That’s what the night‘s for. The night time is the write time. I’ve got to make progress every chance I can. I’ve got to get a rhythm going here. The S.S. Appropouture isn’t going to sail itself. Whales don’t come just a flopping onto your plate. You’ve got to kill it. Give it everything you’ve got. One leg? Have another. I’ve got two hands and a head that keeps on thinking. They say there is no hope for the hopeless, and if I’m anything at least call me romantic, a certain sort of charm, panash enough to pull me through.

As soon as I’ve built up enough of, shall we call it, a ‘buffer,’ I can proceed to increase the rate of production. Currently it’s not in my budget. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’m just starting out in this method that I’ve been building up for a long time.

The skeleton crew still stands, and it’s going to be even thinner tomorrow. Just Jamie-Beth, the boss, and me. Leaves us with a lot less coverage for our lunch breaks. We do have a new employee coming in on Tuesday. A pretty little thing. A girl. The shop need people. Musette is about to have this baby. Franny is about to head to Boston. Jake is going part-time. Permanent thinned out crew, buried in books. I know people who would die for that. I’m one of the lucky ones even though we’re not supposed to sit and read during our shifts, but the mere touching and arranging of books is somebody’s paradise, and who doesn’t love the smell of old books?

There is so much wisdom that can be gleaned from the shop, but you have to approach it on its level. The shop has a language the sort of which I’ve alluded to when discussing the acidic state: the speaking of without a mouth, existing as the scene, more so than other things can accomplish, a lot of personality imbued within the artifacts of it’s architecture, a lot of spirit in the shelves.

I get more out of speaking to the store in its fashion than I do telling stories to my coworkers. I can’t do the latter anymore. I’m sick of it. I can’t win. Every attempt ends in failure. I’ve got to keep practicing silence. I’ve got to hold strong in my personal space to avoid being injured. One of these days something is going to come around and bite me in the ass. Jack Torrence says the walls have ears. He’s the one whom Jamie Beth thought was lame because of the way that he walked down the stairs the first time that she saw him.

Is he here, asks a man dangling a plastic bag from a hook hand.

It’s a 10,000 dollar Book of Mormon, he says.

He’s not in.

Do you want to give him a call?

I can email him.

I’m not going to hang around like a chump.

Be my guest to leave. You’re more than welcome.

I was supposed to meet him here today.

It’s Saturday.

That’s what we agreed upon.

He’s not usually here on Saturdays. Did he give you a time?


I don’t know what you expect from me. You should have planned better.

The man leaves. I complain about him to Jamie-Beth. It doesn’t go over well. I end up battered against the rocks.

Are there any customers in the store, she asks.

The walls have ears. The store is a living entity. You’ve got to be careful what you say around here. You’ve got to get a handle on yourself.

My boss arrives a half an hour after the hook man leaves. He’s got another load of thirty six boxes in the back of his truck. He brought one in earlier, and he’ll bring two more before the day is over.

The answer is always more books, he says.

This is his shop. It’s got his name on it.


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