Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A character in the bookstore

Oh yes. A character, a man who may have to be dropped while still warm into the boiling hot soup of my big stack of writing that is becoming a Very Worthy Tome indeed (working title, The Three Million Musketeers)... anyway

The Man who was Obsessed by the Condition of Books that he Purchases

"This book is no good. It was billed as new... it's practically destroyed, look, the pages are crimped."
"Okay, Sir. I will exchange it for another new copy."
I return.
He looks at me like I've pulled down my pants and made number two on the floor of the bookstore.
"This is the SAME BOOK I returned yesterday!!! Look at this corner."
He invites me to look at the corner by bringing it quickly towards my eye. He shouts, "This is OUTRAGEOUS!!! This book is totally fucking unacceptable, I want a new book, it's a hundred and fifty bucks, I'm picky about the condition of books I buy, I want a book that is NEW, I want it still shrinkwrapped..."
We go and look. I am foolish enough to offer him a book to consider.
He looks at me like I am barely alive, like I just crawled out of the primeval slime and am awaiting the dawn of consciousness.
"Look at this! It's not NEW. Look at these spots, look at the corners, Jesus! a hair! a hair! look, this isn't NEW, it's... it's USED!!!"
He finds some shrinkwrapped new books.
"These may do. I want one that is shrinkwrapped correctly. For a hundred and fifty big ones, it has to be PERFECT. NO! Not this one... NO! Not this one... NO! Hmmm..."
He considers a book.
"This one seems acceptable."
He says thanks as if he is trying to spit his teeth into my skull with so much force that they shatter bone and lodge in my brain.

***

Then, I think...
what about a character who loves literature, who loves books, but can never Buy an Actual Book, as they are so perfectionist regarding the condition of books. even simply taking a new book from a shelf and walking ten steps to a cash register will, in their opinion, see a book, "hopelessly wrecked, decimated, killed..."
they walk into a store, wearing breathing apparatus and thick gloves.
they select a book and walk over to the cash register.
"i wish to make a purchase."
the cashier reaches out for the book.
"NOOOOOOO!"
they carefully drop the book and run away.

etc

4 Comments:

Blogger L said...

I actually prefer used books myself. They have more character, they open to the previous owner's favorite passages, and they just look more comfortable on the shelf.

Oh, and they're cheaper :)

10:00 PM  
Blogger Claypot said...

Classic. Looking forward to more posts, I suspect the job at the bookstore will unearth many eccentric characters.

1:26 AM  
Blogger HF said...

We had a customer in the bookshop who always bought two copies of the same book. One he would read and the other one was for his archive of presteen, shrinkwrapped first editions. A library of mummies. Freightening.

7:09 AM  
Blogger KarbonKountyMoos said...

I'm with L. I like to read my books. My research books are even shabbier.

My word for word verification seems bizarre - duefkan!

4:07 PM  

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