This March day brought hail stones and insomnia and constant chatter about the weather which no longer feels like small talk but real talk that is about impending disaster. I learned first names finally and felt hands warm in my own.
All these earthquakes, the people say. A man with booze breath looking for puzzle books for his son. It was early and he was drunk. Later I found a stamped out cigarette by the kid's section. It smelled harshly even before I reached to clean it up.
And they ponder, are you east coast, or are you west coast. Have you known or have you not known? West coasters know nothing about weather. Real weather. I met someone from Olympia, Washington today and she had tattooed knuckles and pennies on her bracelet and the ardent desire for a part-time job. She had done indie publishing and micro print making. She was hectic and enthusiastic for every little thing. Have I not become that, I wondered silently.
My insomnia made me slow to explain but it was also bad dreams that made me slow. The kinds with private deaths in them, told by old flames, over unseen countries.
She said she wanted thunder and lightning, a dance-step of upset airs to keep her on her toes. Would we deliver, she asked. I wasn't sure, I didn't know. I covered up not knowing by hammering with my price gun at a stack of books.
People from other cities are excited to be here, I declared. And I would be too.