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I entered the establishment off a crowded thoroughfare. The place was dark, only the occasional splash of illumination painting the stark white walls. The scent of teenage aftershave mingled freely through the sparse crowd.

Humor Noir - a first at the Comma

Music, blunt and pulsating, saturated the air like a rhythmic fog, filling every breath, every pore, with barometric waves of insistence.

Its beat was warm and relentless as it slowly worked its way down my spine, following the tangled trajectory of my nervous system.

Imperceptibly at first, I started to twitch and then to sway in an unsettling approximation of rhythm, every moment abandoning myself further to the sound’s harsh demands.

Soon I began to embrace my inner dancer, earnestly shaking what my mother had passed on to me. That’s when I heard it, the strident sound of reality calling from some distant area code.

“Dad! What are you doing?! This is a store. You’re supposed to buy things here.”

Chastened, yet still not free of the music’s hypnotic grasp I stumbled toward the exit, pausing to check a few price tags as a cover for my retreat. I had to squint to make out the numbers in the darkness, but eventually discerned their message. Sticker shock did more than any number of offended offspring to restore me from my senses and propel me to the safety of the waiting mall.

Later, despite the urging of my immediate family, my lawyers assured me that a formal apology would not be required. Nonetheless I have decided to issue the following statement:

“Owners, manager, and employees of Hollister, Inc, have no fear. No matter what the current economic uncertainty holds for you and your overpriced garments, if times get tough be assured that you can always fall back on the nightclub trade.”

-Happy Tuesday.

—— will be happy to take you to the mall. will even buy you an Orange Julius.