Hooked on Books
I was about to close up shop when a man staggered through the door. He was a word-head for sure: thin, and pale from too many hours under a desk lamp. His eyes flicked back and forth spasmodically: left to right, left to right.
“What can I get you?” I asked warily. I got this kind in sometimes. They were usually content to read a brochure or scrap of newspaper for the handful of grubby coins they were able to scrape together.
He leaned forward and his voice was a sandpaper whisper. “Fiction.”
“Fiction? That’s some heady stuff. Can you afford it?”
He pulled out an envelope and started pulling out wrinkled bills: singles I thought until I saw the zeros. Each one was a grand. When he stopped, there were ten bills on the counter, which equaled my profits for several months. “First edition,” he said.
I only had one first edition in the shop. It was A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway, bound in lustrous leather. The asking price was $1200. I looked at that money on the counter. It probably wasn’t legitimately earned, but I could put it to work.
Then I thought of that beautiful book as a temporary high, misused when a cheaper version would do fine. It was like brown-bagging a Dom Perignon.
“Sorry,” I said finally. “I can’t help you.”
He left, grumbling and I watched him go, my mind a churn of polar emotions. I don’t regret it though. I guess I’m hooked on books too.
January 25th, 2015 at 4:34 pm
Very clever, loved the dealer/junkie analogy.
I feel that way sometimes… 🙂
January 25th, 2015 at 7:09 pm
I loved it. 🙂
January 25th, 2015 at 7:43 pm
What a unique twist, very cool!
January 25th, 2015 at 8:40 pm
Cool story! I like it. That would be kind of funny if he never sold any of his books! Here, he had a chance to make some serious money, so we know he’s pretty serious about his books.
January 25th, 2015 at 11:15 pm
I can now understand why the book-shop is no longer there.
Great story. 🙂
January 26th, 2015 at 1:45 pm
Great twist indeed David! I second his decision 🙂
January 26th, 2015 at 11:06 pm
January 26th, 2015 at 9:43 pm
Now that is a true book-lover. A cleverly told story. I enjoyed it. 🙂
January 26th, 2015 at 11:03 pm
Thanks. I think most writers can sympathize with that sentiment.
January 27th, 2015 at 8:30 am
Most definitely! 🙂
January 27th, 2015 at 8:06 am
“It was like brown-bagging a Dom Perignon.” Loved this line as well as the entire story. Great analogy 🙂
January 27th, 2015 at 1:11 pm
Crap! they’re catching on to us! Hide the evidence! Being unable to place a book down and go to sleep when tired is pretty symptomatic of addiction….
January 27th, 2015 at 8:06 pm
Uh-oh, I think a lot of us have an addiction. We’d better create a support group or something. 🙂
January 31st, 2015 at 9:48 am
Very humorous, David. I suppose in some ways reading can be an addiction, but it’s a good one. It doesn’t have a bad effect on health unless you miss too much sleep. Well done. 🙂 — Suzanne
March 12th, 2015 at 7:33 am
March 12th, 2015 at 10:57 pm