Grace finished dusting the front display of best-selling novels before turning to the non-fiction table. She could hear Micah reading a circus book to a group of giggling toddlers. His voice rose dramatically, "The roar of the greasepaint, smell of the crowd."

She grinned. Micah had turned Story Hour into a hit. Hiring a college student had been a stroke of genius. Unpublished authors simply didn't have the right disposition to work in a bookstore. They were always sneaking off to listen to the Bat Segundo show on their Mp3 players or logging onto the Internet to read publishing gossip on that Galleycat website. No, she'd hired her last wannabe writer, thank you very much.

Professor Jacoby hobbled toward her, clutching a copy of "National Geographic."

"You're limping, Professor. Did you fall?"

"No, Grace. It's my damn bunion. I'll be fine. In the meantime, I'll take this." He thrust the magazine toward her. "There's an excellent article on the destruction of the marshy habitats of the Diamondback Terrapin."

Grace rang up the purchase and escorted the scholar to the door. A dogwalker with a pair of promenading poodles sauntered past. She stared after them with envy. It was such a beautiful day. She'd much rather be outdoors.

The phone rang and she answered. "Book Nook, New and Used."

An elderly female voice asked, "Do you have 'Will of the Wisp'"

"'Will-O-The-Wisp'? The Swann version or the one by Wentworth?"

"Oh, I didn't realize there was more than one book by that title. My husband didn't give me the author. His mind isn't what it used to be. A bit of a muddle, I'm afraid."

"We do have a first edition of the Swann for $30, but the Wentworth costs $295."

"Oh, my. I'll have to call back. Thank you." The woman hung up.

The bell over the front door tinkled. Grace looked up. Her heart sank. It was that agent again. The one they called Miss Snark. Ever since her hardcover non-fiction made the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, she'd been dropping by more frequently.

"It's good to see you again," Grace lied.

The elegant agent headed directly to the display dedicated to her book. "There are gaps in this display," she snapped. "Drop everything and give me ten ... books."

Grace hurried to comply. Since the last Snark attack, she'd kept a box of the book nearby. The thing was, those books were selling like hotcakes. She couldn't replace the gaps in the display fast enough.

Miss Snark continued to tap her stiletto heel as Grace positioned the new books. The brightly colored cover bore an adorable photo of the agent's poodle below the title, "The Tao of Yapp."

The agent was muttering. Grace heard the word 'nitwit.'It was the final straw. She swung around and in a clear voice said, "Your mother wears Army boots."

Miss Snark paled and reached a shaky hand out to steady herself. "I never," she gasped before sinking into a dead faint.

Miss Snark says: clearly this is memoir thinly disguised as a short story.

Scoring to come


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Say, you don't work for me do you? This is a bit close to reality. Fun!

JLB said...

Gotta watch out for the Snark Attack!

Anonymous said...

Thinly disguised memoir or not--This needs to have the cover of the book attached. I'd love to see it as a postcard, given out at the next Bouchercon. No, wait. For sale. I'd buy!


Anonymous said...


and *gasp* the treacherous word verification is back with a vengeance.

McKoala said...

LOL, nice!

Anonymous said...

Tentative score so far: 78, plus five for gently funny, plus another 30 for telling that agent... er, never mind; I'm pretty sure I don't have that kind of power.


Emjay said...

Very cute and literary.

Also good sucking up--er, I mean references to Miss Snark which should get you some of her famous 27 points.