The food court was a complete disaster. Abandoned meals were everywhere on the tables and the air was smoky with the smell of charred food. The worst seemed to be coming from Steak Burgers of America. Panda went behind the counter and shut down the grill. The blackened remains of a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich had been reduced to charcoal but the smell was tremendous. As she went around shutting down the grills and ovens in the other restaurants in the circle, she realized that in just a day or two this place would reek of decay. It had never dawned on her before the sheer volume of garbage that humans created on a daily basis and just left for someone else to worry about.
She had eaten in malls and food courts hundreds of times in her life and never gave it a single thought. Those faceless attendants in smocks and hairnets always came through with their bus tubs and took it all away once she was finished. Now there was no one to do the clean up.
“You know if we ever want to be able to stand being inside this mall in the future, we need to clean up some of this food” she called to Dell who was across the court at the Sushi-San, dispensing herself a giant Pepsi from their drink fountain. “We should at least try and bag some of this up and take it down to the dumpsters behind the mall.”
“It’s going to stink out there, too.” Dell replied. She was punching buttons on the cash register, ringing up a ‘no sale’ command to open the cash drawer.
“Yes, I guess so. But let’s at least get the smell to the OUTSIDE of the mall. Clean up this area and the other restaurants. I mean, I know we can’t clean up every single dining establishment in the city, but the places we want to come back to at least need to be sanitized.”
“Yes, I guess you are right.” answered Dell as the cash drawer went ‘ping’ and popped open. She took out all the cash, lifting the drawer to get at the 50’s and hundreds stashed underneath. “I just always wanted to do that.” She said. “Rob a cash register.”
Panda looked at the wad of cash and mused, “I just can’t believe somebody paid for Sushi-san food court food with a hundred dollar bill in this economy! What are you going to do with the cash?”
Dell hadn’t really thought about it. Money was utterly obsolete and yet she still felt the need for it. “I guess I will swing by the bank and deposit it at the ATM.”
Panda nodded. “You know that’s not a bad idea. I was thinking about paying my cell phone bill online to see if that would keep the cell service up and running. I need money in the bank in order to use my debit card.”
“Oooh! And then I can sign up for Netflix online and do all kinds of online shopping!”
“Right Dell,” said Panda dripping with sarcasm, “and then the post-apocalyptic fairies will deliver all the stuff you bought from the warehouse straight to your door!”
Dell’s face fell. “I hadn’t really thought that out, I guess.”
“But the Netflix subscription is a GREAT Idea” placated Panda. “We can watch some of those documentaries about what happens after the world ends.”
“OMG, Panda!” laughed Dell. “I was thinking comedies and chick flicks.”