Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Someone stole Buck's book at Tin Lizzy

I figured at $16.95 my book was a real steal. I just never figured anyone would ever really steal it.
But that’s apparently what’s happened.
I guess that means my little morality play is backfiring.
See, Buck paid $20 for the book last week but we pretended he paid $50.
Buck owns the Tin Lizzy, which in a small town way is like saying Walt Disney owned Disney World.
People say the Tin Lizzy like it’s just one place. In fact, it’s six very distinct places under one roof.
There’s the Main Street bar where I spend most of my non-office time. It’s where Buck and the regulars cluster.
Then there’s the Rathskeller, a perfectly cool basement bar with foundation, fireplace and timbers that date back to 1780.
The second floor is Flappers, a 1920’s-themed martini bar. It’s very posh and intimate. When guests come to visit, I make sure we have at least two or three cocktails in there. In the summer, the adjoining balcony is very popular.
Also distinct are the Jaffre’s Italian Restaurant dining rooms on the main and second floors. They serve great food to the entire building.
So it’s quite a complex.
And up above it all overlooking the town’s only street light and just across the hall Westmoreland County’s only indoor cornhole court (link below) is my shabby little office.
It’s all perfectly cool. And just last week I confirmed Arnold Palmer was either born here or spent his first months here.
How cool is that?
I confess I’ve been reluctant to write about moving from my old place to the penthouse suite at the Tin Lizzy for fear it would be like a twice-married husband comparing his wives.
And, please don’t allow the wobbly analogy to cloud your perceptions of my marriage, but I must convey what an essential part of my daily existence a good bar is.
It’s been a very happy transition for me. I really enjoying being a part of this vibe.
And Buck’s always stopping by the office to insult me.
He tells me my hair’s a mess, or that I’ve worn the same flannel shirt three times in the past week, both of which are patently true so maybe he’s more observant than rude.
But after he hurts my feelings he always invites me downstairs for a drink, which always improves my mood. I always stay for three or four, so he’s a very shrewd businessman.
He likes to joke, too. That’s how he wound up pretending to pay $50 for a book someone eventually stole.
I underestimated interest in reading this satiric kind of book.
Heck, I underestimate interest in reading any kind of book.
But people are so far really liking “The Last Baby Boomer.” One guy bought nine copies and orders of three or four are becoming common. I never dreamed it would become a gift book.
Best so far? A Bridgeville woman recommended the book to her reading group and they bought 15. They invited me to come speak to them, which I happily agreed to do.
So I’m emboldened about the book’s prospects and am trying to conceive ways to gin up a lot of interest, in this case by using a man interested in drinking lots of gin.
When Buck said he wanted to buy the book, I said sure, but let’s conduct the transaction in the bar when it’s crowded.
“And let’s pretend you’re paying $50.”
He agreed, he said, as long as there was no way in hell he’d have to actually pay $50.
And, boy, did we lay it on thick. We made the simple transaction seem like we were historic participants concluding the Louisiana Purchase negotiations.
It became in those few moments something more grand than a mere book. It was like literary Viagra or the cure for something itchy.
Alas, our little skit may have been too convincing because somebody stole Buck’s book.
“Yeah, I had it out upstairs and would stop and read a few pages, but I went by there about an hour ago and it was gone. I’d only read 10 pages.
Damn. I told him page 11 is when it really starts getting good!
I asked if he wouldn’t mind calling the police or the FBI to report the theft.
He declined.
I asked if we could do the whole thing over, again pretending a $20 was a $50.
He declined that, too.
He figures it’ll eventually turn up. He’s probably correct.
I fear he’ll soon report he found the book being used to prop up one of the restaurant’s dining room tables.
It’s a likely scenario.
Alas, the only thing more wobbly than the floors in this dear old building are my daffy bar analogies.

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