'Cause tonight tonight a bad man is coming for you

What interesting things happen to me at work! Yippee, hooray! I don't know if I'm living in a different planet (solar system, galaxy, universe), but when people with retail jobs talk about how boring things are at work, Jason cannot relate.

This is the part where I bring you up to speed. The new Harry Potter book is coming out on Saturday. It's going to be nuts in our book store, with a midnight opening/early morning opening/et cetera. The phone is ringing often and I hate it, and in a vague way I hate the people that are calling. Maybe not hate. Maybe dislike. Much.

Between rattling off the store's phone chatter every other minute-- "Hi, thanks for calling Borders Express, formerly Waldenbooks..." --this wild-eyed man with a ragged ballcap staggers to the register. His moustache twitches, the Star Trek pins on his hat look like they're trying to tear themselves off and run. He tosses down a William Johnstone book. A western.

Tangent-- I'm a big western film fan, and I also really really really enjoy Louis L'Amour books, especially since I consider L'Amour to be a fantastic storyteller. Literature, if you will. At the other end of the spectrum are the Longarm/Spur/Buckskin pulp westerns. They're male romance novels, all sex and violence and funny but not in a ha ha funny kind of way dialogue. I'm pretty sure Johnstone is somewhere in between L'Amour and Dirk Logan or whatever the pen name is of one of those hacks.

Johnstone. Yes, I ring it up, make small talk. The Star Trek pins look at me, screaming for help. The small talk involves Johnstone and the fact that I've seen this guy buying lots of Johnstone books before. He trembles and starts talking yeah man got 'em all yeah. The small talks quickly and violently swerves off the edge of the cliff, and the next thing I know he's telling me about the horror novels Johnstone wrote before Johnstone wrote westerns yeah man horror Devil's trilogy all cults hot damn main character Catholic preacher he's the chosen one-- Please...help...where's the manager?-- and fighting the cults but he made love to his wife and their kid like totally is gonna kick ass totally awesome and there's this other series he did -- customers in the store...other customers...help -- with these like homicidal maniacs who were killing women since they were 13 hot damn and all the gore totally nuts see there's a part with the cutting and the blades -- the phone rings, he keeps talking, his eyelids've been open for at least four minutes, the Star Trek pins trying to run but the metal through the dirty cloth keeping them there "Hey! Thanks for calling Borders...." and the person just had a quick question and he's back to it, full force -- oh man all the blood cutting the faces off and putting them in jars and totally looking at them whoa and it's nuts and the book is called the Mask see because hot damn they can put the faces on like masks and run around and cut people up with the blades and the knives and-- the phone rings again, and he's telling me he'll wait 'til I'm done so he can continue.

I draw out the conversation on the phone as long as I can. Yeah, we have that book. Want me to hold it for you? Want me to...order another one for you? How about your friends? Do you have children or grandchilden that want books ordered? Er-- I wasn't implying you were that old. I'm not sure how old you sound-- I --er---okay, bye-- but I gotta split dude cuz you know gotta go bye and the Star Trek pins bob away. I wave. Stay strong, little guys.

My neck hurts. I was bobbing my head up and down like someone was tugging a little too hard on the marionette string attached to my skull. Was this guy going to come after me with the knives and the stabbing? The parking lot is scary at night, towers splaying shadows from their bases with murky lights. Bad men are hiding near my Corolla. Bad men with cleavers. Cleavers and blood and duct tape. Waiting in my back seat. Waiting in my glove box, next to my Anders Parker CD. Beat them up Anders, please. You're my only hope.

But I'm at home, typing this. I'm safe. And work is not boring. Ever.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 7/14/2005 10:58:00 PM,


At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Buddy said...

So damn funny!

At 1:36 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Ha! That's hilarious but kinda scary.

However, I'm a big fan of cleaver knives, and I don't really think of them as scary (though I guess they might be in the back seat of a car with a big, bad man and duct tape).

I have a sort of mini-collection (family) of cleavers, if you will. :-)

My little one (it's a cheese cleaver - so cute) is Beaver Cleaver, the biggest one is Ward and the middle one is Wally. I don't yet have a June, because I have yet to find a female cleaver knife. I think perhaps they're rare.

I also have a machete named Eddy. He's not very sharp.

I know. I'm a freak.

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Cymru said...

I thought people like that only went into public libraries where I used to work. Those stacks can get pretty scary. I always wore a nametag with the wrong name on it just to keep some of the mentally ill patients from the halfway house down the street from learning my real name.

Bookstores and libraries - if you have to stay to close them up and turn off the lights after dark - feel a little bit like a giant tomb.

At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable to read. :)


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