a coffee runner. “She just gave up I guess. I can’t blame her…this was a total horror show.”

Luckily, loss of life and limb were averted when a cherry picker was brought in, and one by one plucked the escalators out of their predicament. The crowd heaved a collective sigh of relief and quickly dispersed to get on with their day.

Remarking on what locals have dubbed “The Great Escalating Tragedy”, chairman of the mall’s corporate board, Ian Mark White said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. But I gotta tell you, our response to this tragedy was great. Really, really great. I don’t think you’ve ever seen a mall jump this quickly into action in response to such a total disaster. Not many people know this, but I was directing the emergency response team. So many people afterward came up to shake my hand and thank me for what I did. I got so many calls too, thanking me for what I did – so many.”

Others weren’t so effusive with their praise. “I saw that guy run out of his office down to the food court and make sure the vendors were charging full price for those things people were buying for the riders” said shopper Bill Fields. Another who wished to remain anonymous said “He’s a major stockholder in that coffee shop, Mikhail’s Mug… I wouldn’t be surprised if he orchestrated this whole thing to boost sales.”

Chairman White’s sympathetic remarks to GET victims were a sharp departure from the comments he made last month after 11 senior citizens were stuck for 6 hours in an elevator located on the mall’s south side. Those unfortunate riders belonged to the Early Morning Mall Walkers group, an initiative started by Narrenleute Mall’s previous chairman to benefit both seniors and those who cannot afford gym memberships.

At the time, White was criticized for not alerting authorities for at least 3 hours after the elevator failed. In an interview with Croquet Lawn Weekly, he was recorded as saying, “Those people don’t even come here to buy anything. After a fair yet extreme vetting process, we allow them to use our concourses for

their morning walks. It was their choice to get on that elevator [unintelligible mumbling]…they didn’t even try to pry the doors open. I mean, our main responsibility is to put hard-working mall shoppers FIRST.”

[FACT CHECK: Studies done by the National Mall Data Group show that seniors who walk Narrenleute’s concourses are liberal spenders, accounting for 40% of the gross mall product (GMP). In particular, their demographic dominates in purchases of Comfort Clogs at the His n Hers Shoes outlet, as well as the morning buffet at Early Bird Gets the Waffle.]

White also sharply rebuked allegations that he hadn’t had the elevator inspected in the 16 months since he was named Chairman. “You don’t understand the mess I inherited. A lot of work I have to do to fix up this dump… [unintelligible mumbling]…those inspection stickers are fake…FAKE STICKERS!”

We reached out to an official representative from Chuck Inspects All, an elevator and escalator inspection firm that has worked with Narrenleute in previous years. They confirmed they have not received a call to inspect any vertical transports at Narrenleute Mall since the previous chairman retired.

Editor’s Update: After this article went to press, we received a call from Walter Hewey, one of the GET 20. He informed us he is recovering nicely with an emotional support dog and long walks in the woods. He is also planning to form a grassroots organization to be named MEGA (Make Escalators Go Again). Its main mission will be to raise stuck escalator awareness and provide support to the other victims and their families. MEGA’s informational website and online store will be launched this spring

{Dedicated to my friends in The Resistance. Thanks for keeping the light on.}

Copyright © 2018 Robin Harper