by Susan Lloy
BookStop is a small independent bookstore on the main drag of an Atlantic city. The citizens are proud of it and boost that it is their only haven separate from the other conglomerates. So, when I came to sign copies of my recently published collection, I was looking forward to it. The region is noted not only for its beauty, but also for the warmness of its citizens. Still, little did I know what menace lurked within the confines of the BookStop’s compact rectangular walls?
The day was drizzly and I had consumed many cups of tea prior to my expedition. When I arrived a somewhat friendly attendant greeted me and to our surprise she had recently vacated the city which I inhabit. We discussed the power of the sea and like the tide it pulls you back. She mentioned she was happy to be back in the bosom of her kind.
I was informed they were in possession of three copies. However, the male assistant was only able to locate two. Making light of it, I made a joke and suggested someone must have pinched one. Neither of the two salespersons cracked a smile.
The two copies of my book were finally signed and the female clerk stuck author-signed labels on the front covers. I then did an about face enthusiastically awaiting the eager book browsers. I sold one copy almost immediately, yet, unfortunately the second copy was a harder go. All the while the buckets of morning tea were weighing heavy on my bladder. So as the hour ticked onward I attempted to converse with the staff,
“Gee … this second copy is a lot harder going.”
Not a word was returned and when I asked if I could use the staff bathroom as I was ready to burst, the answer was,
“It’s not for the public!”
I had brought along several colored copies of my book review. The review hosted a photograph of myself and generous ins and outs of this christened – successful collection. When a snooty South End lady sauntered in, I inquired if she had an interest in short fiction?
Half way down the first paragraph she tossed my review back with disgust.
“The inner lives of the lost, the lonely, and the mentally ill. I don’t think so!”
Another staff member rushed through the door of this tiny shop with a scowl that could strip paint off the wall.
She came barging up to the counter and growled that I never OK’d this with the manager. I replied that he had invited me to casually drop in to sign copies.
“YES SIGN NOT PROMOTE.”
“Well, isn’t that what you expect from me? To sell my books for you?”
“NO. We sell the books! If you want to promote you have to rent a room.”
“Yeah, but, there’s only one book here.”
I left with my full bladder thinking that BookStop is aptly named. These handlers of words and slayers of hearts don’t respect authors and will stop a book dead in its tracks.
“Oh hear ye fellow authors. Beware!”
Susan E Lloy has published extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom. A writer of short fiction her short story collection, But When We Look Closer, was recently published by Now Or Never Publishing. Her forthcoming collection, Vita, will be released April 2019. Susan lives in Montreal.