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These Dusty Shelves; Open! Come one, come all!
Topic Started: Jan 28 2012, 10:29 PM (2,189 Views)
dmboogie
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((Daniel Whitten: Continued from All Happy Classes Are Alike))

The store was quiet, as it was most days. It wasn't very large, at least compared to the ginormous chain stores, but that was to be expected of a local store owned by a kindly elderly couple. The selection was still good, though, and there was a large variety of books, lining every wall in the store, with the exception of a small section where a comfy sofa sat and a counter with the cash register by the back.

Quite frankly, Daniel loved working here at Something Borrowed Used Books. It was such a nice feeling to be surrounded by books. It always felt somewhat hushed, peaceful. Business was usually pretty slow, and when he didn't have other duties to do, such as shelving new books, he could just sit behind the counter and read. Yeah, it might not be the most well-paying of jobs, but really, was that so important? He certainly thought not.

Today was like most other days, with only a handful of customers stopping by to browse the wares. Daniel'd finished shelving, and now was reading the latest installment of The Dresden Files. He wasn't exactly much of an urban fantasy fan, but Michael'd pressured him into trying them out. Man, it was worth it. Harry was one of the best protagonists ever. You've gotta love someone who faces hardship with Star Wars quotes.

Other than that, there really wasn't anything going on. Nothing to do but read and wait for the next customer to arrive.
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((Katy Warren, start))

Katy wasn't that big of a reader. Usually she only had time to crack open a manga or two. Most of her time was spent in school (martial or academic).

But she had some time to kill until she had to help Dad out with the evening classes, and the bookstore was near the school. Occasionally they had gems, too. Last time she'd found a copy of Musashi's A Book of Five Rings in great condition, save a few dog-eared pages. Kenjutsu wasn't one of her hobbies, but she'd been pleased with the purchase anyway.

She pushed open the door to the bookstore with one hand, the bell attached to the frame announcing her presence. The store was mostly empty, save one or two browsers and the kid working the counter. She recognized him vaguely as one of the people at her school. One of the quiet, awkward types that read and watched more than he talked. Uninteresting.

There was a rack with recently returned books, and Katy gravitated toward it. It seemed like as good a place as any, though she hadn't been in to browse in awhile so she had no idea what she might have missed that was already mixed into the general sections.

She started taking down books, looking them over, sometimes sucking her teeth audibly as each title disappointed her. When done, she put them back, sometimes (oftentimes) not in their original place. As she worked, she caught the eyes of a customer who seemed unhappy with her presence. Katy gave her an icy glare back. This wasn't a library. It was a business. She wasn't obliged to make anyone's experience more pleasant. There weren't rules about it (though there probably were, she wouldn't have cared anyway).

The other customer turned away and walked toward the back of the store. Katy resumed aggressively browsing.
Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 3 2012, 11:32 PM.
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Leona Van Kamp
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Daniel glanced up as the doorbell (no, it wasn't a doorbell, it was a bell attached to a door. Was there a name for that? He didn't think so. There should be.) rang, and a girl from his school walked in. Daniel'd never really talked with her, though he did know that she'd been held back for judo-ing someone. What was her name? Kathy? It didn't really matter, though.

Daniel returned his attention to The Dresden Files for a few minutes. Hecks yeah, Harry, you are the man with the magic. Let loose your vicious storm of sarcasm and pop culture references and cut down all in your path. None can stand before your mighty wit- that girl was messing up the bookshelf.

Dagnabbit, he'd worked hard on arranging that shelf. Sure, it's not like he had poured his blood, sweat, and tears into the oh-so-very difficult task of alphabetizing books by the author's last name, but still! It was all nice and orderly, just waiting for customers! Was it really so much work to take a note of where the book was before you took it off the shelf? Daniel sighed. Something must be done before the fabric of the universe was unraveled by this mess.

He slid a bookmark into his book and stood up after quickly checking that there was no one heading over to the counter. Daniel walked over to the disturber of the peace, and said "Er, excuse me, Miss, but would you kindly place any books you take off the shelf back to their original positions when you are done looking at them? It makes life much easier for everyone, you see."

