The bookstore was crowded -- just the way I liked it. Saturday afternoons meant hordes of screeching Pokemon kids and harried parents and pissed of college students were out roaming the shelves. I crouched in the sci-fi rows, my pal Jimmy hovering over my shoulder.
"Fuckers!" I muttered, pawing through the books.
"They're all dinged up." I waved a copy of Cryptonomicon in his face. "Look at that shit. The corners are all bent up, and the back is scuffed. Looks like it's been in someone's backpack for a week."
He sneered. "Big whoop. Not like you're collecting 'em for money or something."
"That's not the point," I said, slamming the book back into its place and grabbing another. "I don't want other people's scuff-marks. I want to know that when it gets all rankled up, it's because I did it." The second copy had a thick crease running diagonally across the back cover, so it got tossed back, too. I grabbed a third. "It's like... personalization."
"It's books, Jimmy. I'm allowed to get weird about books." I finally found an acceptable copy. It went in the stack with the other couple of paperbacks I'd nabbed.
Jimmy just shrugged. "You 'bout done? I wanna get something to eat."
"Yeah, that's the last one."
He glanced around the store like a hunter marking his prey, then sauntered with practiced casualness over two aisles to snicker at the romance novel covers. I quickly checked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't on camera and quietly slipped the books into my bag. Divide and conquer.
Striding confidently, I passed the register clerk, who smiled at me and wished me a good day. I did the same. It's good to be friendly with fellow minimum wage monkeys. A faint thrill went through my bones as I passed the security detectors, but the alarms didn't sound. On one level, I knew I was clear because I'd checked and double checked that every security tag was off, but on another, deeper, level, I always feared getting caught. Maybe it's because nobody's ever managed to catch me.
The cool air outside filled my lungs with life, and my heart finally began to still. Mission accomplished. Jimmy fell into step beside me a moment later. "What'd ya get?"
"Cryptonomicon, a couple of Sharon Shinns, and the Hellsing manga."
"Sweet." He lit up a cigarette. "Next time, you oughta gank me some manga, too."
"Do it yourself, pussy."
Notes: Meh, this is just something random that popped into my head. Nothing special. Just a character/dialogue/scene study of sorts, I guess. Might as well write something for this blog, right? ;b
The anti-scuffed-books rant was something I was going to write in my LJ, but I liked it better as part of a story.