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Case #2011-1224-5003: Relevant Transcripts


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Transcripts begin.State your name and occupation for the record, please.Jason Reed. I’m working part-time as a security guard at Westbridge Mall, you know, for the holidays and all that.And you were on duty at the time of the incident?Yes, that’s right. I always work Friday afternoons. Well, I always work afternoons. So I guess that includes Friday.Where were you at the time the incident took place?Down in the main sort of atrium area. It’s kind of the hub for everything, I mean if you’re passing through from one wing to another you’re going to pass through there. And that’s where we had Santa set up this year – I think we had three, maybe four guys playing the role since it was supposed to be all day every day ‘till Christmas, you know, and I guess that suit is actually really hot and nobody wanted there to be twelve-hour shifts for one guy ‘cause then Santa’d be like, dead by the time the kids got to him. I mean not literally dead. But zoned out, you know, I mean – anyways, like I said, three, four guys.Did you notice anything unusual immediately prior to the incident?No, nothing, I mean, that's – it was Christmas Eve at the mall, you know, there could have been a Santa with an electric guitar and I wouldn't have – it wouldn't have given me pause, you know? But I guess looking back there was a guy in a Santa suit going upstairs with a big bag, all bulging and swung over his shoulder, and I guess it was sort of weird ‘cause like I said those things are supposed to be crazy hot and who the heck would wear it past their shift? – but I mean hindsight is 20/20 here. I probably just thought it was one of the guys getting ready for his shift or something – I mean like I said it could've been an electric guitar and I wouldn't have given it a second thought. I mean nobody gave anything a second thought.Were you familiar with the staff playing Santa?Nah, not really, I mean I saw them around sometimes but they never really came out of the costume near the public because – I mean that’d just be dumb, you know? Look kids, Santa is a thirty-five year-old dude who needs a little extra cash to buy those Marlboros in his back pocket! Sorry, didn’t mean to sound disrespectful or anything. Just sort of a funny image, you know? But anyways I was always out in the crowd, I mean that’s what a security guard does, so like I said I didn’t really know the guys in the suits.When did you become aware that something unusual was occurring?I think it was a kid or something – you know how kids are, always looking for something to poke at. I mean I know how kids are, I’m a mall cop over Christmas, for crying out loud, and they poke. Had one try to grab my taser once – sorry, got sidetracked. Anyways, yeah, some kid in the crowd just yelled “What’s that?” really loud and honestly I didn’t want to look at first because I kid you not I’ve had kids do the old “look over there” but then I heard the pop and the kids started screaming and I looked and I just thought oh my job just got so much worse.Did you take any immediate action?Man, what immediate action was there to take? I mean it was out there, boom, nobody saw it coming. Talk about your memorable Santa visits – the kid right by him got covered in the stuff. But I mean there was another and another and then people were just all over the place, pushing each other out of the way and everything and I mean I saw a few kids even just jumping up and down because they didn’t know what to do. I was a rent-a-cop and it was like the climax to some messed up movie. I was lucky I didn’t get trampled. My radio was going nuts, you know, all the other guys asking if anyone knew what the [redacted] was going on and I just radioed back and said “you’re not gonna believe this” and then Ryan called me a pissant for not just coming out and telling him what was happening so I did and then a second later he called me full of it and hung up. Nice guy.State your name and occupation for the record, please.Mike Provost, general manager of Westbridge Mall.Were you working at the time of the incident?I’m the manager, it was Christmas Eve, yeah, I was working. Guy like me doesn’t get a whole lot of vacation days, especially when other people do.Where were you at the time the incident took place?Up in my office, as always. Looks over the atrium, it’s got a nice big plate window so I can see what’s going on. It’s actually soothing in a funny sort of way; you see everyone running to and fro with their bags and you just think “god I’m glad I’m not down there”. And it lets me see if anything goes down, which ninety-nine times out of a hundred is some punk kid getting himself busted by security. ‘Course, today was the hundred.Did you notice anything unusual immediately prior to the incident?Like what? It’s my job to look at papers, not play Where’s Waldo with nutjobs. ‘Sides, it was Christmas Eve. When I wasn’t busy trying to figure out who’s nicking the cash from the safe lately or the decorations from the stores I was dealing with Mama my-kid-is-so-precious and her [redacted]ing about the music being too loud. Can you believe that [redacted]? It’s the mall on Christmas Eve! What’d you expect? You want peace and quiet, take little Sally-precious-sparkle-princess to the library or something. Who even takes their kid to the mall with them when they’re Christmas shopping? Isn’t it the [redacted] point that they don’t know what they’re getting? [Redacted]. No, nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual Christmas