The Quintessential “Sorry, Oprah” Puff Piece

Marvel at the spectacle, this great memorial o’ mine, tall and basks in the center of a concrete slab in the parking lot. Threw in a plaque and a few benches while I was at it. I’m an expert in optics; they say us people at the top don’t know how the quote unquote little man lives his life. I may not know the price of a gallon of milk, but I do know that when people die, you gotta make somethin’ flashy of it. I’m no reluctant spectator; no, I didn’t wallow in the aisle with this one.

I should take over American crisis response management, I was so quick with the delivery. The second we got that security camera feed into my office, I was on the jet; never taken this route before. God, this town is sand. Who would’ve thunk. Across from a Hooters, the Sam’s Club might’ve been hit; more panic at the mall next door? Bad, very bad. This isn’t Walmart’s fault; I made that clear in the press release.

How do you calm an aching public down? Hadn’t had much experience before, but it went swimmingly. We didn’t field any questions; we needed time to plan. Sure, I’ll work out of this town for the next few months. Sure, I’ll settle for four stars. I know you can’t always get a Benz to chauffeur; resources are limited in this town of hot barbarism. Kidding, of course; I know they use butterfly knives instead of clubs these days.

In exile, I crafted my masterpiece. This Walmart was just too profitable to give up; what can I say? I run a business here, not an empty sack of sorries. You can make clay out of any crime; you just need wet mud and a mind for framing structures. Thank God for memorial architects, a profession I didn’t know existed until I needed one. Always celebrate those hidden shadow sources; I’ll never be Warren Buffett, but I know a thing or two about business. Buy my book.

Got the guy from Sandy Hook; I work my connections. They like candles here, he says, something about church something about the flame means souls go to rest. Sure, sounds good. Decent bulk pricing on sheet metal, doesn’t have to be top-of-the-line. A few months under construction, strict deadline to minimize profit loss, gives us time to scrub the pavement of blood and give the inner tile a new sheen. Yeah, yeah, yeah, free crisis therapy for everyone. Just make sure they come back.

Call the news; we couldn’t work in quiet. Let the people know we care, that we’re listening. What to do with the other stores? Private, unarmed security. I don’t think it’s a proper deterrent, but people feel safer. Hire ten guys from Craigslist, nine dollars an hour, they’ll be thankful. We’ll take ‘em away once the memorial goes up.

The whole thing went smooth as our dollar margarine. Press releases, news coverage, my big speech. I wrote this one myself; thank God for that public speaking class back at Princeton. If you can sashay mediocre in front of a bunch of prissy intellectuals, imagine a crowd of minimum wage workers? Throw in a few MLK quotes, attempt to shed a tear, nobody thinks that I’m a reptile. You can’t put a price tag on tragedy mitigation; the public always fills in the blanks.

I won’t be visited by spirits, just the echoes of a damaged nationality. Not one person can heal that; I’m not a mind-reader. I make business work for the people who work it. How else is a community to recover? We must renew our business, take a stand, lest we let the shooter win. Who’s gonna question that? Reopening this store became an act of defiance, the universe’s final strike of inspired penmanship. We were at the forefront of the gun debate, our name mentioned as often as the AR-15. Our store was on every news channel. Every eye in the country glued to the reforming of our brand.

Some poetry writes itself.