Missed opportunity?

Eastwood Mall(JM) Despite the closing earlier this fall of the mall's interior, the Eastwood Mall Santa has vowed to keep his regular hours at the "North Pole outpost" outside the former "Topkapi" store. Arriving last Wednesday evening by helicopter, he waved to a smattering of curious onlookers outside the Party City store before twitching his nose and disappearing down the vacant mall's lone chimney. He hasn't heard any wish lists yet, but he did have a chance to exchange small talk with several elderly mall-walkers who use the branch library entrance. He has also enjoyed the occasional Cinammon-mint Chillatte™ from Joe Mugg's inside Books-a-Million.

Some may suppose that Santa would be too busy to spend his days in a musty vacant mall -- especially in December. "Ho Ho Ho," bellowed the Eastwood Mall Santa, "I bet the REAL Santa is very busy indeed! But ever since the first malls, like this one, opened in the late 1950's each one has been granted its own genuine Santa Claus to compile wish lists and gather whispered intelligence about naughty siblings. I've been coming to this mall every year since Bill Bolen cut the ribbon." The death of a mall is always painful for its assigned Santa, of course. "Oh sure, I knew it was coming," said the jolly old elf, "Ever since Pizitz moved across [Crestwood Boulevard] things haven't been the same. But I'll be here until the wrecking ball comes and they start making way for that god-forsaken Wal-Mart."