6.23.2006

I hope I get to make this post before I run out of time.

I'm at the Barnes and Noble across the street from the Starbucks I usually go to to escape the madness of my house (which is why I don't laugh - ever - when I see a writer at Starbucks trying to "catch the coffeehouse vibe" or whatever, because they might be like me - they might live in a zany, madcap house filled with annoying animals and messes that need to be cleaned and whatever).

I'm here instead of Starbucks because Andrea wanted to do some book shopping. She decided to do book shopping at the last minute, as we passed the store.

"What the hell," I said, "They have internet and coffee. Might as well."

The problem:

Andrea brought two books with her FROM HOME to read while we sat at Starbucks - a new Iris Johanssen book and a Sudoku book (she's a Math major and loves the stuff). When we go to Starbucks together, she reads while I write (or surf or whatever). It helps kill the time. Since we decided to change locations mid-stream, neither one of us thought of the potential impact of this.

So, we enter the Barnes & Noble store to the warm, soft sounds of an alarm going off - apparently, somewhere in these brand new pants of mine, is one of those RFID alarm tags that I just can't seem to locate, because this has happened at several stores today. No biggie, right? The clerk comes over, sees that we just entered, and immediately doesn't care.

We sit. We drink coffee. I write. She reads. Yay.

The trouble comes when I was trying to leave the first time.

Because of the goofy tag thing, I tripped the alarm.

They decide they need to look in my bag - which is cool, I don't mind.

They find Andrea's books. Obviously, since she brought them from home, we have no receipt. But they're very new, she got them about 2 weeks ago on our last book shopping trip.

And now, I'm sitting in the back room of the Barnes and Noble waiting for the Police to show up - I kid you not.

They didn't want to let me use my computer, but fuck them - they're Barnes and Noble employees and I'm the size of a Volkswagen Vanogan - they aren't going to stop me.

Anyway, I thought you'd all enjoy knowing this.

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UPDATE:

Ultimately, it turned into a non-event. The manager there knows my name from my previous book signing calls (which is funny - I've signed at downtown, midtown and Buckhead stores, but little 'ol Fayetteville, GA is just too good to have a "Vanity Press" author sign there when it's not a specific, small-author event). Because the police had been called, she had to hold us there until they got there (or else, it's some sort of false alarm, or "fleeing the scene" or something), or else she would have just let us go. The cop showed up, saw the books, and said "Yeah, uh... This is nothing." The manager agreed and we were free to go.

Sorry for the huge build-up, followed by a bit of a fizzle, but hey - at least this ONE TIME things didn't end with me having to make yet another call for bail.