The ever inventive Pat presented us with 10 unusual, but real book, titles for this week’s mlmm Sunday Writing Prompt:
- People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How They Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to do About it
- Living with Crazy Buttocks
- Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy
- Don’t Tell Mum I Work on The Rigs, She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse
- Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop and Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom
- Managing a Dental Practice, The Genghis Kahn Way
- The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook
- The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
- Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand: And Other Life (and Death) Lessons from the Front Line of Forensics
- Sunbeams May Be Extracted from Cucumbers, But the Process is Tedious
And charged us with writing three 10 sentence jacket blurbs, or using one of the titles in a piece of prose, poetry, whatever. I bent the rules (as I often do), and wrote a tale that includes the titles of all ten books.
Readings bookstore began it’s life as a voodoo and palm reading “palace.” When the owner went “up-state” on a 5 to 10 for fraud, Jesse realized her dream born of her love of books . But having used all her available cash to purchase the store and stock it with used books, she couldn’t afford renovations. Hence, the neon voodoo sign still glowed on grey drizmal days and street-lit nights.
Her staff took the strange surroundings to heart; Penn Steller delighted customers with mind-reading what sort of books they sought. Sherl Holmes studied the customer, then made pronouncements about their life in books. With an espresso machine, and a few tables and chairs in the back corner, all sorts of people walked through the door. Which meant she shelved books under strange categories for even stranger clientele.
For example, her strange little man, Mr. Ochmonek, the cloppsright with a small, dusty shop from across the street. Jesse didn’t think of him possessively, but staff referred to him as “hers,” so her felt like his personal shopper.
Barely 5 ft tall, and slender, he tended towards eccentric styles. Today, he wore an battered grey fedora ala Bogart as Sam Spade sans trim-ribbon, a trench coat several sizes to big, belted with a sash. He wore wool trousers – though Spring had finally shown her sunny face, finished off with mismatched socks and shoes. A pair of round, gold-rimmed wire glasses perched low on the bridge of his nose. His Beethoven hair was in need of a cut; it choked the collar of his coat. His thick beard also in need of a trim.
The staff ran a lottery to guess his age; Jesse didn’t place a bet. He could be anywhere from 40 to 105. In her dreams, he was the son or grandson of the traveling gnome. But his adventures were between the pages of books.
Exchange day, as she came to think of it; used bookstore as lending library. Every few weeks he would purchase a few obscure volumes on a wide range of topics from dead people with attachment issues to preparing chocolate confections for Armageddon. Then, having consumed them, he would sell them back to the store. Asking exactly the price of his next set of books.
He read widely, often fixating on a particular sort of book. There was his erotic sensualism period when he lusted over Titula Bonkings Marxist romp, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy; Lolita Joel’s fictional autobiography, Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse; and Arsenio Buminski’s master work — post-neo-lit-crit explorations of British colonial wives’ secret desires, Living with Crazy Buttocks.
Then the paranormal and the after life haunted him: People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead: How they Attach Themselves to Unsuspecting Bystanders and What to Do About It – a collaboration between horror fiction writers Stephanie Kinglet and Alfreda Hitchman; and the scathing expose, Never Suck a Dead Man’s Hand: And Other Life (and Death) Lessons from the Front Line of Forensics by C.S.I. Perrette, a crime scene veteran and flash fiction writer.
When something as eclectic and eccentric as the gentleman himself arrived on the selves, Jesse put the tome aside. She never knew when he might want to hunker down with survivalist literature: the New York Times best seller, Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop and Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom, companion to Preserving Your Artichokes from Ogres: A DYI Guide to Trapping Fairy Kingdom Pests; the ground-breaking nilhilistic existentialist graphic novel by Chip Harrison, The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse; or Carla Sagana’s cosmic conundrum, Sunbeams May Be Extracted from Cucumbers, But the Process is Tedious.
Knowing his favourite authors, she set aside Dr. Attila Molar’s Managing a Dental Practice, The Genghis Kahn Way. Scooping a signed copy of Chef De la Flambés’ The Pyromaniac’s Cookbook was a hot pick. She smiled at Mr. Ochmonek. “The usual,” she asked. “Why yes, triple double coconut milk mocha mint pumpkin spice chai latte, if you don’t mind. And, I was wondering if you had any books on the subject of . . .”
Silliness inspired by mlmm sunday writing prompt – what’s in a name? A book, by any other name, would read so sweet . . . .
image: © Richard Davis Photography