Airport Bookstores

This week, I got to work on a piece I've been meaning to start for a while now. It's really early days, but I know you enjoy my works in progress, so here's a snippet of what I have so far.

There’s a newsstand just outside the gate, so I check the arrivals monitor one more time, let fly as heavy a sigh as I can muster in the direction of anyone who might be listening, and I trudge my way over to the spinning rack of paperbacks by the register.

The last time I bought a book at an airport was on my honeymoon, which was so many moons ago now that I’ve lost count. We were in San Francisco, stopped over for an hour on our way to visit my cousin and his wife in Kauai, and I’d spent so much time doubled over inside the tiny in-flight lavatory that surviving the second leg of the trip without a super-sized bottle of Pepto just wasn’t going to be an option.

As I stood in line, my flask of fluorescent pink salvation clutched tightly to my chest, I scanned the paperbacks on offer and found among them a most unexpected sight: a collection of short fiction, that Cousin Oliver of the book store Brady Bunch. And it was not just any collection. No, it was the selected stories of the bearded old fellow who had a made a name for himself writing about and teaching for the quirky college back east that had, in its attempt to keep up with the Joneses (not to mention the Emersons and the Benningtons), recently tenured my sorry funnybook-slinging ass. I picked the book up and flipped through its gray pages, trying to remember if I had a copy back home in some box we’d yet to unpack in the dilapidated old colonial we’d just put a down payment on. Perhaps the codger himself had given me a copy during his latter days, maybe on the occasion of my arrival on campus as a student some years prior, me the much heralded savior of the languishing department he’d founded an age or two before. But my brain was addled — I wondered suddenly if I’d shit part of that overworked organ out, along with everything else — and anyway I had cash to spare now, so I decided to live a little. When the clerk asked if there was anything else she could help me with today, I even splurged on a genuine bottle of Jamestown Ginger Ale to chase away the chalky taste of my medicine.

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