Saturday, 13 October 2007

Just because...

JC closed the gap to the shelves which contained books in Spanish.
There were not that many volumes and, as it would be expected from a bookshop in downtown Berlin, it just contained mainstream authors.
People usually go to bookshops in order to buy books, right? Well, he was there to leave one instead. More specifically, one written by him.

He had collected his old short stories in a forty-odd page booklet and had published it with The most immediate result was this crazy idea of his, so crazy in fact that it may even work out well. He was not in the book selling business, in which he faced so much competition, but in the business of gifting smiles to people. And this you can do in many varied ways, for example giving something unexpected, be it a photo, some candy, or a short story...

Just as he was about to step out and look for one of those big red sofas a thought blazed through his mind. What if the book ends up in a bin? What is an average German bookshop assistant supposed to do with a book which she cannot understand and is so obviously not her business? Well, possibly the same a Spanish bookshop assistant would do with a German book with no ISBN and no marked price. Whatever the chances, he set out to spend the evening there, pretending to be reading that big photo book but actually keeping his eyes and mind fixed on that shelf.

Five minutes later the first person approached the Spanish section. He had a quick look at "La sombra del viento", checked the price and left without even sparing a second look at the other books. He had obviously known what he was looking for well in advance and not the kind of person JC was waiting for. What a waste of adrenalin, he thought.

A bit later a young lady appeared, walking lazily from shelf to shelf, like a negative print of the previous bestseller predator. As she was making her way along the aisle, her finger touching the covers of the books, tenderly caressing them, recognizing the titles and the authors and maybe remembering those long hours isolated from everything while enjoying the reading. When the finger reached the "C" section, it stopped abruptly, exactly at the same time JC´s heart did. She took the book with care, surprised at not recognizing neither the author nor the title. As the back cover did not provide any further information, there was no other way to find out what it was about, but to start reading it. Two pages, two short stories and an eternity later she looked around, half curious, half amused. Slowly, very slowly, with her utmost innocent look, she let the book drop into her bag and continued her gentle stride for a few minutes. Eventually she headed towards the exit and disappeared in the crowd.

JC took a deep breath, closed the book in his hands and left. On the way home he was thinking of the handwritten note that the girl had found:
"This book is not for sale, it has no ISBN and it doesn't belong to the bookshop inventory, so if you ask, they will claim it is not theirs. Take it home with you, read it slowly, one page and one short story at a time. When you are finished with it, bring it back to this bookshop so that somebody else can enjoy it."

PS: The bookshop is Hugendubel in the Schlossstrasse, if you pass by, the book may have already been brought back...

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