Stalker Time

I know I've talked about stalkers before, but I actually have one now. It started on a Friday a few weeks ago and lasted a whole week. This guy came in at 9 am and found me working in my history section.

"Excuse me, I've got a question. Are these books all true? I don't want something that somebody made up. I want real stuff."

"Well, sir, this is the history section, and everything in here is going to be true for the most part. If it isn't true, it'll be in our fiction section. Is there something particular you were looking for?"

Now, I should note here that at this point, the guy was fairly normal. Nothing too out of the ordinary for our clientele. He did smell a bit funky, though, which he actually explains later.

"No. I just want something real."

"Is it for you or a gift for someone else?"

"Actually, it's for everyone."

"Oook. You might want to try a Pulitzer winner. They're usually pretty good."

"What's that?"

"It's an award given out for excellent writing," I said, kind of surprised that this would even need explaining. That was my first hint.

"Oh. What about this book on ancient Egypt?"

"Sure, that'll work."

"I know a little bit about Egypt, like when God came down and told everyone he was still there and to behave themselves."

Whoa.

"Well, thanks. You've been a lot of help."

All righty. So I wandered off for a few, and Amanda comes up to me and tells me that this is the guy who asked her if it snowed in Bethlehem. Wonderful.

Anyways, about 10 minutes later I come back and try to get some work done. He starts talking to me again.

"Hey miss, I've got a question for you. What's your favorite book?"

"Well, I really don't have a favorite book, but my favorite author is Anne Rice."

"Who's she?"

"She writes the Vampire Chronicles."

"Is there murder in them?"

"Well, yeah."

"Good murder or bad murder?"

"Is there a difference?"

"Are good people killing bad people or are bad people killing good people?"

"Well, everyone's equally as bad in those books."

"Bad murder then."

Just then my coworker Debbie walked up and interrupted me for a minute. I was gone for about 5 more minutes. I come back and he's still sitting there.

"I really like Bill Clinton. I think something happened to him. I touched his spirit and if it doesn't say something about that in this big book, I'm gonna punch him!"

He was holding a copy of "My Life".

"Why does he look younger on this book, but older on this one, when this one was taken after this one?" he asks, comparing two books.

"Umm, I don't know."

"I think he went to church and was saved. He was touched by the Holy Ghost and he walks with God now. He's a holy roller now, YES!"

Whoa, ok. Walking away. I think I worked info for a little while, to give the man some time to get his ass out of my section. He's still there when I come back 20 minutes later.

"Ma'am, I've got another question for you. Do you know who Emmanuel Rodgers is?"

"No, I don't."

"That's ok. He gives lectures and seminars about the rightful place of a woman."

There was an uncomfortable silence, during which I contemplated kicking him in the nuts or the neck. I walked away instead. I covered a music lunch, took my own, and wandered aimlessly for a little while. I came back to my section about an hour and a half later. He was sitting there reading the Bible and laughing. He left me alone for a few minutes before he opens his mouth again.

"Wow, you've been here a long time; when do you leave?"

I lied, and went to tell a manager that this guy was a wacko. I was told there was nothing we could do about him. More on that later.

Anyways, after that, I went back to make one last attempt to get some work done. He's still there.

"We've been talking for a while now, so let me introduce myself---You know, some girls have told me they like the way a man smells."

What the hell kind of segue was that?

"I've decided that I will be cleansed on God's word alone. I won't take showers or use deodorant as often. I really want some steak. But I don't have any money. If I go to Outback they won't give me a steak unless God changes their hearts and makes them give me a steak."

I ran away permanently after that. Not only was he creeping me out, he was making borderline sexual harassment remarks. I told management again about this. I'm the last person to say that I'm uncomfortable around people, but this was just a nutjob. I was told again that there was nothing we could do unless he does something really bad.

Whatever. So that was all Friday, Saturday I had off, (but heard he was in) and Sunday I worked, but he wasn't there. I figured he was at church or something.

I came in on Monday and I didn't see him until halfway through my shift. All he did was stare at me for four hours.

Tuesday I closed, and didn't notice him until about 9pm. I was putting some books away when I stumbled upon him.

