EJ Ferris here. If you'd asked me five years ago where I'd be today, I'd have told you I'd be a first lieutenant or captain by now, and working with the Office of Special Investigations, the Air Force's version of NCIS. I was on the verge of going to Officer Training School when the IED changed all my plans by shredding my knee and lower leg.
Now, I'm a mall security officer at the Fernglen Galleria in Vernonville, Virginia, and I suppose I should be grateful for employment of any kind in the current economy, but I must admit I'd rather be a "real" cop. I'm applying to police departments across the state, but I've been turned down by eighteen so far because my leg disqualifies me. This job isn't a lot like patrolling the streets of Kabul. Helping folks find their cars in the parking lot, or discouraging teens from skateboarding on the escalators isn't exactly high-adrenaline work. Even coping with my boss, Captain Woskowicz, a sexist, steroid-abusing dinosaur, doesn't add much edge to my day. My Grandpa Atherton, a retired CIA operative who likes to "keep his hand in" by trying out spy gadgets at the mall, gives me more trouble than shoplifters and vandals combined.
That is, until the day someone liberates all the reptiles from the Herpetology Hut (which we affectionally call the Herpes Hut), including a 15-ft python named Agatha. That same day, a woman's scream brings me to a boutique window where someone left a man's dead body displayed like a mannequin. That ups the adrenaline factor, I can tell you. My training kicks in and I start investigating until Detective Anders Helland puts the kibosh on that. He clearly doesn't think a mere "mall cop" knows anything at all about investigating a murder.
Well, I set out to show him (and to convince the police department that my having a bum leg doesn't mean I can't detect my way out of a paper bag). On the way, my Grandpa A gets hurt, my roller-derbying best friend Kyra and I have a falling out, and another couple of bodies turn up. Maybe being a mall cop isn't as dreary as I thought . . .
Thanks to EJ for being here today. Learn more about DIE BUYING at http://lauradisilverio.com/ and/or "like" Laura and EJ on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LauraDiSilverio
Since we're on the topic of malls, what's the strangest or most interesting person or event you've ever seen in a mall?