January 6, 1997
Scattered snowflakes drift in the morning air like ash as a four-beater, late-80smodel Buick LeSabre pulls into the parking lot outside of Westfield Mall in Indianapolis,Indiana. Leaving fresh tire tracks in the light snow dust sprinkled on the asphalt, the car
cuts through the expansive lot, on a direct path towards the mall‟s entrance. This early in
the morning, a full thirty minutes before the mall opens, the LeSabre is the only sign of life outside the mall--there are no other cars anywhere to be seen, no pedestrianswandering about, no shoppers waiting outside the entrance for the mall to open.The car pulls nose-in into one of the empty vertical parking spaces that align theedge of the mall and idles in the spot for a few seconds, brake lights illuminated, tailpipespewing plumes of foggy exhaust. The brake lights go dead and the exhaust cloud slowly
dissolves as the car is turned off. A man emerges from the car, slamming the driver‟s
side door shut behind him. Bundled up in a heavy parka with a fur-lined hood pulled
over his head, he trudges up to the mall‟s entrance and enters through a revol
Directly inside the mall‟s entrance, Westfield Mall‟s night security guard sits on a
metal folding chair. Scrolling through the contacts on his silver Nokia flip phone withone hand, he gives a disinterested look up when he hears the revolving door rotating onits hinges. His face widens into a grin upon seeing the man in the parka.
“Look at what the cat dragged in,” he says, flipping his phone shut and walkingover. He‟s a younger guy
--blonde-tipped hair spiked with gel, earrings in both ears,
looking like someone straight out of N‟Sync or Backstreet Boys or one of the other hundreds of boy bands dominating the current music charts. “Mike Mayberry. The manof the hour.”
The security guard reaches Mike and extends an open palm to him. Mike looks at
the palm, then looks back up to the security guard‟s face. He tentatively slaps the open
palm. The greeting looks about as awkward as one would expect a high five between athirty-seven year old man and someone half his age to look.
we go,” the young guard says, still smiling. “So today‟s the big day,huh?”
“Yeah,” Mike says, unzipping his parka, shaking free of his hood. “Today‟s the big day, all right.”
“Damn. You feeling nervous?”
Mike looks at him.
“Sad?” He thinks about it for a moment. “Yeah. Of course I‟m sad.”
The guard nods once, a quick bob of the head. He opens his mouth to saysomething but is interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone. He looks at the number displayed on the phone, then looks back at Mike.
“Shit, I gotta take this,” he says. “But good luck today. I hope it goes well.”