Criminals with Cold Noses

Jack and Wendy will spend today driving and look forward to blogging about their latest bookshop stop tomorrow. Meanwhile, Shopsitter Andrew Whalen bravely staffs the bookstore back in Big Stone Gap despite several obstacles – most of them fuzzy….

I’m not sure that dogs love pizza. But I can say for certain that any box that shows up at the door and smells like food is cause for great excitement in the bookstore. After eating as much as I could stomach I thought to bestow my generosity upon the crazed beasts. A few bits of crust and they seemed content.

The reality was a bit different. Like royalty hurling bread-crumbs to peasants with one hand while biting into a turkey leg clutched in the other, my generosity was a stingy and unpleasant thing to witness. The cats weren’t too interested in pizza, but cats are always interested in passing judgment. And under the disapproving eyes of Beulah, I felt a little bad.

Still, a king has his divine right. And I had my slices. My sweet, sweet breakfast slices. Too bad I also have deep-seated beliefs about the proper treatment of old pizza. You see, I don’t think pizza should ever be treated like left-overs. It’s not legitimate food to be dutifully filed away in tupperware. It should be left out to congeal and get a little gross. Pepperoni is best curled up and dry at the edges. Grease tastes better in slimy pools. Cheese should be allowed to form flavor-rubber. If you’re not risking minor food poisoning when eating your cold pizza, then where’s the fun? So I left my pizza out on the countertop.

The next morning I awoke to a scene of horror. Cardboard was strewn everywhere. Nothing remained and I know there can be no justice. The guilty parties will trot about, unpunished. Even the coupon sheet was missing, no doubt so the dogs can take advantage of MY deals. I can see them now, as I write these words, relaxing together on a chair, blissful in their feigned innocence.

Criminal Masterminds of the Cold-Nose Gang

So now, even after gorging myself the night before, I feel less than content. But don’t worry. I have a plan:

Pizza King is the best pizza ever. It’s doughy hand-tossed style crust and fresh toppings make for a slice good enough to be called an experience. See Pizza King? Endorsements are the future. I’ve got this blog platform primed and ready for Pizza King tie-ins. I can see it now:

“If Heathcliff had tried Pizza King’s new boneless chicken bites Wuthering Heights would have been a whole lot happier!” 

“Sure Mark Twain’s great, but why read The Prince and the Pauper when you can order from the king of the pizza until midnight (or 1 am on weekends)?” 

“With Pizza King’s house-made sauce you’ll be seeing 50 Shades of Flavor!”

Oh, you don’t take blog endorsements in exchange for pizza? Ok then, your loss. Enjoy your fiat currency. We’ll see how far that gets you.

The Bookshelf Con

(Jack and Wendy have headed off to the first book-signing today, leaving Andrew Whalen, shopsitter, extraordinaire in charge. Here’s Andrew’s guest blog for this weekend.)

I have a big secret:

I’m keeping a little list on the side, like a mob bookie running numbers outside of The Family. The list contains books I’ve found on the shelves here at Tales of the Lonesome Pine, and desire… AND I WILL HAVE THEM.

I wrote earlier about the perils of alphabetizing, and I’ve continued to  tackle a shelf a day. It makes me look dutiful and pragmatic. Section by section I can be sure that the shop is in an order I can navigate. It even helps me get to know the stock more, so I can help customers.



You see, I was actually running a long con. Alphabetizing is just the excuse for eye-balling books that I super want to filch. Books that I want to transform from books into possessions.

The thing is, I could probably just hide them. But that would be unsportsmanlike. And the classic gentleman con-man values honor above all else. He also dresses really dapper. Still working on that one. Okay, no I’m not, that’s a lie… or a CON. So I’ve left them in place, visible and perfectly alphabetized. It is up to the whims of the bookstore to determine whether they get sold or not.

At first I figured that my tastes ran weird enough that I was safe. I would not hoard gold, like a dragon, but leave it out for all to see, and still I would win the day and walk away with my reward. But then, justhours after placing one of my beloveds, in comes a customer. He pulled MY book off the shelf. If he had seen me stroking the cover and purring, “YES MY SWEET YES YOU WILL BE MINE,” less than an hour earlier, well, he may have been too grossed out to touch it. But no, he flopped it onto the table and handed over his filthy lucre. “Going to use this for toilet paper… for my incontinent iguana,” he said, in my mind, where I imagined him being an awful person.

So the game’s afoot. The books are out on the shelves. I’m not going to tell you what any of them are, but there are several in the Sci-Fi section, one in General Fiction, and one in History. OR THIS IS A DOUBLE BLUFF.

And now, with this blog post, I’m definitely spilling the beans. The jig is up. Unless this blog post is all part of my elaborate ruse…