Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Ms. Floor Candy was in again tonight. She wandered in while A Perfectly Reasonable Customer was buying her books. She spent the first twenty minutes critiquing the woman’s choices and Casually Mentioning how she hitchhiked through England looking for Alan Moore. “He was really sweet.” She clearly lied. “Very down to Earth in a way most people can’t even comprehend.”
Reasonable Customer knew her from somewhere, and had about an hour-long conversation where she’d mention a book or a movie and Floor Candy would say “Oh God. I totally forgot to mention those in my novel. The main character in my novel. My novel. The novel I just finished. Do you want a copy of my novel? I just finished my novel. I should go back and put a reference into my novel. The themes of my novel. Ursula Le Guin was upset with the way they toyed with her novel, so I’m not letting anyone toy with my novel. Oh, I know. My novel. Do you want me to e-mail you a copy of my novel? My novel…”
While she droned on, a guy came in and asked “Do you have any books in Chinese?”
"No. Sorry." I said.
"Porn?" He asked.
I pointed to the Adult Section.
A smell overtook the store. A distinct Someone Shit Themselves smell. I couldn’t be certain it was Floor Candy but she seemed the most likely culprit.
While Porn Guy was flipping through Japanese porn, I overheard Floor Candy prattling on. “I don’t see movies based on books. They never do them justice, which is why I won’t let them film my novel. It’s not really finished finished. I haven’t edited my novel, but I wrote it from page one to page done. Hee hee. Do you want me to e-mail you a copy of it?”
"This is bullshit." Porn Guy says. "These are censored."
I shrugged but had grown mute.
"Do you have scrap paper?" Floor candy asked. The distinct odor of shit lingering around the counter.
"Post It Note, ok?" I asked.
"Pohst Eet Note?" She asked in a creepy falsetto with an accent.
I handed her some post it notes and a pen. She held on to the pen but ran her fingers over the pen case. “Black black black black black black.” She said in a completely different fake accent.
"Bullshit porn." Porn Guy said.
I gave Floor Candy a different black pen. I looked at the clock. She had been in the store since the Mesezoic Age.
"Spoilers spoilers spoilers." She said, in response to what I’m not sure. This time in a deep baritone. "I don’t want anyone to spoil my novel." And then she said "My novel!" in the creepy falsetto again.
Porn Guy left. “Let me nooooooooooooooote that.” Floor Candy woman said, in response to something I hadn’t paid attention to. And she reached over the counter for a purple marker. Her arm and hand covered in indecipherable text. Tattoos from a blind artist on acid.
"Froggy." She said in the creepy falsetto. This was not in response to anything that involved frogs. "Froggy. Froggy. Nippy rabbit. I deed. I deed."
"Did you read Bone?" Reasonable Customer asked.
"I read Princess Bride. I reference it in my novel." Floor Candy said.
"What about Bone?" Customer asked.
"I’m waiting until it’s done. It’s taking forever." Floor Candy said.
"It’s been finished for almost ten years." I said.
"No. It’s not done." she said in her normal voice. "Not done." in creepy falsetto.
"It is, actually." I said. "They recently put out a sequel series of novels. But those are done now, too. But the original series ended in 2004."
"Some of them are done but not all of them." she said in a baby voice.
"Nope." I said. "They’re all done."
"All done." she said in the creepy baby voice.
Another hour passed. A day. A week. A month. A unit of time that even stars can’t conceive of..
"That reminds me." she said in her normal voice. "There’s a scene in my nov—"
"I’m so sorry." I said. "I just noticed that we’re actually closed." Something that must have looked like the inbred child of a smile and anguish spread over my face.
"Yea, I haven’t even eaten dinner yet." normal voice. "Yay, dinner!" creepy falsetto. "What type of food do you like?" weird baritone.
"I’m sorry." I said. "You really need to go. I have to" come up with an obvious lie to get you the hell out of this store "close up." Ok, that was just the truth.
"Cloooooooooooooooooooosed." she said in the baby voice.
"Thanks for letting us hang out." Reasonable Customer With Terrible Taste In Conversation Partners said.
"Bye." I said, closing the smell of human fecal matter on the other side of the door.
As soon as they went outside, I locked the door to the building, and went into the hall to find out what Floor Candy had written on the Post It Note.
"Writer. Looking for serious artists for collaboration. No weirdos."