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The Book I Will Write #56: Special Friendly Cuddle-Time Bookshoppe

THE BOOK I WILL WRITE by John Henry Fleming is a serial novel-in-emails about a would-be writer named John Henry Fleming who is desperate to publish a book. THE BOOK I WILL WRITE is a work in progress; readers are invited to make comments and influence the outcome. Fleming has been exchanging emails with an editorial assistant and a senior editor at Knopf, as well as with an agent. He’s been kicked out of his apartment, and is living at the library following a kidnapping episode with The Zeppelin Society. Now he’s being stalked by the murderous son of Reid Markham, the author of The Devil’s Good Graces, a book Fleming is trying to track down and read as an influence to his own, still unwritten, novel.

#56  SPECIAL FRIENDLY CUDDLE-TIME BOOKSHOPPE

Dear Henry F. Leming,

Our record shows you’re looking for a book called The Devil’s Good Graces by a certain author who no longer exists.

Good news! We have this book!

Normally, the cost would be $3995, which is what the internet says a Yugo cost when it first came out. Make something of that if you want.

So we have the book, and because you seem to want it so bad, we’re going to give it to you for $11, negotiable, which is the price of a pig’s asshole, if it’s prepared properly.

If you’re broke and homeless, we can negotiate a payment plan. For example.

But for that price you need to come get it.

And guess what?! We’re close. A lot closer than you think.

Just down the street, really. OMG!

In quiet moments, we’re sort of wondering why you or anyone would want this book. We mean, the author is dead, and probably no one has even heard of him anymore. We mean, what’s the point?

Is the book even good? We think that’s beside the point. What is the point? Not that.

Your payment plan could be like, Nothing down, and then more money when you get it. If you get it. If you don’t, that’s no problem. We’re generous like that.

The reason we’re generous is because we’re just barely in business. We’re selling out! We don’t have many books left, and we just want to get rid of them. Actually, this is our last book. And it’s taking up a lot of space. It’s a hardcover. And it smells. We were just about to throw it out when we got your email. Whew!

To sum, you’d better take advantage of our limited-time offer. It can’t be beat!

Here’s what you do. You exit the library and turn right. You go down the street about three blocks. Or drive a Yugo for symbolic reasons, if you have one. There’s a storefront that says For Lease. A big window in front but it’s frosted over with Christmas snow from holidays past so no one can see in. Maybe that’s why we’re going out of business. Maybe we stayed open for so long only so we could frost our windows for Christmas. We’re all about special family times.

The door will be open for you. We’ll have your book ready. We’ll ring you up good.

See you soon!

Special Friendly Cuddle-Time Bookshoppe

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About John Henry Fleming

John Fleming's stories have appeared in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, The North American Review, Mississippi Review, Fourteen Hills, and Carve, among others. He is the author of The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, a novel, and Fearsome Creatures of Florida, a literary bestiary. He teaches creative writing at the University of South Florida and is the founder and advisory editor for Saw Palm: florida literature and art. He blogs at johnhenryfleming.com.

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