I'm fairly ruthless with closing hours on days I want to go home (which is nearly every day). Last Tuesday, all I wanted to do was get out of the store, and maybe vanquish it to another dimension for a few days. We closed at 7, and I'd spendt about 45 minutes after closing, putting up the new books, taking down the table, cutting up boxes, and tinkering with the window display when a woman jiggled the handle and started waving at me.
I opened the door. "Sorry." I said. "We close at seven on Mondays."
"Oh." She said. "I thought you were open until nine."
"Wednesdays through Sundays we're open until nine, sometimes ten. But Mondays and Tuesdays, we close at seven."
She turns to her son, who's about elevenish. "Sorry. I was wrong, they are closed. Maybe we'll come back tomorrow."
I've seen at least thousands of kids throw temper tantrums like they're auditioning for the role of Kidnapped Clone Baby Of Nicholas Cage in an episode of Two Broke Girls. I worked with kids long enough to be totally immune to this reaction.
But this kid doesn't wail, doesn't demand his mother get him the books. He looks like he's been shot. "Ok." Sniffle. Sniffle. Trembly voice. "to...mo....r" and then there is no more sound coming out of him, as he walks up the stairs.
"Do you already know what you want?" I ask.
The mother says his name a few times but he seems physically unable to speak. "Lucas? Lucas?" And then, to me, "He's been very sick. And so bored. And so good. We just wanted to get a Calvin & Hobbes."
"Come on in." I say. My coworker, who has not heard most of the gives me The Glare. "They're over here."
The kid points to Something Under The Bed Is Drooling, and then picks it up, walks immediately over to the register while his mother starts speaking to him in French.
"Thank you." He says, weakly. His mother has not asked him to do this. She is asking if he's sure he hasn't already read this one. "Thank you so much."
"Oh! Yes!" His mother says. "This was so important. We will try and come earlier next time. I only knew nine o'clock. Thank you for letting us in." Like I'd smuggled them across a border in a war zone, instead of letting them buy a book after hours.
This week, unless I can confirm actual monsters (yes, vampires, zombies, politicians, homophobes, white supremacists, mens' rights activists, employees of Diamond Comics Distribution, telemarketers, the Comedy Central executives who cancelled Not Safe With Nikki Glaser, and Nazis are actual monsters) are chasing you, your ass better be on this side of the door before seven, or you're going to have to hit the streets and get Chick Tracts to get your comic fix.