Chloe was fascinated by the old boy who came in every day and stood at the same section, though today there was something different. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, and wondered if this time he would actually select a book to purchase.
His fingers drummed the mobile phone behind his back which he then raised to take a picture of the titles in front of him.
With a satisfied smile, he turned to walk away, catching Chloe’s curious look in his peripheral vision.
‘Ah,’ he said walking up to the counter. ‘You caught me.’
‘Well, sir,’ she said, ‘I am a little bemused. Are you looking for anything in particular? We put some new titles out over the weekend, so perhaps there was something you found of interest.’
‘Oh yes, most definitely,’ he beamed, ‘but not to buy.’
‘Oh,’ she said a little disappointed.
‘I have just won a twenty pound bet and have taken a picture to prove my claim.’
Intrigued, Chloe encouraged more details.
‘It’s a bit of sibling rivalry really. My brother said I’d never get any of my trash in print, let alone sell any, and there today is my book on your shelf! I cannot say how pleased I am to see it. I could only afford to have ten published, and my brother did not want a copy, so I gave them away, bar one, which I kept for myself.’
‘Which one is it?’ she asked excitedly.
He went back to the shelf and brought it to her.
‘Would you sign it?’ she asked.
‘This belonged to my aunt who passed away last year and Mum finally got round to sorting things out.’
‘What was your aunt’s name?’
The old man’s eyes misted over.
‘I remember Edith. We were friends at school and she always believed in my writing. I gave her the very first copy.’
Written for FOWC 22nd March
The image is from Celine Ylmz at Unsplash.
For the visually challenged writer, the image shows a man with longish, gray hair wearing a brown trench coat standing in a bookstore.