Hopefully she wouldn't explode. Daniel'd had customers explode at him in the past. It was never enjoyable for anyone, really. A force of petty frustration, facing a wall of unflinching politeness, tended to only grow in power. It occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, it wasn't a good idea to antagonize a girl who not only had great skill in judo, but had also attacked people in the past.

Oh well. There were were ways to die than defending the honor of a defenseless bookshelf.
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Customer Service Bitch was in her space, Being the kind of bullshit-polite clerks were supposed to be when someone was being unpleasant. That kind of polite that hides the feelings that bubble just underneath the surface.

Katy turned on him, her jaw setting. She stared him down, looking very much like she wanted to say something, anything, that would escalate the situation.

She sucked on one of her canines as regarded the kid. Skinny as a rail, tall. Maybe before that...incident she might have responded less favorably to his request. But for her dad's sake, and with the help of a year's worth of counseling and anger management, she turned away and started putting some of the books back in their place.

"If I have to re-shelve these, then what the hell are they paying you for?" She half-muttered. Only half, because she meant the statement to be heard.
Edited by Outfoxd, Jun 4 2012, 12:09 AM.
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Ah, good, she was cooperating. She didn't seem happy about it, but she was cooperating. "Thank you, Miss." Daniel said, figuring it best not to reply to her rather obviously meant to be heard comment. Of course, this revealed rather a lot about the girl's character, namely, the lack of common courtesy. Just because, say, a school has a janitor, it doesn't mean you should throw all your miscellaneous junk on the floor!

Still, the situation turned out reasonably well. Daniel was saved a couple of minutes of extra work, and he didn't get a judo chop to the face. It would probably be best to retreat while he had the advantage; and so he returned to his counter, where a customer was, in a refreshing contrast to Ms. Disorder over here, waiting patiently.

At least bookstores tended to attract reasonably sane people. He'd heard many, many horror stories from people who worked as cashiers. Of course, he still had to deal with people asking him if he knew the name of the book with "A black cover, and it turns out they were twins" or being verbally abused because Twilight was in the fantasy section, and "OMG FANTASY IS FOR DWEEBS VAMPIRES ARE TOTALLY REALISTIC". Sure, it might have belonged in the romance section, but still, man. Vampires and werewolves. Urban fantasy is urban fantasy.

Speaking of which, after helping the customer, Daniel returned back to The Dresden Files. Go, Harry, go. Do the windy thing.
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She couldn't be angry. She didn't want to be violent. But goddammit, she could be an aggravating bitch of a customer. Katy decided that when the clerk turned back to his counter, with what she suspected (wrongly, more than likely) was a smug look on his face like he won the exchange. He thought he won? Fine, let him. He had just inadvertently broken his own kuzushi in the process.

When she was done replacing the books, Katy looked around the store, as if searching for something. Then, nodding to herself, she walked over the counter, the traditional "I'm a pissed, entitled consumer" look plastered onto her features.

She slapped a palm down on the countertop to get the clerk's attention. "Is there not a foreign book section? Or a sports section? This store is a mess. I can't find anything around here."

Edited by Outfoxd, Feb 4 2012, 12:25 AM.
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GO, HARRY, GO! YOU ARE THE PRINCE OF THE UNIVERSE! YOU HAVE INSIDE YOU THE BLOOD OF-and here was Ms. Disorderly Customer of the Day, slamming her palm down on the counter. Oh dear, she seems to have taken offense to my polite request. This'll inevitably end in tears. Daniel closed his book and looked up, smiling politely.

The smile was genuine. It took quite a lot to anger him, usually taking the form of insults directed towards his sister or Michael, especially when said insults were aimed at their deafness. An irate customer, admittedly one who seemed to bear a grudge? This was no thing!

"Is there not a foreign book section? Or a sports section? This store is a mess. I can't find anything around here."

That was actually a surprisingly good complaint, though it could have been worded to be a bit less rude.

"I am sorry, Miss, but all translated foreign books are just placed by their respective genres. There is a small shelf towards the back that holds untranslated books, but they are not sorted by language or country. As for the sports books, they all seem to be scattered around the non-fiction section. I agree that the store could be organized a bit better, but that is unfortunately out of my hands, as I am a mere clerk and book-sorter person."

