I wandered around the bookstore, glancing at titles, browsing the shelves, straightening books, re-alphabetizing:  you know, the stuff bookstore employees do.

“Do you work here?”

I didn’t look up.  “No.  I do this for fun.”


Silence.  After about 30 seconds, I looked up.

Good.  The voice and its owner were gone.  I detest obvious questions.  Before you get all indignant about lousy customer service, let me point out what I was wearing:  Black T-shirt with our logo “The Vampire Bookstore” on the front, in blood-red Gothic lettering, with 2 small drops of blood hanging off the final ‘e.’  On the back of my shirt in red letters was the phrase, “I work here.”

If someone has to ask that first question, I figure the person is illiterate, blind, or clueless.  The first 2 types I can handle.  They won’t usually go away, but instead, will ask more questions.  The last category?  No.  Humor, sarcasm or irony, escapes them like a supersecret Stealth bomber.  They are not people who belong in my bookstore, at any rate.  Let them curse some other unfortunate.

The sun was just peeking on the eastern horizon when I set the alarm and locked the front door.  Normal people were just waking up to start their day.  I was just finishing mine.  Like the Tarantino movie, my bookstore’s open “from dusk ’til dawn.”  Amazing how many night people live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area.  Last night we were busy.  Must’ve been the full moon.

On my way home, I thought about what needed to be done in the next few days.  Scheduling, new book displays, one of our book buyers promising “a virtual treasure trove of literary genius” and some readings from literary geniuses who hadn’t been discovered yet.  Mostly, I just wanted to unwind for a few hours before catching some sleep.  But I had barely closed the front door when Thad gave me a swift kiss and hug.

“You really need to see this,” he said, smiling.

I heard a muted wheezing winding down the hallway.  “That’s not Misty, is it?” I asked.  “And don’t you mean ‘hear,’ not ’see’?”

Still smiling, he nudged me down the hall.  I looked in the back bedroom.  Toy, our fluffy black cat, snuggled so close to Misty’s neck that her feather-duster of a tail draped across Misty’s face.  Each snore ruffled the long black fur.  Toy’s purring was loud, but Misty’s snoring was louder.  Snickering, we retreated to the kitchen for coffee.

“So, who’s got the store today?” Thad eased into his kitchen chair.

I swallowed coffee — nectar of the gods.  “It’s Misty’s turn.  She’s scheduled to dust.  I’ll go in later this afternoon.”

“I’ll let you wake her up with that news.  You know she hates to dust.”  Thad sipped his coffee, not budging from his chair.

I sighed and headed back to Misty’s room, this time banging on the door almost as hard as I could while shouting “Dusting day!  Rise and shine!  You’re burnin’ daylight!”

Misty’s eyes flew open, glaring.  “The way you treat an old lady is a pure-d shame.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You only use that line when you don’t want to do something.  The rest of the time you say that “old” is always 20 years more than you are now.”  I waved my hand at her and went to bed to catch a few hours of sleep.  There’s always stuff to do at a bookstore, especially when you don’t just work there, you’re the owner, too.

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