Decades ago and just to the East of the downtown area, old money had come and put down taproots. In more recent years, Antebellum manses had come to stand lotline to lotline with newer McMansions as the newer dollars arrived in the freshly tailored pockets of the newly well-to-do. As the area expanded, a mall was of course, erected, and then this too expanded and became a suburban area with an upscale name of its own. The Verdant Hills area of town had an attitude, but not one that was entirely justified. Sure, the money was on all sides, but in the midst of all that you had retirees, apartment dwellers, schoolchildren, teenagers, and those who worked at the businesses and stores in and around the mall. In short, and only during the working hours of the day, you had a wonderfully rich mix of people interacting with one another, and most of them coming through the mall for one reason or another.
At the back of the mall, between the larger Macy's entrance and the smaller one that led to the hallway at the back dominated by the Gap and framed with huge frosted glass panels, was an elevator that connected to all four floors of the mall, Parking Decks B & C, and opened on both sides. This elevator was Hal Heisenberg's favorite, and he could stand in it all day, if no one seemed to notice. If they did, or the traffic varied too much and threatened to step on his normal viewing patterns, well - there were six other elevators. One for every shopping day of the week.
In the earliest morning would come the employees of the mall, streaming in one-by-one, half-asleep and clutching coffees, purses and paperbacks, their minds on the future - the "post-this crappy retail job" period of their lives. These were dangerous to Hal, because they were likely to notice his presence in the same place, day after day. Many of them had long since assumed that he was custodial or clerical help for some other part of the mall, and that's how Hal liked it. He was friendly enough to these people, but too much interaction would ruin the reason he was there, and he didn't want to screw with the dynamic too much.
The mall walkers were usually also arriving around this time, elderly people in tights and serious hats, here to use the mall as a Dewey track. It wasn't training for an upcoming heavyweight bout, but they treated it with that level of seriousness. They never saw Hal, and so were the perfect group for him. He could watch their actions day in and out, and never be given a second glance.
You couldn't just stick to the elevators - a certain amount of wandering was required. Elevators were best, though. They got you in on people's sounds and smells and cell phone conversations - you could even read a text over someone's shoulder. The mall elevator made for the most - intimate - experiences.
Certain seasons were a bonanza for an elevator man; Christmas is the big obvious, that last glorious quarter of the calendar year when the traffic swells to nearly more than one can comfortably observe, when the comings and goings completely masked his presence. Most of the major marketable holidays and their return schedules made for good entertainment, actually. Hal preferred the normal business of the mall, though. Those cutting through the mall on their way to elsewhere, or those using it as a meeting place. Window shoppers were good viewing, as were teens. Hal had a patterned routine - solid colors of clothes, a pre-set walking and elevator use schedule; and with all that, it still took him forever to notice her.