think Casa Blanca
| White House
My book store is "White House" and is located in nowhere, Montana. You wouldn't know the town, and it isn't on any map, so I won't even name it. Kind of a wide spot in the road. The name of the store is kind of a take on the movie "Casablanca". You know, the one with Humphrey Bogart. World War II romance, spies and all. Great movie. And I think I have a great book store.
You will find books not found anywhere else. My store is piled high with the rare, the esoteric, the mundane books from all over. People drive from everywhere to my little establishment to find just the right tome. It is dusty and crowded and perfect. There is even a resident cat and dog.
Mickey from the down the street wanted to put a bar in here a few years ago. After all, the town only had one bar, not nearly enough says he. After giving that some thought, well, heck, why not; so in went a small bar. We serve drinks only, nothing on tap. No fancy beers or such. Just whiskey, gin, brandy, you know. Small drinks in small glasses kept on the bar. Customers could grab a book and read while they drink. That was the idea, anyway.
Turns out the bar idea was a rousing success. I doubled my traffic in the first month. I like to think it is my witty repartee', but perhaps the bar helped. I do know the income helped. So then Julie from out on an organic farm came in and told me she can do some appetizers, they would go great with my little bar, don't I think? It would be the perfect match. After giving that some thought, because I have to now ponder on hiring another person to help with all this. I think, sure, why not? So we start with appetizers. Again, a rousing success. I now have to hire another person, as I had thought.
My friend John puts an ad for part-time help in the online job board for Montana. He's my computer guru since I don't touch the electronic world. Soon applicants are showing up at the store. One is a tattooed kid who doesn't know anything about books, but a lot about computers. No thank you, see you later. Another is an older lady, she is nice enough but has a problem working with alcohol. Sorry, she won't work out. And then, and then: "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine." to quote Humphrey Bogart from the movie Casablanca. SHE shows up.
I knew Margaret from our time at the university. We were an item for a time, then she left. Left as in vanished without a word. Broke my heart, just like in the movie.
Beautiful as ever, she stood there looking at the books. She pulled one out, gave it a quick once over, replaced it. I walked over and she saw me for the first time in years.
"Well, hello! My goodness, George! Fancy meeting you here!"
"Margaret. Yes, fancy that."
She looked around. "Do you know who owns this place? I am applying for a job here."
"You're looking at him. I'm the owner."
"Really? You? Wow, that's a surprise. Last we knew each other, you were going to go conquer the world with your political skills. You were going to be president or some lofty, noble goal like that."
I chuckled. "People change, I changed. This is what I do now. I kind of gave up on that idea. I guess I decided I would change the world one book at a time."
She laughed, the same over-the-top laugh I remembered. "In backwater Montana? How is that going for you George?"
"Actually, better than you might think. And I think I have some bad news for you. The job I had advertised is filled. I hired someone just yesterday."
"Really? Well, darn. I guess I drove all this way for nothing. But then, it was pretty and all with the mountains." Margaret grabbed the book she had been looking at and put it on the counter. The title was ' Girl, Stop Apologizing'. I had just unpacked that the other day. Seemed appropriate. "I'll take this book."
And just like that Margaret once again vanished from my life. But this time she was gone for good. I hired another applicant for the part-time job. But this young lady had real possibilities.
*'Girl, Stop Apologizing' is the title of an actual book found on booksamillion.com. The author is Rachel Hollis and the publisher is Harper Collins.