It was a month ago. My cousin’s kid, a published author, was coming through. Book signing, publicity….nice stuff.

The family would be there, eagerly supporting its own. Including me. You may recall I’d phoned the author a week prior, suggesting lunch or dinner. Hadn’t heard back—no biggie—(just assumed she was busy). It was, as they say: “all good.”

I’ll tell you what wasn’t good though: the book signing itself.

Busted my ass to get there. Used mirrors! Arriving late I saw her propped up front autographing: my cousin the author.

Said the hellos, congratulated the mother… and…,(violating a life-long No Novel rule), bought the book.

There were, by then, few patrons separating me from my kin. Approaching her table, kissing the kvelling mother, I waited on deck.

“Do you remember Al Bogart?” Sheila asked her. There was silence as the book was signed. No hello, no nothing. And I was last!
“This is one of his sons, Bruce.”
Dead air.
Not that she was preoccupied…or hurried. There was, at that moment, more traffic in the men’s room at Starbucks.

It was weird. No one stood behind me, no one aside me. Not one reason not to…but she never looked up. I’ve had more eye contact with a blind man.

“She’s glad you’re here,” said her mom, half-heartedly. Translation: “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Me too,” I responded, (meaning “See you next Tuesday.”)
Then, after smiling the requisite ten minutes, I left—bad taste drenching my mouth.

Not all authors, of course, have attitude. Take Wieder. He writes of places I’ve never been with words I’ve never heard; he hasn’t changed. Warm, humble, I wonder if Al knows Walt and I need Wikipedia to read his work. Or that I have calluses from constant thumbing through the index?

My cousin’s slight, in the scheme of things, meant nothing. Were I a better housekeeper it might well be forgotten. But I’m not, so it isn’t. Returning home that night I’d placed her book on the TV. For weeks it hadn’t moved.

Until yesterday.

Enough, finally, was enough.

Sunday, shortly past noon, I strode back to the bookstore. Bag in hand, book in bag and receipt in book I approached the counter.

No one stood behind me, no one aside me.

“Need to return this.” I said.

And then, lo and behold, the salesperson looked up.

One Response to “PAPERBACK WRITER”

  1. Jackie says:

    Please send me the name of the book. Want to make sure that I never buy it.

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