"Oh hi. You know, we talked a lot the other day and I wanted to tell you that I lived in Texas for a while. I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was gonna die. I thought I was gonna die."

"Well, you obviously didn't," I snapped and picked up a stack of books and walked away.

I came in on Wednesday morning so I could finish up some stuff. I was in jeans and a camouflage shirt since I wasn't really there.

I was sitting on the floor surrounded by giant medical books, when he walks up behind me and stands there.

"Are you in the army now?"

"Yeah."

Silence.

"That looks like hard work. You should just throw the books in there in any order and go take a break. Do they give you free Cokes? Aren't you thirsty? Do you want some water?"

"No, no and no."

More silence. He stands there for about 5 minutes, and all the while I'm thinking, "Let him say something crazy and I will hit him in the kneecaps with one of these bigass books. We'll have a Nancy Kerrigan incident right here."

"Well, I gotta go talk to someone I haven't talked to in a while. Do you know who that is? He's my daddy. Jesus Christ. Do you want him to be your daddy, too?"

"Not particularly, no."

He gasps. "That's a sin! Don't you ever say that again!"

I'm walking away and laughing. I thought that may have scared him off, but he came in on Thursday and stared some more.

Friday I closed again. He was chilling in the back as usual. I saw a couple come out of there and asked if he was bothering them. They said he wasn't, but he was asking a little too many questions about their baby.

I pointed him out to a manager that had been on vacation during all of this, and she took the music person, Lynn, with her so she could see too. I stayed in music. He follows them back.

"Hi! How're you doing?"

The manager calls me to the office. He follows me out of music and continues to look longingly in my direction as I go inside. He then proceeds to stare at Lynn for 5 minutes. She was so creeped out by it she called her boyfriend in. He sat outside until we all left that night. I told Lynn to keep that man.

The manager and the only male bookseller there that night, Erik, kicked him out after that. He left without a fight. He hasn't been back since.

I told Don about all this and he didn't believe me. He said the guy looked nice. I had to tell him the whole story before he would admit the guy was a whackjob. I was told by every manager there that we could do nothing legally unless he really did something horrible. My parents said that was bullshit. They said that it sounds like management cares more for a customer who doesn't buy anything more than one of their employees. I told management that if he ever comes in again, either you kick him out, or I'm calling the cops myself. They seemed fine with that.

My mom asked about loitering, and if we could get rid of him for that. That means we'd have to kick out half our clientele. Total garbage.

Anyways, that's the main story this month. The other big one is that Don's leaving to go to one of the Madison stores. Today was his last day. So, we're going to be without a store manager until whenever Grimace gets off her ass and appoints one. None of our current assistant managers are getting it.

Wowza. I think that's the longest chapter yet. What a way to start off book two!

And okay, Darkwater, I emailed you right before I typed this up. Here's the review he/she left in its entirety:

"You are aware that you have the story about the author of The Cannibible wrong, aren't you? And, considering that performing the practices described in many of the books B&N has in its Sexuality section violate the laws of the state the bookstore is in, why wouldn't B&N carry the Cannibible, when growing/posessing small amounts of marijuana is perfectly legal? (Often these are the same states that hold that non-penile-vaginal intercourse is illegal.)"

About Ed Rosenthal: No, I was not aware that this was not accurate. Hell of a time to bring that up, though. I remember seeing that on a scrawl on CNN or some other news channel a few years ago, when I first started writing this. It stays. Because I'm fallible.

About the whole marijuana/bondage thing: Okay, that's nice. If I remember correctly, I didn't say anything about The Cannabible being bad or illegal or whatever. I merely mentioned it to illustrate that people a) have no shame when it comes to drug use (because they smell like it) and b) to let people know that, yes, indeed, big corporate B&N carries such things.

If you left this review to scare me/impress me, you have failed. If you left this review to point out a few things to me, duly noted. They marijuana/bondage portion doesn't seem particularly relevant, but whatever.

(AN: the content of my email to Darkwater was decidedly more hostile. "excuse me god. I didn't realize I was in the presence of divinity. Can't I make a mistake?" is what it said, if I remember right.)

Anyways, thanks so far for all the support. And to my fellow hooligans at the B&N that have finally found this, about damn time!