This is all because of a fortunate turn of events, what I like to call a fortunate serendipity.
It is fortunate in that I, being a fictioneer of boundless imagination, occasionally run dry. Not to worry! I was minding my own business recently at my local B&N bookstore when I was forced into an altercation. Yes, that's correct: me, a fight, a coming to blows, in a public arena of all places! Rather than tell you what happened in police procedural style, I was able to turn that true event into a moment the protagonist in my current work-in-progress gets to experience.
Art imitating Life, as it were.
The irony of the episode was that I was in that bookstore doing research, as I often do, and so the items in question were related to the very book I am working on. Thus we have a real experience of researching in a book store for a new novel being written whereby the real author has a run-in with a real villain (curse you, strange man!) which becomes a scene (rather, a dream) the protagonist has in the book for which the author went to the book store to conduct research and thus happened into the episode where.... Yes, it's an endless circle of serendipity.
Here is what happened:
(Well, here is the scene that came about because of what happened.)
(To recap: In this novel, A DRY PATCH OF SKIN, our hero is transforming against his will into a disfigured monster, appearing rather like a hideous [i.e., non-sparkly] vampire, and thus he is desperate to reach a special spa in Hungary for treatment, hoping he can cure his awful affliction and return to his former beautiful self as well as be with fiancée Penny once more.)
The nightmare shook me and I fell from the seat [of the train], rolled on the floor and got quickly up again.
I was relaxing in the café section of our usual Barnes & Noble bookstore, my home away from home—and the world. It was more than half-filled with young people studying for exams, old people chatting, assorted others browsing magazines or books they had brought to their tables. I had a short stack of items on my table, as well. I shook my head, as though I had been napping on that table. I stood and stretched. At that moment, a man was getting up from his table. He stepped past my table and the top item on my stack of materials caught his eye. A map of Hungary. Without saying a word, without scarcely a blink of his eye, he picked up the map and took it with him. Just took it right off my stack of items!
“Excuse me!” I cried out after him. Everyone looked at me, the crazy person. “I was going to buy that.”
The man slowed, turned and, seeing me standing with an angry look, stopped and said, “But you haven’t bought it yet, so it’s available to anyone, like me.”
“What? Are you mad? Possession is nine-tenths of the law!”
But the man grinned as though he knew the law backward and forward, and stalked off to the cashier with my map.
So right then I gathered up my remaining items: travel books on Hungary and Croatia, a Croatian phrasebook, and a couple of magazines, presumably to read on the way, and took them to the cashier, too. I wanted to purchase them before anyone else could steal them. When I arrived, the man with my map had gone, but I continued with my purchase.
Then, as I took my bag of books and magazines across the store, returning to the café to get a latté for the road, there was Penny Park, ace reporter, in her news station logo jacket, sitting at the same table I had sat at, her own latté in hand. Across from her sat the indefatigable Tommy, ball cap reversed on his head, a stupid grin on his face, his gnarly hand laid casually over the hand of my Beloved. I stood like a statue, frozen at the sight of them. As I watched, I saw her lift her hand and admire the ring on her finger. Tommy stretched across the table and she rose to meet his kiss—
The train was slowing, rattling, hissing, as it rolled into a station. I scooted up on the seat, and parted the curtains to see where we were. We rolled and rolled through the station. Finally I saw a sign. We were only in Düsseldorf.
It's all true--except, for me, it was in a real bookstore and there were no book cops to come to my aid. That final bit about him seeing Penny and Tommy, I should note, was added for plot purposes; I did not actually see them there in the store that day. I did, however, return to the map rack and was fortunate (there's that word, again!) to find a second map--but as I opened it at home later, I discovered the map I was lucky to get had several tears in it, requiring me to apply tape so as not to make the situation worse.
The lesson for us all is to mind your unpurchased intended-purchases with tooth and nail, for there are scum out there (scum, I tell you!) who would steal the things you have not yet purchased! There oughta be a law! So be careful what you do; you might actually dream of it someday, or cause someone else to dream it.
(C) Copyright 2010-2014 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.