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The Mall We Called Commas by A.E. Weisgerber | flash fiction | #thesideshow

April 13, 2017
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Dear god, Since money got wings, every day I molt a bit. Every day, I die.

Notes: When John Sales pushed on its ingenious back, when the mall was on the anesthesia table, all was perfect. Cones telescoped outward, via kinetic cardstock skin. The South American client put hand over heart, nicknamed it Cola Dome. Engineering winked. Though cones, domes, sloping gardens, and straight, random, scientific observations seemed of great significance, truth (miles ahead in distant ledgers), ripened quickly as shovels blistered with spray-gold.



Dear god, A paper blew into my nose today. It said: Can cosmetic surgery help you? Try a new nose today! Try a new face today! Use this coupon!

Notes: A good day for Sales is a lung full of diesel. The Mall’s belly is soft and broad, like a flautist’s. The air sac powering its Dome is quite ingenious; the skin, pliant and supple. The cones shimmer for a moment at peak inflation, sag a smidge. Engineers address the sagging; money spooks when trusses groan. Creaks bring to mind collapsing canvas, white-eyed elephants, slobbering flames.



Dear god, I wish I were human. I would like to be loved and say: Look Linda! I just bought a new seamless support bra that’s so beautiful! Don’t you love these pretty details! And these smooth, seamless cups! Plus, this secret support design for real support!

Notes: Zoning regulations have resulted in its exaggerated length. Despite deformity, for two hours of the day, nobody thinks of the marvel of natural materials and intentional colors; Sales says the only desire is a look at the pyramids, which activate twice a day. Sales demurs they are not so much like singing statuary at Caesar’s Palace so much as finicky Big Bens. BONG. BONG. Tourists, lured inside the Mall’s domed IMAX theatres, cannot resist. Everyone enjoys the wings at Hooters.



Dear god, Rusty wants to be Coco; Coco wants to be Cherry. It’s so easy to be somebody else with Harmony Hair Color. Just one wash in and six washes out! I can’t even.

Notes: For the ribbon-cutting ceremony, motors pulled out the Mall’s hair. This tightened up Investor’s slacks via miles of nervy-nervy fiber-turvy. In silken, artisanal fistfuls, the hair extrudes with a constant tension. After the IMAX film, the audience can zip-line these wires to the food court with its Cinabumble Chowders, its PandaBrand Ramen Robots, all its income streams and toilets.



Dear god, Today there was an earthquake. The Investor had sent tremors in advance. I felt myself go weak in the knees… I seem not to be in command… “Take it off, baby,” they tell me. I do.

Notes: After a bad holiday, Marketing plays with a copy of the Mall in the design lab, on the fracture table. Strapped down, money is being redistributed. Proof: the shrinking of the Mall’s flautist’s waist provides new heft to its gymnast’s bottom. Air sacs are rerouted and repositioned, and note how its second story lifts off the table. The general contractor eschews hydraulics, preferring old-fashioned screw jacks. The gap redistributes cooler air behind ramps, like sugar ants.



Dear god, I’m a wreck. I am my own day maid, and my own night maid; I’m working against myself.

Notes: We seem to have an inner ear problem needing attending.  I only pay out every third invoice or complaint. There is some elevational settling, owing to non-spec building materials. Someone wants to use refurbished Maersk shipping container for kiosks. I think it is Sales’s assistant who says this. He fashioned a model of it all in wood. Christened Xanadu, it will now be a shopping mall named Commas. The new team desires equal ostentation, desires therefore equal poison.



Dear god: Here’s all you need to know about Commas: Put your shine down lemon good. Bring new luster to the wood. You know the way to make wood glow? Add protection as you go.

Notes: The cleanup architect is a Spoto-swilling Hitchcock fan. He says all buildings should be ice above and fire below. Tin knockers, HVAC men, set to work on temperature zones.   Despite device confiscations and non-disclosures, loose-lipped pictures are taken inside, revealing an indoor ski slope in the Mall’s dome. This is why the vision diminished. The domes, now permanently engaged, cause walls holding those many square feet of extra sexy to bow, sag, bend. The general contractor, his assistant, and the tin knockers imagine how to fix it. They have complex thoughts about architecture. Commas is very expensive, and there are wallets and saucers covered in moldy green under its foundation that remain unplumbed. Less may be more, but insurance claims are filed, more or less.


“Gertrude Stein said commas were unnecessary, the sense should be intrinsic and not have to be explained by commas and otherwise commas were only a sign that one should pause and take breath but one should know of oneself when one wanted to pause and take breath. However, as she liked Haweis very much and he had given her a delightful painting for a fan, she gave him two commas. It must however be added that on re-reading the manuscript, she took the commas out.”

About The Author:

A.E. Weisgerber’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the Pushcart Prize. Recent fiction appearing in SmokeLong Quarterly, Structo Magazine, The Collapsar, DIAGRAM, and Gravel. Recent non-fiction in The Alaska Star, Alternating Current, The Review Review, and Change Seven. She reads for Wigleaf and Pithead Chapel, and is working on an illustrated storybook called “Lives of the Saints.” Follow her @aeweisgerber, or visit