Hopefully that was diplomatic enough to appease her, though if she was in the mood for a fight, Daniel figured that nothing he could do would prevent confrontation. The best he could do would be to minimalize damage.
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"Book-sorter? Then shouldn't you be sorting some books?" Katy kept the angry "goddamn" she had wanted to say before "books" out of her mouth. That would have been to far, then he could've asked her to leave. Which would have been a loss. A slip, a fall, a wazari for him.

At the least she could make it inconvenient for him. After all, he had done the same to her.

"Don't you have a computer or something? Bring up a database of titles? Japanese titles, specifically. I'd rather not go hunting around for something that isn't here."

Katy couldn't see a computer; just a book with some asshole in a suit and a fedora or something on the cover. Didn't mean the guy didn't have a computer under the counter. Although she doubted it was so at a hole-in-the-wall like this. In any case, she just wanted to eat up some more of his time.
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"Book-sorter? Then shouldn't you be sorting some books?"

The books were sorted. They may be sorted according to a system that admittedly needed a bit of work, but they were sorted! Anyway, wasn't it a bit hypocritical to complain about the way the books were shelved, mere minutes after messing them up yourself?

"Again, I apologize. I do not control how the books are sorted, I just place them where the existing system dictates that they should be put. I suppose that I could make a suggestion to the owners."

Really, Daniel figured that he should. Rude as this girl may be, good points were good points.

"Don't you have a computer or something? Bring up a database of titles? Japanese titles, specifically. I'd rather not go hunting around for something that isn't here."

Ah, they certainly did have a computer with the inventory and such on it. Unfortunately, said computer had died a mysterious death last week, and was currently in the repair shop, being fixed by whatever technology wizardry the technicians did. Daniel couldn't even pretend to understand the jargon that those fellows used. Of course, Ms. "I am not going to let you read your book, ever" probably wouldn't be pleased by this news.

"While we do have a computer, it's currently being repaired, and probably won't be back for a few more days. I believe that we have a paper version of the database, somewhere, but it would be a bit out of date, being made at the start of the month. I could dig it out, if you want."

Of course, he didn't really know where it was, but he didn't really have a problem with looking, as long as it kept the customer happy.
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Katy blinked, taken slightly aback. She hadn't expected him to actually have a computer. The moment of off-balance didn't last very long. She was almost pleased when he said there was a paper database he had to sort through.

"Technology, huh?" She said, smiling. He planted her weight, making it apparent before she even spoke that going through the paper database was exactly what she wanted him to do. Anything to make him waste more time.

"That would be lovely, actually. I might even buy something if you find something that catches my attention." It was less a statement and more a challenge. Find me something. Just fucking try, Customer Sales Bitch.

She spread her legs in a semi-horse stance and leaned her weight forward on the counter, ready to wait as long as looking through the catalogue required.
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The paper database it was, then, along with the challenge of finding this girl something she'd like. That might be difficult, since the only two hints he'd been given of her interests were sports and Japanese things, neither of which Daniel knew much about. Sure, he played soccer, but it was just this thing, you know? He didn't really keep up with teams or championships or whatever, and he certainly didn't read books devoted to the subject.

First things first, though, he'd have to find the database. "This may take a while. I hope you do not mind waiting." He said as he ducked under the counter. She certainly looked like she was comfortable. There were quite a few drawers to be sorted through, but after a few minutes the database was finally located. Now for the tricky part.

Let's see, what to do? Find something that looks foreign-ish and hope for the best? Too risky. Maybe it would be better to find something that Daniel knew was good, along with having an interesting premise. After an additional minute confirming that said series was in-stock, he looked up at the customer.

"Well, we have the Incarnations of Immortality series, by Piers Anthony. It's about normal people who become anthropomorphic personifications of concepts such as Death, War and Time. I definitely recommend it."

She didn't look like the sort of person who liked speculative fiction, but you never know. The success of this humble store depended on his choice! Well, maybe $7 wouldn't make that much of a difference, but it was the spirit of it, dagnabbit! His honor as a clerk was at stake!
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Katy's eyes narrowed. Her shoulders rolled forward. She shook her head, her lips curling into a sneer.

