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Hell is Other People; alternate title: "sour and sour" - calling on zarina
Topic Started: Jul 27 2016, 04:31 AM (337 Views)
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((Min-jae Parker continued from Bittersweet and Sour))

Jae's motives for swinging by the bookstore on a Sunday afternoon were twofold; one, Nadia's birthday was coming up and they were friends or something so he should probably get her a gift. Two, he was fucking bored.

Okay, that was being a bit uncharitable. He and Nadia were friends, as much as they sniped at each other, and she deserved a little something special for her upcoming 18th. He had vague aspirations of finding some novel with all that jazz about empowerment and stuff that she liked, or maybe the next book by this author she'd been reading lately. He'd made a note of the author's name in his phone, because he could barely remember how to spell it and had no hope of pronouncing it if someone asked what he was looking for. He'd never read anything by this chick, but apparently Beyonce had referenced her or something during a show, so she was kind of a Big Deal. Also something about feminism and human rights, which was Nadia's jam when it came to literature.

In short: if he couldn't find anything by this Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie person in Kingman, he was going to have to resort to ordering things off of Amazon again, and the things he bought for his friends guaranteed that all the "recommended purchase" emails that he got from them were ever-increasingly weird.

The (fake) bell over the bookstore's front door chimed as Jae pushed his way in. The store was practically deserted, save for the bored-looking girl at the front desk that Jae thought he vaguely recognized as a Cochise student from the grade below him. An empty store suited him well enough; nobody to distract him from browsing or complain that he was blocking a shelf or anything.

He didn't bother to say anything to the girl as he made his way back to the fiction novels. He wasn't sure what genre he was looking for, so he figured that working his way through alphabetically was his best bet.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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So much for browsing without interruption. Jasmine - he was pretty sure the girl's name was Jasmine, though his memory space devoted to Jasmines in the junior class was mostly full of the other Jasmine and all the myriad reasons to avoid her - had perked up as soon as she realized the person coming through the door was from Cochise. Jae personally couldn't say that he especially liked bumping into people he knew while he was at work, but he supposed an empty store on a Sunday afternoon was boring enough that you'd take what you could get.

"Hey, Jazz." Did this Jasmine also go by Jazz? He didn't know. He also didn't intend to get sucked into conversation with her long enough to find out.

Jae located the sign designating the fiction section and paused before it, wondering if it would be easier to just head over to the As and start looking there or if he should check "New Arrivals" first. He wasn't sure how recently this Adichie person's last book had been published, but maybe it was worth a shot?
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Wow, this chick must be really bored. Or maybe she was just one of those overly-helpful types eager to make a sale, from the way she was beaming at him. Either-or.

Well, at least she might know what he was looking for. "Yeah," he said shortly, digging in his jacket pocket for his phone. "Hang on." Phone retrieved, he brought up his memos and located the author's name. "You know if you've got anything by..." Jae eyed the name suspiciously before slowly sounding it out. "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...?"

God, he hoped he hadn't mangled that too badly. He knew how annoying it was when someone butchered your name or native language just because it wasn't English. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie might not have been around to hear it if he had completely messed up, but that didn't mean he was going to disregard how her name was supposed to be pronounced just because nobody was there to correct him.

Unless Jasmine turned out to be a fan like Nadia was, in which case he was fucked. Jae gave her a sidelong look. Unfortunately there were no identifying marks or sign over her head that could tell him if she was hardcore into feminist foreign literature or not.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Well, bullet dodged there at least. Jae moved to the desk and wordlessly held his phone out to Jasmine so she could see the memo he'd made with the author's name. Better than trying to spell it out; not for the first time he was thankful that his name was fairly short so at least people didn't fall all over themselves trying to stumble through it. Of course, given how some people with fully American English names attempted to spell things...

Jae recalled the evening that both his parents had spent raging over the fact that some client of the firm had been seemingly unable to spell his own kid's name twice in a row consistently. His dad still got a faraway look in his eyes whenever he met someone who introduced themselves with "It's pronounced this way but spelled this way" as a caveat.

Still better than people asking if he could speak Japanese for them, though.

Anyway.

Jae leaned on the counter, absentmindedly resting his chin on his hand while Jasmine looked through the store database or whatever she was doing on the computer. She seemed halfway competent, he'd give her that. It was more than most people minding stores got, in his experience.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Jae tried to remember if Nadia had told him which books by Adichie she actually owned already, but came up blank. Oh well, she could always return it for store credit or something. "Yeah, that sounds good." He straightened up from the counter and looked around to find the "Non-Fiction" sign. He'd found a book by the right author, it's the thought that counts, blah blah. Slap a bow on that shit and he was golden.

"Thanks," he added belatedly, starting off towards the non-fiction section before something else occurred to him. He wheeled back around to face Jasmine again. "Do you guys sell birthday cards here? Or like, wrap stuff?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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