April 6th . . .
R - day . . .
A date that shall go down in infunny.
They'd planned a sting operation. A get in and get out with a promise no one would get hurt. But that's the funny thing about plans, they're as compliant as a cat in a bathtub.
I'd spent most of the day tempting fate wondering aloud if I'd actually be listed in the book of whimsicle or if my dreams of inflicting retinal damage across the country would never come to fruition.
Around 18:00 hours the skies cracked and the ever pressing moisture finally took on a visible form, adding an extra layer of gloom and film noirness to the whole thing. My partner in crime and I slugged on our trench coats, slipping out into the night.
For a late Tuesday night, Club Barnes & Noble was hopping. Voices could barely hang over the Mozart as performed by Bjork filtering through the speaker system. My partner and I exchanged glances, narrowly avoiding a caffeine addict dashing towards the 'bucks dealer for another fix.
But we weren't there for a quick trip through all of humanities vices (and no good reason to go anywhere near the romance section) we had a mission. A quick glance and he dissipated into the stacks casting evaporating footprints as he went.
Snuggling deeper into my coat, my hands juggling coins inside the pockets I headed to my most informative target - the New Paperback section.
Covers in Red's, Green's, Blue's and a giant talking head stared back at me, their jackets saying what their blurbs would not "Get out, whatever your searching for isn't here. Pick up a vampire book or begone."
I snarled at the Chelsea Handler cover and stalked off, narrowly avoiding the business section's siren call to wind up at humor. My fingers dug through the alphabet hunting for any semblance of a W.
A low whistle caught my attention and I peered up to find my partner wandering back a confused look dancing across his visage, no luck. Were we misinformed? Was the drop date wrong? Or was The Big Man onto our plan?
"It wasn't supposed to come to this," he said, tossing the Cake Wrecks book aside.
"I know, but it makes things so much more . . . interesting."
Now to find the right dupe and get him to spill. Most had their heads down, concentrating on setting up a New Graduate table or hoping to avoid work for a few more hours. There, in the back corner, dressed in the requisite blue polo of their kind complete with black brooch -- the Manager.
Feeling a gaze upon him the Manager glanced up catching my eye and blanched quickly burying his face behind a Modern Bride magazine. So it's going to be the hard way then is it? Good.
I motioned my partner who melted back into the shadows while I approached lazily, picking up and putting down random books that crossed my path.
"You have something that I want."
"I . . . I have no idea what you mean."
"How much of this game have you played before? Don't you know that after you use your "Get out of Jail Free" card you always lose Boardwalk."
"The Book, where is it?"
"You're going to have to be more specific, we have lots of books here. Maybe even some your friend could enjoy."
I waved off my partner in the middle of his tackle (causing him to crash into a stack of Newspapers), this stoolie was going to talk without the liberal use of noogies.
"Just came out today, full of whimsicle shit, got a rather loyal following that would think nothing of gutting and stuffing you with a fish for a head as a trophy. WHERE IS IT?"
"I uh, let me look in back." Wiggling out of my grasp he slipped and slid towards the backroom looking back once. I nonchalantly watched his frenzied dance, glancing through a kitten calendar.
Five minutes passed, and just as I was putting down the cute kittens and pulling out my .38 special balsa wood stick he appeared in a flurry "We don't seem to have it."
"That's not the answer I was looking for *snap*."
"Joe! Joe joe joe. Do you know where the book that came out today is. The Regretsy book, for the love of God you MUST find it!"
"Why don't you wait here beside us, Mister Manager. We've got a great game of iSpy going on. I spy with my little eye someone who's not going to make it home if his underlings don't come back with the book."
"I found it, there was a whole stack of them on the New Release cart. No idea why they weren't put out."
My eyes still trained on Blue Polo I snaked my left hand out and grabbed the book before anyone else could notice, "Thank you so much, you've all been so . . . helpful," then I looked up at my partner, "let's blow this popsicle stand. Wait, what do you have in your hand? Another one?"
My partner fumbled a bit trying to hide the novel of depictions behind his back.
"What? Oh fine, you can get one but you better hide it from the boss better this time. We'd best get back fast before someone else gets shot from behind by a mysterious woman with a big hat."
And lo and behold there it is, on page 98 my wedding dress painting (right next to the rutting flies which makes me rather happy, I love those little guys):