Living in a Department Store...

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22 February 2006, 10:38 AM
too much
Living in a Department Store...
I know people asking about stories is annoying, but... This one has been floating around and in for some time and I can't pin it down. It's (or maybe there are more than one) about people who live in dept. stores, are rather chameleon-like or 'invisible'. I think a girl wanders in and falls asleep on a bed display and is taken in by them. Anyone know what it is/who wrote it? Thanks-
22 February 2006, 01:42 PM
Braling II
too much, This sounds like a "Twilight Zone" episode called "After Hours" (q.v.) but may be a short story too...
22 February 2006, 07:50 PM
I remember reading a short story like this as a kid, and it totally creeped me out. There was a whole group of people living in a department store who would come out of hiding at night, kind of an underground society. But occasionally one would just disappear and then a while later there would be a mannequin in the store that looked just like him/her. I think it was in one of my father's Alfred Hitchcock collections, but it was so long ago, my memory could be faulty.
23 February 2006, 01:56 AM
There are two books like this, "Secrets of the Shopping Mall" by Richard Peck, and "The Eyes in the Fishbowl" by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Here are descriptions of both from "Solved Mysteries" at the wonderful "Stump the Bookseller" site at Loganberry Books of which I keep urging people to avail themselves:

Secrets of the Shopping Mall
I remember this book vaguely. It is about how the mannequins in a department store are really abandoned children and teenagers. They come alive at night. I remember the book being vaguely spooky, but not a horror book. I would love to find it.
There are mannequins in Carol Ryrie Brink's The Bad Times of Irma Baumlein, but I think this is a different story.
M121 *and* R48: Richard Peck, Secrets of the Shopping Mall, 1979. I believe the solution to both M121 and R48 is Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Richard Peck (who also wrote the strikingly imaginative Ghosts I Have Been). In Shopping Mall, two eighth graders, Barnie and Teresa, hide from the King Kobra gang at Paradise Park and get locked in. Their adventures in the bedding, electronics and Junior Miss departments are thwarted when they are apprehended by what seems to be a cadre of glossy, fashion-conscious mannequins that come alive after closing time, led by the dictatorial Barbie (aka Madame Chairperson) and Ken (Blazer Boy). Memorable line: "I am an inmate of the Ratso Luv Charleen Junior High School."
A group of kids run away and hide/live in a shopping mall. I read this in the early 80's but could be older.

#R48--Runaways: Eyes in the Fishbowl, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, involves a boy running away to live in a department store, which I believe proves to be haunted. I think he's alone but other kids do figure in the story. Strange to say, a much more recent book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder is titled The Runaways.
I think this is Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Richard Peck. Two kids named Bernie and Theresa run away from bullies in their inner city neighborhood by taking a bus out to the suburbs and end up at Paradise Park Mall. They live in a department store and borrow clothing and eat food out of the deli counter and employee cafeteria. While sneaking around the department store, they meet a bunch of kids also living there who pretend to be store dummies and live a whole other underground life. They get caught in a battle between the store kids and a gang of kids from the outside.
M121 AND R48 SECRETS OF THE SHOPPING MALL by Ricahrd Peck, 1979 ~from a librarian
M121 & R48 both sound like Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Richard Peck. A boy and a girl run away from a terrible school & hide out in a department store. While there, they discover a group of runaway/abandoned kids who masquerade as maniquins during the day & hide out at night. They fight off a rival group of kids who live in the parking lot. Eventually, the original group decides that they would rather live in the world, and the hero & heroine get jobs at the department store and continue living there.
M121 mannequins abandoned children: This sounds like The Eyes in the Fishbowl by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, illustrated by Alton Raible, published New York, Atheneum 1968, 168 pages. The main character is a young boy fascinated by the very upscale dept store where his mother works. An older woman who lost her family in war (WWII?) in Europe is a friend of his, and has somehow opened the store at night to the ghosts? of children who died as war orphans or refugees. The title comes from an advertisement for a mink-lined fishbowl (luxury goods from the store) with the eyes of a refugee child showing through from a charitable appeal on the other side of the page.
Secrets of the Shopping Mall by Richard Peck. Audrey says this is the coolest. One of the best. Have read it like four times or so and am overdue for another read.
18 April 2006, 01:11 PM
too much
Maybe it was a Hitchcock story- that seems to strike a chord- but I don't know if it's in a book I have. (Too many [if there is such a thing] books in no particular order.) Thanks- Anybody else?
19 April 2006, 01:00 AM
Well, there is the "Twilight Zone" episode "The After Hours." Rod Serling rewrote quite a few of his original TZ episodes into short stories, so you might check the TZ short story collections for that one.

I see Braling II already came up with that, and wanted to add a P. S. anyway--if it does turn out to be by Rod Serling, make sure Bradbury does NOT learn it was mentioned as even a remote possibility of being by him. He might be likely to be quite piqued and turn several unpleasant colors.
19 April 2006, 08:32 AM
OK. How about The Long Years and The Lonely? Have these been discussed here before, per their similarities and RB vs. RS?

The premises for the main characters (easy now Robot Lincoln and Braling II) creating the perfect companions are motivated differently (one a family man, the other an isolated criminal), but the parallels are obvious. (Lonely 1959, Years 1950)

Just contemplating this one from time to time!
20 April 2006, 01:59 AM
You may have a bit of a point there. Bradbury was not the only person to write of human-like robots or even robots with human emotions, but must have been among the first.
20 April 2006, 07:34 AM
Another irony in "The Lonely" is that the robot-wife is named Alicia, the same name (mis)given, to Claire Bloom (Lydia) in the 1969 movie version of "The Veldt," in Ill. Man.

[Curious. Why do these things happen. Robot Lincoln, what was your secretary's name again?]

As an aside, "The Loney" was first shot in Death Valley. It was way too hot. The crew returned to MGM and finished in the simple abode of the prisoner Allenby on a set built specifically built to get it done!

Heat, blazing sun...sounds like "The Veldt," all that was needed were a few circling filthy buzzards. And then, the director of the filming was Jack Smight who also did (you got it!) the Illustrated Man movie.

"Du-du-du-du dudu... Du-du-du-du dudu... DU-DU-DU-DUU!!"
20 April 2006, 02:38 PM
Yeah, I guess a bird got into one shot and TZ fans are still debating what kind of birds live on a deserted asteroid in outer space.
20 April 2006, 06:30 PM
Seredipitious for sure. I hope you weren't maligning dear old Miss Kennedy, she's been my faithful servant since before the rebellion.

She stood silently looking out into the great sallow distances of sea bottom, as if recalling something, her yellow eyes soft and moist...

20 April 2006, 10:08 PM
Interesting note: How many knew that Claire Bloom was Rod Steiger's wife?
20 April 2006, 11:46 PM
Chapter 31
Yeah, I was aware of it when I first saw the movie. Made it like the Clair and Rod Show for me.
21 April 2006, 06:54 AM
L. Bot: All due respects intended.
And then, JFK's secretary?
"Evelyn Lincoln"
21 April 2006, 07:41 AM
Braling II
Don't like to be reminded of that movie version of "Illustrated Man". A travesty.
As to the robot story subject, one of my favourites is "GBS - Mark V".