For those of you irritated at the previous, talkie chapter last week, this one should help appease you. I think of this one as the chapter to make up for the lack of any action when Alex got shot. When that happened (chapter 26), it was important to the story that Alex be rendered a mere bystander, but here he's got a little more latitude. He also had more of an opportunity to interact and react to people. Which is the important thing about this chapter. But rather than risk spoiling it, I'll let you come to your own conclusions about what it may or may not mean.
On a final note, you'll notice some minor discrepancies with the descriptions of the city and the selected malls. I'd written out the entire chapter using one specific mall, Crossroads Mall, but then I eventually discovered that Oklahoma City suffered from 'urban blight', where most people had abandoned the inner city, and the money had followed, so it was fairly decrepit. What's more, the mall ended up being a run-down gang hangout. So I quickly cast about, selecting a different mall, the newer Penn Square Mall, which was in a different direction and not as far away as I'd described. As a result, I kept much of the initial description, including references to a nearby "Macy's" that doesn't exist at the newer mall, but I couldn't find a listing of stores at the newer mall.
Alas, the problems with doing research on the internet. 'D
Anyway, I hope those minor details don't detract from the story too much.