(As we mentioned in our previous post, here we begin our round robin short story. Part 1 written by Bev …)
It seemed curious to me at the time–the stranger’s appearance simply oozed mystery and intrigue. He dressed in a stylish fashion; finely tailored suit, silk shirt, fashionable necktie, leather trench coat and wing-back shoes. But all in white. Not a smidgen of color. Except, of course, for his hair. That was candied apple red. See what I mean about curious?
It was Monday morning, and I was working at Twice Told Tales, a used bookstore in Las Vegas, Nevada. We usually attracted a t-shirt and flip-flop crowd who liked to spend their days with a Starbucks in one hand and a dog-eared copy of a Jack Kerouac book in the other. We would not be a comfortable place for the white leather trench coat group. Not exactly the immaculate environment you would expect a “Mr. Clean” to visit, if you know what I mean. Heck, I wouldn’t have expected his white convertible to even slow down as he drove by our store. Oh, did I forget to mention that he drove a white custom Chevy convertible?
Yet, here he was, pawing though the stacks in the “Really Old Book” section. Looking intently at each book he took off he shelf, he would open it to the middle, shake it a couple of times and then place it back where he had gotten it. Every once in a while, he would open a bottle of water and take a long drink, diligently replacing the lid and wiping his mouth. Prissy on top of everything else. He must have spent at least two hours obviously looking for something in particular and during that time I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. How could anyone have hair that red? And what was he looking for?
Finally he came to the check out register and handed me a good-as-new copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. By now my curiosity could barely be restrained. I wanted to ask him what he was doing. I wanted to follow him when he left the store. I wanted to know why on earth he wanted a Jane Austen book, for heaven’s sake. But I bit my tongue, took his money and wished him a good day.
Then, lo and behold, the same thing happened on Tuesday. Violet was working the cash register and I happened to glance up to see her, mouth agape, staring at the old book section. There he was, all in blue. No trench coat as the day was a warm one, and I didn’t know what car he came in, but his clothes were all a clear sapphire blue. Whoa. With that red hair he was quite a sight. What on earth was happening?
When he checked out, there was quite a little group of very curious patrons around the counter. They made way for him to pass through and pay and enjoyed the fact that he purchased a pristine copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Now we were getting somewhere. Or were we?