Dirty Little Secrets of the Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

“I smell pee in Self-help.” Cryptic messages like this come to my inbox from Wendy’s outbox each Sunday. I clean the store on Mondays when it’s closed to customers. Cat pee intel is a necessary part of the job.
Dirty secret #1: Wendy smells cat pee everywhere. I have caught her, ponytail undone and glasses askew, on the floor sniffing books. “Is this pee?” We attempt various methods of ‘scent improvement’ from time to time. There was the recipe for all-natural deodorizer: orange peels marinated for two weeks in vinegar. After much anticipation, it was just vinegar with slimy orange peels. Fail.

Dirty secret #2: There is usually at least one pair of underwear draped over a stack of books. Wendy and Jack don’t use an electric clothes dryer. It’s a perfectly acceptable way to reduce one’s carbon footprint, but when customers start asking the price of the pink panty-shaped book covers in the Christian Fiction section, you have an issue.

Dirty secret #3: The last shop sitter was a vampire. The Grammar Girls suspected it right away. Andrew was a little too perfect. His second Monday in-shop, I got no answer at the front door or on the telephone. He later explained he had “slept in.” We knew he was in his coffin waiting for sunset. On another visit, we discovered a second -story window in the guest room wide open, no screen. Was it an excessive need of fresh air, or Count Von Whalen’s launch pad? Then there was the giant bottle of red “hot sauce” he kept on the table. Andrew never sparkled; obviously he was old-school. He also never admitted to OR denied our suspicions.

Dirty secret #4: I cuss the bookstore cats. Once I receive the weekly pee report from Wendy, I arrive ready for battle, steam mop as my trusty lance.  Should I come across a smelly but previously un-targeted area, I cuss the cats by name and in chronological order by age. They hear me. It’s why they  pee in hard-to-clean places. I hear them laughing. Damn cats.

Dirty secret #5: I sometimes accidentally knock books off shelves while vacuuming. I will apologize if there is an author staring up from the back cover. “Oops! I’m sorry, Ms. Cornwell!” Upon returning the books, I do not… always… alphabetize… them. Somewhere in Turkey, an American bookshop owner just fainted.

Dirty secret #6: One Friday, Jack prepared curry in the counter-top grill that serves as stovetop and pot in the downstairs kitchen. Did I mention Monday is cleaning day? The next week was business-as-usual, until I walked into the kitchen and found a gang of wasted fruit flies hanging out at the grill. As I lifted the lid, there came an odd sucking noise. There, in all its horrifying glory, was… “Eeee!”  I called Wendy at work to apologize for disturbing what was obviously a successful trial of how to grow a Sasquatch from scratch.

10 thoughts on “Dirty Little Secrets of the Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

  1. Dear GGG,
    This is a very funny post. I greatly enjoyed it this morning.

    Good luck to you and the rest of the G gang in your blogging endeavors. I am looking forward to more great stories.

    Wendy & Jack….hope you are having a great time!


  2. I can offer another deodorizing tip. Odoban. Can be found at Home Depot. Has a very nice smell and is antibacterial. This is from one who hunts down That Smell too.

    Susan Hamrick

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. So busy, just catching up on on April’s blogs. Very funny, but did you manage to grow a Sasquatch? In Australia they call them Bunyips and I have almost managed one in my fridge.

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