once a week, gladys huntington--pillar of the literary world--leaves her post at the used books center to roll out a cart of free books in front of the library at my university. today, as she was about to depart, i trailed behind and watched as an older fair-skinned bald man dressed entirely in black (complete with matching cowboy hat) and his associate, a younger gentleman in board shorts and yankees tattoos approached gladys. their eyes were wide with the prospect of free reading, and they couldn't wait to get their grubby meat hooks on this week's selection. the tension was palpable. "can we help you do that, ma'am?" the albino cowboy asked, maybe five times as she made her way outside with the cart. "no, no, i've got it." she was stern, yet polite. gladys got to her destination, and started organizing the books while the cowboy and his associate started pulling it all out. one such piece that caught their attention was a 50s western dramatic script. they began acting it out:
"i do reckon that we better head this wagon train in." "you're right sheriff, we'd be smart to get ahead of the dust storm."
as gladys left, she turned to the two, not wanting to interrupt, but saying "i hope you find something good today." the cowboy smiled and said, "well ma'am, we met you, and thats good enough." i swear this happened. after a while they got bored and left so i started going through the books more closely: a 1993 guide to cheap parisian traveling, a few young adult romance novellas, a guide to sleep circa 1965, and the like. i decided to take with me two soft-bound books. one is called 'invitation to sociology' chosen mainly for its smart geometric 60s cover design. the other, by william e. miles, is called 'damn it!' and was chosen for obvious title-related reasons.