It was a hot summer afternoon when I decided to visit a local bookshop to see if anything would jump out at me. I have been watching so much T.V. since this pandemic ravaged the country that I needed something to wake my sleepy mind up.
I’ve always been drawn to the scent of a bookshop. Yes, the scent. Especially an old bookshop – one that’s seen the years and is rustic and maybe even a bit foreboding. I was thinking of maybe getting another book by Jodi Picoult, one of my favourite authors.
My cousin Mary Ellen introduced me to her work and I have read several over the years. While looking around the aisles and shelves of great works of literature I couldn’t help but notice a sexy young man glancing over at me as I took books from the shelves to investigate. He must have been in his thirty’s. It was a guess. He looked like a news boy from days of old. I would have to guess Italian and maybe even a mix of something else like Spanish. My attention was on a book called Thirteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. A book I had read before when this stranger whispered “Have you ever tried H.P. Lovecraft?”
I hadn’t, and was a bit startled by his presence. He handed me a book called “The Thing on the Doorstep” by Lovecraft. “Try this,” he said. He handed me the book and caressed my hand unknowingly. For some reason I couldn’t refuse and I thanked him for the suggestion. I walked away excited to have had that encounter and had a premonition that I would be seeing this gentle fellow again. When I got to the check out the old lady behind the desk smiled and gave me a wink as she asked was this my first Lovecraft read. I said yes and wondered how she could possibly know this. Did I look curious? As I handed her the book, I noticed a note sticking out from the pages of this strangely illustrated book. She pulled the note out and handed it back to me. Her black shall flowing in the breeze from a large fan in the corner. I looked at the note. It was the gentle fellows number. With a sentence. “Call me and tell me what you think.” I wasn’t completely sure calling a stranger was a best practice but time would tell.
Now off to my apartment to begin reading this eerie thick book. I would start with The Tomb. The first short story in the compilation of writings. I lit some incense, put on some appropriate music and began what I felt was going to be the beginning of a great literary adventure. I’ll have to get back to you on that.
Author Bruce Christopher
Editor Martin Rye
Photography by Neko