#117

What happens when a computer malfunctions and traps 400 people in a small department store? There is only one food store in there. 

As the casual shoppers one by one realize that the exits to the department store are locked, they all get into a frenzy, running from one door to another, hoping that to try their luck, that that one door will open. Slowly, their hope dwindles and reality sets in. Not knowing how long they will be trapped in the store, some rush to the sandwich store to get their hands on several meaty sandwiches. Others hurry to the control center to see when and how the computer issue will be resolved. Then there are those who wait patiently for the doors to open once again, trusting that the store technicians will fix the malfunction.

One hour turns to two. The store manager informs the patrons every 15 minutes of the supposed progress, hoping to calm their nerves and frustration, even though the technicians have not found the problem. The technicians’ foreheads drip with sweat, scouring from top to bottom, inside and out of the computer to find the malfunction, and finally in the third hour, they find that a spark plug deep inside the computer had fried.

Outside, the patrons turn on each other. With no water to drink and babies crying, the shoppers start yelling at each other. Fights break out due to the outrage. Store security stops one fight on one floor and then rushes to another floor to stop another. All of the store’s staff were being yelled at left and right. Firemen were outside of the store, attempting to pry the gates and doors open with very little success.

When everyone no longer has anything in them to fight, the light from the shopping mall slowly appeared. The eery sound from the store gate emerges as the gate slowly rolls up. The patrons rush to the gate, screaming and pushing like a store opening for Black Friday shopping. After four hours, they finally meet the world again. The store technicians breathe a sigh of relief and lay on the floor resting. The store manager is given hugs of happiness and random kisses. Families are reunited. Fear no longer is with them.

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