The Bookshelf Con

(Jack and Wendy have headed off to the first book-signing today, leaving Andrew Whalen, shopsitter, extraordinaire in charge. Here’s Andrew’s guest blog for this weekend.)

I have a big secret:

I’m keeping a little list on the side, like a mob bookie running numbers outside of The Family. The list contains books I’ve found on the shelves here at Tales of the Lonesome Pine, and desire… AND I WILL HAVE THEM.

I wrote earlier about the perils of alphabetizing, and I’ve continued to  tackle a shelf a day. It makes me look dutiful and pragmatic. Section by section I can be sure that the shop is in an order I can navigate. It even helps me get to know the stock more, so I can help customers.



You see, I was actually running a long con. Alphabetizing is just the excuse for eye-balling books that I super want to filch. Books that I want to transform from books into possessions.

The thing is, I could probably just hide them. But that would be unsportsmanlike. And the classic gentleman con-man values honor above all else. He also dresses really dapper. Still working on that one. Okay, no I’m not, that’s a lie… or a CON. So I’ve left them in place, visible and perfectly alphabetized. It is up to the whims of the bookstore to determine whether they get sold or not.

At first I figured that my tastes ran weird enough that I was safe. I would not hoard gold, like a dragon, but leave it out for all to see, and still I would win the day and walk away with my reward. But then, justhours after placing one of my beloveds, in comes a customer. He pulled MY book off the shelf. If he had seen me stroking the cover and purring, “YES MY SWEET YES YOU WILL BE MINE,” less than an hour earlier, well, he may have been too grossed out to touch it. But no, he flopped it onto the table and handed over his filthy lucre. “Going to use this for toilet paper… for my incontinent iguana,” he said, in my mind, where I imagined him being an awful person.

So the game’s afoot. The books are out on the shelves. I’m not going to tell you what any of them are, but there are several in the Sci-Fi section, one in General Fiction, and one in History. OR THIS IS A DOUBLE BLUFF.

And now, with this blog post, I’m definitely spilling the beans. The jig is up. Unless this blog post is all part of my elaborate ruse…



1 Comment

Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

One response to “The Bookshelf Con

  1. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    Wait til you discover a book touched is a book sold. Books you crave will go first. If you want it, buy it while you can. Its the Big Lots story, doubled. You may never see that book for sale again.

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