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Dec 2017
Liam and I both had younger sisters in the eighth grade the year we got married. The day it started he came in from work with a strange look on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and he showed me the text Shannon had sent him earlier that afternoon. Upon checking my cellphone I realized I had two missed calls and a similar panicked text from my own sister. The headlines appeared online minutes later. Local Small Town Politicians Close the Doors of the County Mall Indefinitely in the Name of Social Science. The tweens tried everything they could to break down the doors, but being 13, physical strength wasn’t a luxury they had. With no other options, they began to congregate all over the place; they went to each other’s houses, sat on benches together at parks, or hung out at local fast food restaurants. The experts said they’d never seen anything like it. I caught Shannon one late night crawling out through the doggy flap in the back door of our condo, half a case of Budweiser under her left arm. They stole cigarettes from their grandfathers and shoved their tongues in each other’s mouths. As the days turned into weeks, they asked each other, “Are you feeling it yet?” After some pondering, the answer would come, and it was always the same. “Yeah. I am.” About a month in, someone mentioned the book Lord of the Flies, to which someone else responded, “Let’s ******* do it.” They rubbed dirt on their faces and ripped their clothes, spat on their palms and rubbed their stomachs. Shannon’s boyfriend became the leader and he rolled up a piece of construction paper and used it as a bullhorn. He stood on a turned over milk crate in the middle of the mall parking lot and delivered decrees and everyone listened because he was the tallest and his voice the loudest. None of this particularly bothered any of us, but Liam couldn’t handle it. He’d taken a sociology course as an elective at NYU. He told me again and again, “These kids are the future. This is what happens when you take away their resources. They don’t need this.” He cried in the bathtub, then got out, dried off, put on a suit and tie and climbed into bed with me. He Facebook messaged his estranged ex-wife, in all caps, OH GOD OH GOD I’M GOING TO DIE SOMEDAY, and then dropped his phone into a glass full of flat coke. When I woke up in the morning, he was gone. I don’t think they ever ended up re-opening that mall.
Written by
jules  21/MTL
   Charles Campbell
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