of the second-hand bookstore was unlucky that I
verbally kicked butt.
Ive been under surveillance inside my
apartment. The details were too much for even
crackpot conspiracy theorists to believe. The
owner was clearly under the influence of local
gendarmes and FBI (?). Her screaming car alarm
marked her as a part of the surveillance network.
Arcata was a
town sitting atop of earthquake country in
northern California. My rage would approach the
magnitude likened to a 7.0 temblor on the Richter
Scale. She would have no place to seek protection
from the seismic ruin of my words.
buying books at yard sales and thrift stores,
getting more bookstore credit than the pittance
it cost me to buy them. Yesterday I had only a
Neil Gaiman novel, a $2 credit, upping my total
credit to $6.
I had authors
in mind, searched the stacks, going
alphabetically, then backtracked and remembered
others I missed from the systematic quest.
nothing downstairs, I climbed the stairs and
searched classics for Graham Greenes The
Ministry of Fear but it wasnt there.
downstairs, disappointed, I felt let down, seeing
myself as a scrambler, a man forcing it. My paths
in the store couldve looked as if I had no
idea what I was doing, that the owner
wouldnt make any money because she viewed
me as walking dead meat. Like any predator, she
window where I stood, a car alarm went off. The
shrillest, most piercing whistling and
remorseless one I ever heard. For three long
minutes, it made the walls tremble; I felt my
brain begin to crack my skull, a fissure about to
find a home.
As I made my
way to the front, this formerly cordial,
intelligent woman, took out her car key fob and
turned off the madness. But, only when she knew I
saw her do it.
another saboteur, arent you, I yelled.
That noise machine placed you in
Arcatas top rank of terrorists.
cracked, she said, her face red from guilt-revealing
around, Ms. Saboteur, I promise, I bellowed.
Youre on dangerous ground.
those who held their own and threatened others
when their very life depended on it.
As I left, she
pushed the door against my behind. Inside, she
held a small sign against the doors glass:
imagine small-town shopkeepers were immune from
sabotaging a life such as mine, an aggrieved
customer and savage avenger.
There might be
big trouble afoot if I heard that car alarm go
off again when browsing.
booklovers had too much imagination not to strike