Invisible - Part 6

Continued from Part 5

(Public Domain)

Part 6:  Em’s Bookshop

Mac pushes through the door that says "Em’s Bookshop," tinkling the little bell that hangs above it.  The shop isn’t huge, not like those behemoth bookstores that proliferate in L.A. There’s one in every mall, which are behemoths themselves. Not one whit of charm.  But this shop oozes charm. He likes it.

He looks around. In the front, left of the door where he remembers there being twirling wire racks holding paperbacks and comic books, there is an old wooden counter, now unoccupied, with a cash register sitting on it.  Signs on the wall behind it colorfully advertise new releases. To the right of the door, in front of the display windows that face the street outside, several comfortable chairs gather into an inviting seating area. Nice, way better than the wheelchairs and walkers wearing signs that said “For Rent” that used to gather there. A woman sits in one of the easy chairs facing away from him, engrossed in her book.

In the center of the store are books in rows of shelving that display them according to category.  From between Fiction and Poetry, where the soda fountain used to be, he sees a guy wearing brown cords and a rather misshapen forest green sweater emerge, a dog at his heels.  The man smiles at him as he approaches, but there’s something kind of sad about him. There’s nothing sad about the dog, though. As some dogs do, this guy is smiling.  He has one ear up and the other down, a real Disney dog. Spotting Mac, the pooch runs up and circles him, tail going a mile a minute.

“Moochie, cut that out! No begging from the customers!” The man holds out his hand to Mac, and says, chuckling, “Sorry about that. He’s very friendly and won’t bite, but he’s always hungry. If you’d had a donut or something, you wouldn’t have it anymore.”

Mac shakes his hand, and says, “No worries. I like dogs.”

Leaning down to pet the pup, he immediately sends Moochie into paroxysms of pleasure. He falls to the floor belly up, squirming as Mac scratches his chest. Laughing, Mac says, “Cute guy.”

“Can I help you find something?” the man asks.

With a final pat, Mac straightens up and looks around. “Not unless you tell me that the soda fountain is hidden in the back somewhere.”

The man smiles and says, “No, sorry. That’s long gone, ever since Em’s Bookshop opened years ago. When the drugstore fell on hard times, we leased the space, and here we are.”

“Are you Em?” Mac asks.

“No, that was Emmaline, my wife. She died a while back. It's just me now, and Mooch here, of course. I’m Milo.”

“Oh. I’m so sorry. Nice to meet you, Milo and Mooch. I’m Mac. No soda fountain, huh? I’m hungry, but I noticed a deli next door. I’ll give that a try.” Mac sweeps his eyes around the room. “But first I think I’ll wander around a bit. To be honest, this is a bit of a journey back in time for me. I grew up here, and my buddies and I spent more time hanging out in the drugstore, reading comics and drinking soda than we did doing our homework.”

“Ah. I see. Come with me.”

Milo leads Mac over to the counter and reaches beneath to pull out a battered shoe box. Rummaging through it, he says, “This is a bit of memorabilia we saved from the drugstore.” He retrieves a picture and hands it to Mac. "This was taken out front. The booth is long gone---aren't they all?-- but maybe you’ll remember it. It should be from around your time.”

Mac takes the old photo, and bursts out laughing. “Oh. My. Gawd! I think that’s my keister posing so fetchingly up there on top! Now that’s a motley crew if ever I saw one. Thank goodness my face is invisible!”

From the chair where she's been eavesdropping, Miriam thinks to herself, thank goodness mine is too.

Continued in Part 7: Memories

Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge 11, Muse 6: "A Motley Crew"


  1. I think you'd be surprised by the bookstore culture here, nowadays!

    Oh, geez... not sure how I went from dog to homeless drunk... when Mooch is indeed a dog. I blame... my breakfast. Which was a banana, a yogurt, and an apple. No alcohol, which may have been my mistake.

    Third paragraph: "... a dog at his heEls"

  2. You should have seen me cheering when you dismissed the idea of Mooch's doghood in the earlier part.


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