crazies. Though I guess we got an unusual Christmas crazy, huh.Were there any managerial decisions that could have incited the incident?Not that I can think of. But then again I’m not a basket case. Maybe someone wasn’t happy that we put Santa on the left side of the atrium this year instead of the right. Maybe someone didn’t like our Christmas decorations. It ain’t about money, if that’s what you’re asking. We pay pretty well, all things considered, and unlike just about every other retailer in the past few years we haven’t cut salaries. Don’t mind telling you that we could, and probably should, but we didn’t. Though after all the cleanup we're gonna have to do it’s looking mighty tempting. Never mind the PR we have to deal with. No spinning something like this as a holiday treat we had up our sleeves.When did you become aware that something unusual was occurring?My secretary Sally was dropping off some papers for me, letting me know we had a disgruntled customer or two, the usual [redacted] when all of a sudden I hear something weird from outside, kind of like a pop, and I don’t really care until she stops talking and just starts staring, that big mouth of hers open wide enough to drive a truck through, and I turn around. And when I realized what was going on my first thought was just, Aw, [redacted]. Second thought was, aw [redacted], we’re going to have a [redacted] stampede. Nobody wants a stampede in a mall. People get killed during stampedes, and let me tell you everyone who’s ever worked in retail hates their customers, but nobody wants them dead. So I get on the radio with security – not that they hadn’t already noticed – and tell everyone to get their [redacted] down there and into the crowd. Sally’s already calling the police, she ain’t the brightest bulb in the drawer but she knows enough not to panic, but even still I tell a few of the security guys to get upstairs and find the SOB who did this. ‘Course they didn’t, just an empty Santa sack and costume. You guys dust that for prints or anything yet? ‘Cause I’m going to make sure the [redacted] who thought my mall was a good place to go crazy is getting the full sentence. How long is that for this sort of thing, anyways?State your name and occupation for the record, please.Max Teller, Santa Claus by day, accountant by night. Not glamorous, I know.You were working as Santa at the time of the incident?Well, I wasn’t Santa right when it happened. I mean, he’s still in the hospital and all. But yeah, I had the evening shift that day after Rob finished up, so I was there when the whole mess happened. I was due on in a half-hour.Where were you at the time the incident took place?Back in one of the employees-only areas, looking for my costume. Like I said, I was due on in a half-hour, so I was getting ready when it happened. Or at least I would’ve been getting ready if I could’ve found the darn thing.Your costume was missing?Yeah, exactly. I got back there and it was nowhere, I mean nowhere. I tried asking around, I thought maybe it was being washed or something, but nobody had any idea where it’d gone. Security didn’t seem to know either. So I was thinking I was pretty screwed, and then, I heard it, you know – bang bang bang.Is it possible your suit was used by the perpetrator?Definitely. I definitely think that’s what happened. I mean it adds up, right? Some guy got back there, grabbed my costume, and sashayed off to do his noble work. Lucky for him I wasn’t running early, I guess, because I’d have recognized my suit – it’s got a tear on the back that’s all stitched up with green string. Pretty noticeable, really, but the kids never see it because of the big throne we sit on while we’re talking to them. There was one kid who saw a bit of string and tried pulling on it once though. He’s getting coal.Did anyone see you getting ready?Huh? Yeah, like I said, I talked to a couple of the security guys – oh man, you don’t think it was me, do you? Come on, I’m a freelance accountant who plays Santa. Why on Earth would I do something like this? But, uh, yeah, couple of security guys talked to me and a few janitors and all that – uh, let’s see, Jake Gaston I think’s his name, he was cleaning up back there, uh, Lance something-or-other- Lance Casters, that’s it. He was security for the area, though he was on his way out and on his radio when I bumped into him, so I dunno if he’d really remember me. Are there security cameras back there, do you know? I’d definitely be on those, I was all over the place looking for my costume. Hey, maybe the guy’s on there too!When did you become aware that something unusual was occurring?Well, like I said, I was thinking I was pretty screwed, then I hear these bangs, and I don’t pay it that much heed because I’m busy thinking I’m screwed. And then I hear yelling and stuff from outside so I stick my head out and bam, what a scene. People were going nuts – with good reason, I mean, who wouldn’t in that situation. It was sort of tempting to go out there, but I didn’t want any trouble, so I just kind of closed the door and waited for things to blow over. Then I went back to looking for my suit in case they decided to have me go out anyways. I mean, it was Christmas Eve, after all, and I’ve seen management try to do the whole “carry on” thing in worse situations. In the end though I got the call that they were cancelling Santa for the rest of the night in light of what had happened – which was good, because I still hadn’t found my suit. Did you guys find the one the guy was using? Because like I said it’s pretty recognizable. I could ID it if you needed.State your name and occupation for the