Still Considering a Number of Other Applicants

Ever read any military history, Benito? Stuff about Patton, Rommel, Napoleon and such? Well, I’ve skimmed some of those magazines when Waldenbooks was still open. And I think if those guys were in my shoes, they would recognize this situation for what it is, and they’d be looking to hire the same kind of person I seek now---steely, heartless, aggressive. Alas, the facts as they stand are very simple, Benito: every store inside the once proud but now recession-beaten Knipton Mall has permanently closed its doors except for two. That the store we’re standing in and the other survivor both happen to be devoted to selling value-priced sweaters and slacks to plus-sized women is a coincidence we can do nothing about. What we can control is how badly we want to be the last man standing in this barren consumer wasteland, and buddy, I’m here to tell you that I want it bad. Now, you may not think that a part-time position as nighttime cashier would be a critical role in the drama we’re about to play out, and you may not even be ready for what you may be called upon to do. But if you’re willing to reach for bloodthirsty glory in addition to $7.25 an hour, let’s get this war started tonight, bus schedule permitting. In the drawer beside your left hand are contained several highly illegal but necessary objects with which we will one day begin our tactical assault after months—perhaps years—of planning. Go ahead and lift a couple of the objects right now. Feel their heft, their warmth, their solidity. These are the only friends you will make here—mostly because you and I are the only employees. You will split your time between stocking, running the register, saying hello to walk-in customers, and training yourself in six kinds of deadly combat, as well as getting basic overviews of military surveying, electrical engineering, locksmithing, and psychological warfare. (You’ll also need to take the trash out to J.J. Subs & Pizza’s dumpster twice a day.) Each piece of the puzzle will slowly lock into place, and when it all comes together, Operation White Leopard will commence. If we can pull it off, we’ll own this mall. If we do not, which is simply unthinkable to me, there’s still a chance we’ll own this mall, because I think The Lady Is Round only has a one year lease anyway and it’s up at the end of next month. Either way, I couldn’t live with myself if I just laid back and accepted fate’s damnable dice roll; I want to make something happen. So if you want the job, shake my hand firmly right now, leave me your learner’s permit so I can make a copy of it for payroll, and come take a walk with me past the door of our foe for an initial sizing up of what lies before us, and to say hi to Cathy the assistant manager, who’s kind of nice so we’ll let her slide when we take hostages in phase four of the spring offensive. And don’t worry, we can be gone for fifteen minutes, no customers are going to come. Trust me.