"Do I look like that would interest me?" She asked. That sounded like some of that magic and laser cannons bullshit, like Stars of the Rings or Lord Wars or whatever the hell that stuff was.

"Here, if I do look like it, let me fix that." Katy squared up with the counter, gripped the edge with her hands, and squeezed. Her biceps tensed up under the fabric of her coat.

"Sports and Japanese. Preferably sports stuff in Japanese." She didn't grit her teeth, but her molars scraped together. "I'm not looking for recommendations. I'm not looking for suggestions. I'm looking what I'm looking for."

At this point, Katy had gone so far in her need to make misery for someone she had forgotten why in the hell she was bothering by now. All she knew now was the she was on the attack, and damned if she wasn't going to score ippon.

((wanna thank you for the thread, DM. I'm having fun.))
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((No problem! Same here.))

Daniel gulped. Alright, now she was going from belligerent to threatening. Not good, not good. "S-sorry, I-I'll find something right away!" He stammered diving back into the catalog. Why oh why had he ever bothered her in the first place? The divine honor of bookshelves or whatever didn't seem like much when this rather muscular girl is up against your twig of a self.

Come on, books, don't fail me now! There has to be something Japanese in here, right? Argh, this wasn't the sort of obscure-import-foreign-culture book store that would have these books! It's not like they were specialized or anything! Sure, there might be one Japanese book hiding away somewhere, but again, nothing was sorted by language or country of origin! It's like searching for a single misprint in an unabridged copy of Les Miserables! Absurd!

Still, he desperately searched for something, anything, that would be acceptable. Finally, like a marooned sailor, alone in a desert island and dying of thirst, he found the metaphorical (simileical?) pool of fresh water.

Somewhat more calm, Daniel said "We have this one book on Kendo. I do not think that it is in Japanese, but I cannot pronounce the name anyway... It is in the nonfiction section, under WA. I hope that this will suffice."

Now, will she explode even more at him? Daniel waited for her reaction with bated breath.
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Katy could see the kid's nerves play across his face as her defiant stance had the desired effect. He was backpedaling, just the way she liked it. She was about to get even more belligerent when he mentioned they had...

Kendo? Now we were getting somewhere.

Katy relaxed. One could visibly see some of the prior anger leave her as if it was dripping onto the ground through her feet. She settled back on her heels.

"Actually, that would be lovely." She looked around, toward where she figured the nonfiction section would be.

She still wasn't done with him, though. "Could you pull it for me?"

She supposed she should have been happy that she managed to not escalate any further. She'd gotten in deep shit once before when she was angry. She was sure Daddy would be none too pleased if she tried to pop some asshole's head off over a book. The anger classes she had to take told her to just walk away from a situation like this. But she had to win this one.

Just this one. Then she could put it to bed. Not for them. For dad.

Katy waited for Salesboy to find her book.
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Good, good, good. She was no longer homicidal. In fact, she seemed almost pleased. He had not failed the hypothetical ancestral line of clerks that had lived before him. Hopefully, after he had finished this one last task she would be content to purchase her book and leave in peace. Somewhat relieved, he stood up and headed towards the non-fiction section.

It took him only a few seconds to locate the book he was looking for, apparently by some gentleman by the name of Watanabe. Ah, the wonders of alphabetical ordering. Is there any problem you cannot cure? Quite a few, actually. World hunger, poverty, war, crime... Oh well. At least the bookshelves would be nice and neat. Small solution, small problem. He grabbed the book and took a glance at the cover. Something about Kendo, a wooden sword, everything seemed to be in order.

Daniel returned to the counter, setting the book down. "Here you go, Miss. I hope that you will enjoy it. If you want to take a look through it before you make a purchase, you can sit down over there." He gestured towards the couch. If she didn't like it, no harm done, hopefully she'd put it back on the shelf without harassing him.

Of course, if she put it on the wrong shelf again he'd be a bit annoyed, but he certainly was not going to bother her about it again. Daniel felt that he'd had more than enough for one day, and his novel was calling for him. Go, Harry, go.

[[Daniel Whitten: Continued in Encyclopedia of Ignorance]]
Edited by dmboogie, Jun 7 2012, 11:13 PM.
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