record, please.Janice Waters. I guess unemployed, but, I mean, stay-at-home-mom, tell me that’s not a job.Why were you at the mall at the time of the incident?I know you guys need to go through procedure and all, but seriously? I was there with my son Brian, he wanted to see Santa. And I was going to do some last-minute shopping when we were done with that, for my husband – he was at work, you know. Maybe grab something for Brian, too, he’s young enough that it’s not exactly hard to sneak something extra into dad’s gifts without him noticing.Where exactly were you at the time of the incident?Come on guys, you know this already – sorry, sorry. It’s a pet peeve of mine, people asking questions they already know the answer to. I was with Brian, right up by the guy playing Santa. We’d been in line for half an hour, and I swear he was vibrating with excitement by the time he got there. I was standing pretty close by in case he asked Santa for anything he hadn’t told me about – he did that last year, and I had to do the hundred-yard dash to get to the bookstore before it closed. That’s why we went in the afternoon this year.Did you notice anything unusual prior to the incident?Are you kidding me? I’m a mom with a hyperactive kid on Christmas Eve in the mall. It’s like, unless a T-Rex is smashing through the wall, I’m not even going to look. And even then that’s iffy – what direction is the T-Rex headed? I did notice the guy playing Santa was looking pretty tired- must’ve been near the end of his shift or something, since they’d stopped taking kids a little while after we got in line. Gotta give the guy credit, he was giving it his all. If I was playing Santa I’d get pretty sick of belly laughs after an hour or two.Did you see any other mall employees nearby?Well, there was an elf – I bet that guy’s job sucks more than Santa’s, really. At least Santa gets respect. Everyone hates the elf. I mean, it’s like, “Elf job description: Santa’s [redacted]”. He was looking pretty bored. But nah, I didn’t see much. There was a security guy giving the crowd the once over when we got in line, but I didn’t really see him later. Like I said though, most of the time I was busy talking with Brian. Great kid, really, but like every other 6-year-old he’s like a little energy vampire. You get more and more tired and he just gets louder and louder. What? Don’t look at me like that, I’m the oldest of seven. My mother taught me the truths of motherhood well, chief among them that you can love your kid with all your heart and that won’t stop them from making you want to jump out a window.Talk us through the incident.Well, like I said I was standing pretty close by. Brian was up on Santa’s lap, listing off what he wanted for Christmas – no surprises, mercifully enough – and then the elf helped him off. But there was this toy train set up near Santa, so Brian scampered over to that instead of just leaving – shock, shock – and before I could tell him to stop dawdling, I heard these bangs. And then I looked and it took me a few seconds to process what was happening. By the time I did Brian was covered in the stuff, not that he understood it at all. I think he was still more concerned with the toy train. Anyways, Santa’s elf yelled something that would’ve gotten him soap in the mouth in my house, and then everyone was scrambling. Brian seemed to realize what was going on now and he was grinning head to toe – he was just looking around and basking in the scene, you know? Looked like a lot of kids were. I grabbed him and started hauling [redacted] out of there because I knew things were just going to get messier. He was actually kind of upset at that, he wanted to go back, but let me tell you there wasn’t anything there but. I feel sorry for the guy playing Santa, I really do, I don’t know if he’d done anything to get wrapped up in the middle of this but he sure didn’t seem happy about it.It’s funny, though. Once we got a little ways away and the hubbub had died down it was actually sort of nice. Made for a memorable Christmas Eve, you know? I’m not condoning the guy who did it, and I’m especially not condoning how he did it, but I think it was a nice gesture, in the end. Like I get what he was trying to do.So, uh, you guys have any leads or anything?We’re going to have to ask you a few more questions.Yeah, shoot.Were there any additional problems at the mall in the days leading up to the incident?Like what?Were you aware that several stores had reported theft from their registers the day before the incident?Well, sure. I mean I am on the security team, who didn’t know about it? Bossman was up in arms, swearing to high heaven that he’d turn whoever was behind it into filets. Nice guy.And why hadn’t any leads on this been established?Word was that we’d been having issues with the security cameras. Nobody really wanted to say how widespread it was, ‘cause, you know, Mr. P would’ve gone ballistic. You know how they say “don’t shoot the messenger?” Bossman’s not a big believer in that.Were you aware that decorations and party supplies had been stolen from the mall’s stores prior to the incident?Yeah, I heard a few murmurs here and there. My guess? Cleaning crew wanted something to show off at home.The cleaning crew?Yeah, man, they’ve got access to the whole freakin’ mall. Wouldn’t be hard for them, especially if they’d heard the cameras were down.According to Mr. Ryan Cortez, you have been known to vanish for periods of time during your working hours.Ryan said that? I didn’t think he cared. Don’t know what he’s talking about – I’ll hit up the restroom from time to time, but hey, that’s no crime. And before