Rejected pitches for the Mall of America's writer-in-residence program

At the Mall of America, we're all just characters in someone's would-be masterpiece.

At the Mall of America, we're all just characters in someone's would-be masterpiece. Leila Navidi, Star Tribune

Starting June 14, the Mall of America will celebrate its 25th anniversary by hosting Los Angeles poet Brian Sonia-Wallace as its first ever Writer-in-Residence.

To win the honor, Sonia-Wallace prevailed over more than 4,000 entries. City Pages has obtained ten perfectly good concepts which didn’t make the cut:

1.Less Than Venti: A caffeine addict struggles to make her tall macchiato last as she ventures from the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble across a barren, Starbucks-less desert, to reach the Starbucks just across the rotunda from Barnes & Noble. The unchecked hedonism of the rotunda lifestyle brings her to the breaking point, as she parties with a self-help author, a handful of Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders, and key members of the Eden Prairie Community Band.

2. Orange Julius Caesar: A tragedian pens an epic drama about the power struggle between an assistant manager and three disgruntled cashiers at a stand that sells frothy juice.

3. Americansky Girl: An investigative journalist exposes corrupt foreign influence within a leading U.S. doll retailer, culminating in the revelation that Vladimir Putin is in possession of compromising information on both Kit Kittredge and Felicity Merriman.

4. The Thin Salted Caramel Line: A war correspondent chronicles the brutal turf battle between rival chocolatiers Godiva and L’Occitane. Shoppers fleeing the conflict are forced to subsist on free samples from the food court, leading to worldwide shortages of toothpicks and tiny little pieces of bourbon chicken.

5.Tuesdays with Tori: A newspaper columnist recalls a series of heartfelt conversations with a Hot Topic cashier who is “literally dying and honestly just can’t even anymore.” In the tear-jerking finale, cashier Tori summons the writer to her death bed and shares life’s greatest lesson: “15% off your first purchase with the Hot Topic Guest List Credit Card. It’s totes free and easy to apply!”

6. Everything Must Go!: A political satirist pens a dystopian novel about the collapse of the retail economy, scribbling the entire work with Sephora eyeliner on the shuttered storefront of a Williams-Sonoma. In the work’s brutal final scene, a brick-and-mortar merchant is tortured with a series of increasingly complex Brookstone massage devices until he professes his love for Jeff Bezos.

7. Carry the Two: A theoretical mathematician challenges the known laws of the universe by explaining how The Art of Shaving is still open. Later, he tries calculating the expansion rate of the little spongy things inside a MyPillow, and ultimately succumbs to madness. 

8. Just Holler!: A horror novelist spends twenty minutes in a J. Crew changing room, conveying the growing urgency and menace as a sales associate named Jazz repeatedly returns and shouts, “Can I grab you some more sizes?”

9. The Secret Lives of Novelty Penises: A children’s author pens a heartfelt coming-of-age tale about an adolescent boy in a Spencer Gifts store. The child’s loveable companions, a Pecker Stress Ball and a can of Fart Spray, give him the courage to face the tribulations of young adulthood.

10. And Your Zip Code?: A playwright dramatizes the checkout experience at Barnes & Noble. Beginning with the line, “Are you a Barnes and Noble member?” the play meanders through six hours' worth of tense dialogue, much of which forces the main character to question his identity, before he is finally allowed to pay $9.99 plus tax for one issue of PC Gamer magazine.