Two featured women with 'David Bowie eyes'. Two featured the music of Paul Simon, and two featured squirrel being caught, cooked and eaten. And one of them didn't feature any of those things at all.
Anyway, I don't think I want you to order it for me, she says. I know the author, I've played bridge against her many times and she gave me an invite to her last book launch, but I had tickets for centre court at Wimbledon. But I read it anyway, and then, in my usual way I told her what I thought, which was that it thought it was pornographic, which it was, and which she denied. Anyway, that caused a bit of a cooling in our relations, but there you are.
Picks up a calendar she is purchasing, the Japanese paint such beautiful cats, don't you think?
But how much is The Luminaries, the Booker Prize Winner in paperback?
Nine-ninety-nine, I tell him.
Right you are, he says.
Just have to win it first, he says, and steps over the road to the betting shop.
He has long blonde hair and is wearing a straw pork-pie hat.
He is also wearing a very short see-through net mini skirt, has an exposed midriff and a pair of unlikely tits.
The last copy I owned was eleven pounds, he tells me.
I study my computer screen. I tell him that we do not have a copy and that the new edition to be published in July will cost twenty pounds.
Twenty pounds, he says.
I am looking at the floor. Yes I say.
Why is that? he asks.
I look at my hands. I suppose it must be a coffee table edition, I tell him.
A coffee table edition? he says.
Yes, I say. I look at the ceiling.
Why? he asks, Why must they always meddle with things?
I know, I say.
Pah! he says then and adopts a flounce.
I watch him as he walks out onto the street proudly, head held high, swinging a handbag and I notice that it has started to rain.
Back cover of When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow by Dan Rhodes.
Signed and numbered limited edition.
He is standing in front of the till staring.
Can I help you? I ask him.
He shakes his head and stares.
You've been here a long time? he says.
Yes, I say.
I was just remembering, he says, I used to come in here and buy my Goosebump books.
You did? I say.
I did, he says, and you were here then too.
I was, I say.
And that, he says, was a long time ago.
A lady enters the shop swinging a tote bag, sets off the security gates.
That's probably my kindle thing setting off the gates, she says.
And then, Do you have any empty boxes I could have?
I tell her, no, and she stands by the doorway reading the yoga notices, beeping.