you ask, no, I don’t have a corroborating witness for taking a leak.Did you take such a break on the day of the incident?Are you implying something?Please answer the question.I don’t really remember, you know? It was busy enough as it was. ‘Sides, I don’t exactly keep a log of when I take a whiz.According to Mr. Mike Provost, you were assigned to atrium security on the day of the incident.Yes I was. We had this conversation.As part of that assignment, you had access to employee-only areas adjacent to the atrium, is that correct?Suppose it is.And as part of that assignment, you were to work with Mr. Lance Casters, is that correct?Suppose it is.Mr. Casters stated he was having trouble locating you during your shift that day.Lance probably just missed me, you know? It was crowded like nobody’s business – I was moving around a lot. ‘Sides, I radioed him once or twice.Last week you were assigned to security on the upper floors, is that correct?Sure is. Normal guy was out sick, so they picked one of us part-timers to keep an eye on the offices and stuff. Nice change of pace, you know? Less screaming kids, more water coolers and chairs.The upper floors have maintenance areas looking out over the atrium, is that correct?So I hear. Haven’t been there myself. You guys seem kind of serious, you going somewhere with all this?Mr. Reed, what was your occupation prior to taking your current position at Westridge Mall?I don’t really see – how is that relevant?Please answer the question.I was an electrician. But that was like a year ago.You were let go?Recession, you know? Everyone has to tighten their belts. Or their employees’. Merry Christmas!Mr. Reed, we believe that on the day of the incident –Can I stop you right there?I’m sorry?Let me take a guess where this is going. You can write this down if you want, it’ll save you time later: “A few days prior to the accident, Mr. Reed sabotaged the camera system of Westridge Mall. Using his knowledge of security layouts and the absence of cameras, he perpetuated several thefts against both retailers and mall administration, taking a significant amount of cash, silver streamers, snowflakes, and balloons. On December 24th, he abandoned his post and entered the employees-only area of Westridge Mall, whereupon he located and absconded with” – sorry, is that too informal, absconded with? – “stole” – that’s better – “a Santa Claus costume meant for use in the mall’s ‘Meet Santa’ promotion. Mr. Reed then donned the suit and, the stolen goods in tow, accessed the upper floors of Westridge Mall, in particular the areas used by maintenance which provided access to the mall atrium from several floors up. Mr. Reed then filled several smaller bags with cash and decorations, attached them to balloons, and floated them across the roof of the atrium. Upon the balloons reaching the area above Santa Claus, Mr. Reed popped the balloons, possibly by way of a firearm, with the intent of causing chaos” – sorry, chaos too informal? – “in the atrium below. He then disposed of the Santa costume, left the empty bag near his vantage point, and radioed in to create the appearance that he had been in the atrium at the time. He then rejoined security to help look for the ‘intruder’.” That sound good to you all?Is that a confess-Ain’t done yet. Here’s another way you could put this: “Once upon a time, there was a guy. He wasn’t really special or smart, but he was pretty happy. He had a good job, and every year at Christmas he took pride in what little he had. One year, though, his boss decided to let him go to save money. The guy was sad, but what could he do? He still took pride in what little he had, even though times were tough. Then, a year later, the guy saw something horrible. Something awful and tragic. He saw the other Christmas – the Christmas people like his boss celebrated. He saw thousands of people, desperate to spend, spend, spend, and he became very sad indeed. So he decided he would play Santa this year, because when he looked, the only people who seemed happy there were the ones who went to see Santa. So one day, Santa snuck up to the roof, and brought out his bag of presents. Santa knew a lot of the people who were spending were spending because they felt they had to, because they had kids or girlfriends or parents they wanted to make happy. So Santa decided he’d give out two kinds of presents: money, because Santa’d been around long enough to know that’s what those people’d want, and simple, happy things like snowflakes and tassels, because Santa wanted to see if anyone would be happy with those. So Santa tied his presents to his special balloons, and then flew one of his little helpers via the magic of RC and popped them right over the other Santa, the one who ran this sort of Christmas. And then Santa watched, and Santa smiled, because down by the other Santa, who was busy fighting over a $50 bill with his elf and who would eventually take a haymaker to the nose, the kids were all scooping up the snowflakes and tinsel and dancing and laughing. And then Santa flew away back to the North Pole.”I think I like that one better, how ‘bout you?Again, is that a confess-Sorry, forgot one more story. It’s called, “Santa Claus and the Circumstantial Evidence.” Because, really, have you ever known Santa to leave behind decisive proof he was there? I mean, it could be your parents who dropped off the presents. You never know. And besides, I bet Santa knows some awesome attorneys.So, are we done here? Yes? Great. Merry Christmas, officers.Case #2011-1224-5003 is currently closed pending further investigation. For additional information, please contact...

