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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Barnes & Noble


Sitting in the Cafe at Barnes & Noble writing to you and drinking you know who. A cafe I've never heard of before sits in the middle of adventures and bios, bibles and sorrows, magazines and endless dramas.  Detectives try to solve the mystery of why and how a place can smell so good. As if I was working on my computer in the middle of Home Depot to the smell of wood and glue, paint and the smell of new.   The odor hit me right in the face the minute I walked through the giant silver swinging doors to Barnes & Noble. Like Oz, it opened, and like a kid I scurried through holding onto the lion's tail and singing songs with the whole crew.  The maze book shelves rang high and long, empty and alone, faces and titles that beg me stop, as they whisper in panic to, "Slide my book out and read my story, enter my world and get lost in its glory".  The authors were let down as I finally found the cafe.  Their eyes would fall short as their pages would fray. I felt as if I found water in the desert, or a cactus in the bay. The cafe is light green with yellow stripes down the walls, almost like I was in the Mary Poppin's movie when they jumped in the picture and watched the horse race. All I needed now was a hat and a cane, my dancing shoes and some talking penguins.  I scurried to find my work place, and my cold iced brewed coffee, yes a little bit of cream to make my stomach not turn. Then, I opened up my computer to write this to you.

The Barnes & Noble is connected to the mall, and a giant one at that.  I sit here typing on my second coffee wearing my Mary Poppin's hat.  I watch the empty mall so quiet and alone, as shops are open, but no one is home.  I wonder what it would be like to work in the mall, waking up early to open and close.  Listening to the chatter of others throughout the echoing breezeway and the footsteps of clatter, up and down like shoots and ladders.  Three stories of shops some might see, but I look at this mall as three stories of employees.  Are they happy? What brought them here?  Do they ever come down stairs to the Barnes & Noble where I sit and stare, like a creepo I look, with a dead empty stare?  Reminiscing the days when my wife Jessica worked here, Victoria's Secret in Sacramento, CA. Great job, but mean as hell they were to her.  Only if her bosses would see her now, the looks on their faces would make me so proud. This is when I was a janitor and driving the now famously told Dodge Neon.  McDonald's all day, and change that lasted a week.  We called it pocket diving, ever tried it? The things you will find when digging through old pockets and jackets, under car seats and backpacks.  One of the greatest moments in life was when I told my wife to quit her job, "We are moving to the bay to train at Cal Strength, for a new life, a new job."   Not saying working at the mall is bad, it was just a time when we were down and out, lost and sad. Until a lion killer gave out his callused palm, and the Don cut a check and gave us a pad, roof and a chance to become Weightlifting champions, to conquer our past and to live happy and strong.  From panties to bars, from sweeping to the stars, who knew these two lost broke lovers would be one day living on mars. 

In conclusion, and yes, I said in conclusion.  My English teacher would be happy, proper grammar and spelling, proper way of organizing and story telling.  But what is "proper" in a world filled with mazes and stories, books filled with pages that tell unexplained mysteries and unsolved crimes, unspeakable sorrow, mixed with the happiest of times.  Life is like this book store, so many stories to be told, but most importantly so many stories to be written. By you, by me, by us.  Life is full of surprises, adventures and opportunity.  You once might have worked in the mall, then find yourself writing at the mall.  You might read in book stores, then be published in the same stores.  I write this morning to tell a story to you.  One about me, my wife and the adventure we have been on.  What's your story? What's your adventure? Where do you sit today?  Where does the next page take you? Where does the next chapter lead you? How do you want your book to end?  I don't know where mine will end or what's next either.  I just know I'm drinking coffee while typing to you. The people walk by me as if I'm a ghost typing away amongst my coffee of hope.  Who knows... maybe one day my book, The Dark Orchestra, will sit on a shelf in this store. 

2020

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