It’s the long weekend, and I’m open! There are passers-by; the windows are dark with them, all full and knobbly with long weekend plans.
‘Hey the bookstore’s open. Not going in there.’ They don’t even look in. But I see them.
Some old ladies come in and look around, pleased. One says to me, ‘We have to dress up, and I’m going as a sorcerer.’ They don’t tell me what they have to dress up for. The other says to me, ‘I’ve got so many thousands of books at home.’
I say, ‘So do I’, but they don’t hear me. They move away chatting to each other.
‘I read Harry Potter. And I read Terry Pratchett. I wasn’t sure about them.’
‘What on earth are these?’
‘Oh, Enid Blyton. Yes.’
‘I think I’ll have to get this, The School Bus, it’s a bit tattered, but I guess it’ll do.’
She brings The School Bus back to me, and together we look at its tatteredness. Her friend emerges.
‘Shall we walk back to the museum in the hopes that it’ll be open, or shall we not bother?’
‘These small towns.’
They move slowly out of the door. ‘Will you carry my books?’
‘Guess I’ll have to’.
They drift up the road toward the hopeful museum, and two men take their place, looming up and leaning against the glass, peering in.
‘It says come in. but it’s pretty dark. Says open.’
‘Dunno. Rekn it’s closed.’
They turn away from the OPEN sign and slowly walk away, still talking. ‘And then I said to him, just get it done, mate.’
A family take their place at the door. They have climbed out of a parked car.
‘Get off the road,’
‘Get in here,’
‘Mal, I’m going in.’
In comes Mal, his old mother and the grandchild who had previously been on the road.
They buy three Penguins and Tough Boris by Mem Fox.
Someone buys Jules Verne.
Someone buys Anthony Trollope.
Someone buys Agatha Christie.
Someone asks for Kate Grenville.
A lady asks for books about fish. She said she loves fish.
I read Elizabeth Jolley.
The Rudyard Kiplings fall to the floor. All 16 of them.
I sell Horton Hatches the Egg.
Someone offers to buy the wooden cat.
There is some shouting outside over a car park, and then motorbike zooms away outraged.
A family buy Ballet Shoes and Pinocchio.
(Illustration Finding Your Fish by James C. Christensen)