Edited by GSR

Hey: I'm not very active around BZP right now.  However, you can always contact me through PM (I have email notifications set up) and I will reply as soon as I can.

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  • 1 year later...

That was really great. I have a few problems with style but I very much enjoyed the story itself. And I loved the way in which you told it; that was refreshingly different.It was almost a mystery, almost a whodunit, if not quite. It was a clever touch, keeping the exact description of this cataclysmic event untold until the end, adding that much more to the interest of the unveiling. At this length, really, mysteries don't get much better. Very well done.My great grievance, however, was the exaggerated dialogue. Not one of the interviewees could go two sentences without spitting out some expression or figure of speech. The dialogue was drowning in excessive character and personality. It had the effect that the police were interpellating Sancho Panza clones.On a similar note, there are laws of grammar that dictate speech as much as writing; and you followed precious few of them. Besides the insipidity of excessive colloquial phraseology, this was what bothered me most, and together both made the dialogue actually rather difficult to read. And considering that this narrative consists entirely of dialogue, that's not good.There were too many errors to note them all, but here were two that jumped out at me as singular:

. . . it was supposed to be all day every day ‘till Christmas . . .


Till is a word, 'til is the shortened form of until; but an apostrophe and a second L just becomes redundant.


was actually kind of upset at that, he wanted to go back, but let me tell you there wasn’t anything there but.


Missing a word there. [Redacted] was my guess. You seemed fond of that, which personally I appreciate, because it adds humor without adding repulsive scurrility.


I know you did a good job, and you know you did a good job; but to state the obvious, good job! Thanks be to the SSCC for choosing this story to be reviewed,


Keep writing,

Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:

When I know I can't live without a pen and paper, when I know writing is as necessary to me as breathing . . .


I know I am ready to start my voyage.

A Musing Author . . . Want to read my books?

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