The Shopping Mall Looker

Amy was clearly agitated.

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I had known her for several months and she was always cheerful and upbeat, but now something was wrong.

As the story emerged, it turned out that this had been a long time brewing situation. The shopping mall that she and her friends frequented had a looker.

They had only gradually become aware of him, and at first they thought he was just loitering and not doing anyone any harm. But he was always loitering around the same places—the bottom of a staircase.

And now two things had clicked for Amy. She realized that he was there specifically to try to get a glimpse up women’s dresses as they came down the staircases. And she was pretty sure she had seen the guy someplace else.

In fact, she was sure she had seen him at Channel Home Center, the store where I was working.

As she described him, I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, because the person she was describing was our manager Cort.

I was certain that there had to be some mistake. The behavior that she was describing just didn’t seem like something that Cort would do. But then—how well do we really know the people around us?

She described the times that the looker usually showed up, and I had to admit that it was at least possible.

So we formed a plan.

She would get together with her friends who had seen the looker, and they would all come to the Channel store at a time when both Cort and I would be there. If they all agreed that he was the looker, then we’d all confront him and see what he had to say.

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Probably not the best plan but there it was.

But it took several days for Amy to arrange for her friends to get together and converge on the store, and in the meantime one of them confronted the looker directly at the staircase in the mall. By confronted I mean she screamed at him that if she ever saw him again, she’d call the cops.

That solved the problem, as he was never seen at that mall again.

But to this day I have no idea whether Cort was the looker or a victim of mistaken identity. I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt.

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