Wes is our first call if we need a pinch-hitter for a day here or there in the bookshop. Those of you who read the blog regularly may remember that Wes married Rachael in a Quaker meeting at the bookstore last year. He’s been invaluable while Jack’s in Scotland, because I’ve gotten tied up with some things at the college.
Today when I relieved him, a stack of J.A. Jance mysteries were sitting out of place on a counter top. Wes grinned when he saw me looking at them.
“Funny story about these,” he said, and launched.
A woman had come into the store with her daughter, who was the epitome of metrosexual beauty: lots of arm tattoos, her nose was pierced, and she wore a floral print mini-sundress.
“She was HOT!” Wes assured me, waving his hands in curves that, presumably, described the contours of her paisley pattern tattoo sleeves.
Hot Girl browsed classics while her mom surfed the mystery room. Mom emerged with the five Jance paperbacks, marked $3 each in good condition.
“That’s $15,” said Wes, smiling at the producer of Totally Hot Girl.
“What?” she shrieked. Wes, accustomed to people being impressed by our pricing, beamed, but Hot’s Mama continued, “I can get these cheaper someplace else!”
A few other customers in the store (who had also been admiring THG) began to studiously ignore what was going on. Hot Girl threw her mother an evil look.
Wes, however, has been hanging with Jack and me awhile now. With perfect dignity, he scooped the books from Hot’s Mama’s arms. “Then of course you should,” he said, bowing from the waist. “I’ll put these back for you.”
Out went Mom, back erect. Hot Girl waited until she left, then, according to Wes, “began grabbing classics randomly from the bargain bin. She bought $25 worth, and kept apologizing for her mom.”
Wes assured her it was not a problem. He invited her to come back anytime. “ANYTIME,” he emphasized, bagging her books. He probably carried them to the car for her.
It’s unusual that someone fusses about our prices–more unusual than a tattoo-wearing, flesh-piercing, breast-and-leg bearing Totally Hot Girl waking into our bookshop. Big Stone Gap isn’t as sleepy as people think.
And Wes? He’s looking forward to minding the store again tomorrow. I’ve told him my project at the college might take all week. He assures me this is not a problem.
Such a nice boy.