Before We Took Her Off Life Support – Comfort #3421ABC

Posted on April 19, 2010


In the final days, people sat in the plaza and argued. There were those who wanted to pull her off life support, all one million square feet, and they were close to having their way.

The murals revolted. How could people want to destroy the walls upon which they called home? The murals would wait their on those walls, in protest, for twenty or thirty or a hundred years. Until they became bored and finally left, or until the ceiling came down upon them.

The neighboring sky scrappers bent down and looked inside at their failing neighbor. “Are you feeling okay?” they would ask. “Do you need some Tylenol?  Can you hear us?”

The doctors and nurses were soon called for consultation, but the news was not good.

“We have some paper work we need you to sign,” they said to the people.

The few dwellers remaining began to panic and evacuate. “Watch out,” they exclaimed. A great creak could be heard, a nearly final last gasp. “They’re going to take her off life support,” they cried.

Inside the empty chambers of the City Center’s anatomy echoes of scuffling feet and anxiety could be heard.

Even the veins that once transported people (and their crucial commerce) up and down, up and down, up and down were beginning to slow and harden and make the sound of rust against bearings.

And yet they continued to churn and move, and would until the last bit of life support was torn free from her.

In the last few moments of cognitive thought, a few rays of sunlight reflected off the City Center’s brain. While the doctor’s thought this might be a promising sign, it was not. Instead, it only created a sort of magical performance for which there was no audience.

And the people stood in the plaza arguing over the demise of the City Center. They signed the last of the papers with sorrow in their eyes and shaky hands. All of their signatures looked nothing like signatures but rather messy worms.

But they were strong and did not cry.

They did not cry even once.

As the Center’s vitals began to fade, those who waited too long were decimated. The reanimators would later find their remains in piles and purchase them from the city at a very reasonable cost.

The papers were in order and the doctors and nurses removed the last of the life support systems.

In the empty shell of a once thriving creature, a single phone rang. And it would keep ringing until the wrecking ball came and picked up and said, “Hello, I hear you’ve been waiting for me.”

(Pictures of the former City Center in Columbus, Ohio. One million square feet of downtown retail torn down due to poor public policy aimed at promoting sprawl. 2009-2010)