Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grunt from the Other Side


Yesterday I had the unique experience of being a Grunt while not actually at work.

You see, I recently published a chapter in a book (Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy), along with a friend of mine, and together we contacted the Booth and Noble at which I am employed to inquire about having a book signing. She and I were both happy as kittens to be there.

Of course, we know that this is a rather esoteric title, and the number of books signed and sold will be fewer than the number of people who saw The Love Guru, but we thought it would be fun nevertheless. How often does one get to do a book signing?

What we did not realize was that my job as a Grunt would significantly impact the people that approached us for our signatures.

We sat in our chairs and waited for the hoards of nerdos to attack.

No nerdos approached.

Instead, the man who approached our table glaced at us through eyes glazed with spirits. His shirt - ripped and moldy - hung from his body like rotting flesh from a zombie. A tiny bit of spittle sat, unmoving, from his slackened lips. He limped over to us.

My co-signer and myself smiled. "Hello."

He didn't glace at me, but concentrated solely on her. He leered at her chest and thrust his hand at her to shake. She gingerly took it.

"I live in Livingston, Massachusetts," he said after a short pause.

"Oh," she said.

"Why do you sign your book with your left hand?" he asked, "if you shake hand with your right?"

She stared at him. "I don't sign books with my left hand," she replied. "I sign them with my right."

He fingered an open bag of candy in his pants pocket slowly, and with deliberate hunger.

There was the most pregnant of pauses while she shifted uncomfortably and he leered at her.

"Massachusetts," he began, "is a good place to live. I go to the Barnes and Noble there."

"Ok," she replied. "Would you like me to sign a copy of the book for you?"

He paused and looked down at her chest again.

Then he took a piece of candy out of his pocket and slowly started to suck on it. He turned and walked away without saying a word.

Not once during this interaction did he look at, or talk to, me.

There was silence for a moment while we watched him walk away.

"So..." I said. "I guess he's not a fan of the show."

We turned to face the store, our faces held high and our spirits undaunted. There were books to sign, and we had a job to do.

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