I'm sitting in the food court at the mall, munching on my BLT sub from Subway, and watching the hustle and bustle of the shoppers. I have a book in front of me, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception , but I'm unable to get into it. This is surprising, as I'm one of the biggest Artemis Fowl geeks out there, but today, the teenage criminal mastermind does not hold my attention. I glance over at FYE, the music store, and see a bunch of teenagers walking through the aisles. The store has no walls, only windows, so I see everything. In the video section is a young couple browsing through the discs on display. He's tall and blond, she's short and brunette. They're holding hands. They look good together. He spies Chappelle's Show: Season 2 on the shelf and pounces on it. He talks animatedly as he attempts to describe something (maybe a skit?) to her, all the while laughing. She's not amused and seems a little skeptical about his movie choice. He pleads, and I see her shake her head. I look away from the arguing couple and go back to the group of teenagers who have congregated in the music aisle. I count eight of them and notice that they're all pierced and draped in black from head to toe. The store clerks hover nearby, radios ready.
I see the couple (let's call them Tyler and Bethany) arguing in the movie section. They seem to have reached a stalemate. It appears as though Tyler is insistent upon getting Chappelle's Show , and Bethany, Ocean's 12 . The four store clerks have not left the vicinity of the teenagers and either blatantly stare or cast frequent suspicious glances their way. I look back to Tyler and Bethany and notice that they have caught on to this. Tyler whispers in Bethany's ear, and they both look around them quickly. I figure out what's going on and, delighted, turn my chair around and settle in to watch.
Tyler and Bethany seem to have a plan. They give each other a quick kiss on the lips and head off in different directions, each trying to appear breezy, indifferent. Tyler is standing in front of the family movies keeping an eye on the clerks across the room and then on Bethany. Bethany is standing in the back of the store with the Chappelle's Show DVD in her hand, examining it. Tyler sneezes, which I guess is the signal, because Bethany stuffs the movie into her bag.
Bethany saunters back to Tyler, answers his unspoken question with a quick nod, and latches on to his arm. On the other side of the room, the teenagers are starting to get restless, bored, and a little tired of being scrutinized by the store clerks. The leader of the pack gives the word, and they head toward the exit. Tyler and Bethany are on their way out as well. Bethany looks worried, and I can see that she's starting to have second thoughts. She's dragging her feet and leaning on Tyler. As both parties reach the exit, the alarm goes crazy; everyone starts screaming and chaos erupts.
The teenagers are pounced on, and the clerks yell into their radios. Everyone at the exit is stopped, including Tyler and Bethany, as mall security rushes in. Bethany is weeping, Tyler is yelling, the teenagers are cursing, and everyone's trying to be heard. Eventually, calm is restored, and everybody is searched. The teenagers are released with apologies from the store clerks. The police, who had been called to the scene, arrest Bethany, and the DVD is returned. Tyler is nowhere to be found, and I see Bethany weeping and looking around for him as she's led to the cop car.
After the excitement dies down, I get up from my seat and leave the food court. On my way out, I spy Tyler sitting at one of the tables, devouring a plate of Chinese food as he talks on his cell phone. As I walk by him, I hear him recount the story -- "Dude, I bolted out of there as fast as I could. I was not trying to get arrested!" How noble. I drive home with a new appreciation for my fiancé and my ability to say "no" and mean it.