Nov 08 2005


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Greg sat, hands folded on the table, looking around the room in a state of expectant readiness, with a stack of copies of Retrograde Maneuvers at his side. He was still less-than-thrilled about the cover, depicting as it did a stylized cartoon man sitting backwards on a stylized cartoon motorcycle, pointing as if to say “Go that way!” Yes, it fit the title of the book, and yes, the main character of the book rode a motorcycle … but there wasn’t any scene like that in the book, leading Greg to the conclusion that it was misleading at best.

He’d been at Big Book Barn for at least half an hour, so far, and aside from a few friendly inquiries that hadn’t gone anywhere, his attempted signing was something of a flop. Of course, he hadn’t been able to talk-up the event properly — his agent had simply called up at four and said, “Get ye to Big Book Barn tonight at 7:30!” and so off Greg had get ye’d.

“Um … how’s it going?” said a familiar voice off to his side, causing him to make an extremly undignified squeak. Yvonne, wearing a lanyard with some kind of electronic key around her neck, stood there in a manner that could only be described as “perkily.”

Greg stifled his first intended response, which was “Good lord!” and instead managed to reply with a civilized, “Oh, hello! What are you doing here?”

“I work here!” she replied, shaking the electronic key on its lanyard. “I didn’t know you were going to do a signing here. It wasn’t in your blog!”

“Oh, yes, well, it was very short notice,” said Greg. “You read that, do you? Fancy that.”

“Yup! Ever since I read the book and saw the URL down on the bottom of the back cover. If it hadn’t been for the picture on your blog, I would never have realized that you lived across the hall from me! I was like, ‘Hey! I know that guy!'”

“Aheheheh … amazing, isn’t it, how you can feel like you know someone from catching glimpses of their public face … when really that person’s just a total stranger. They may lead a totally different life from what you expect!”

“That’s so insightful,” Yvonne replied, beaming. “I bet you have layers of wisdom that your book only begins to hint at!”

“Er,” said Greg. That wasn’t at all the response he’d been hoping for.

-The Gneech

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