Friday, July 13, 2012
Gerald B. Harrison brushed the dust off his desk and sighed. Kids these days did not know the true meaning of magic. He gazed across the rows and rows of shelves in his bookstore. They were full of tales of adventure and the unknown, yet his store was empty. He scratched his beard and grumbled to himself a little more.
When he was younger, he had traveled the world and children would flock to him, eager to have a chance to buy his books which they consumed voraciously. They had begged him to recount tales from his own travels, their eyes so bright with curiosity and wonderment.
Now though, kids had no use for old storytellers. They saw all that they wanted to see through those little portable screens they carried around in their pockets. He hardly ever came across one who bothered to stop and listen; they all just walked on with their eyes down.
In a few days, he would have to close down his shop. Business had failed, and so he would retire early. As he sat there dejectedly thinking, the door chimed and he looked up. However, it was only a small boy. So small, in fact, that Gerald could not even see his face as he approached his desk, only the curly locks atop his head. When the child spoke, Gerald just watched his lively tufts of hair bounce wildly like a box of springs.
The boy addressed him as mister and called himself Bill. He was searching for unusual tales of fantasy to take with him on a small journey. He stated this so collectedly that Gerald just had to chuckle. What an interesting child, he thought.
He directed him to an aisle and started to walk back to his desk, but the boy grabbed his sleeve. Bill suddenly looked nervous. He wanted Gerald to choose one for him, the best one. So Gerald found his personal favorite and handed it to him. The boy dropped his uneasiness immediately and a huge grin made its way across his face. Then he froze for a second and looked up at Gerald with a serious expression.
"Is it good?" he asked.
"Well, I certainly thought so," he replied.
The smile returned and he thanked Gerald, purchased the book, and left.
Gerald leaned back in his chaired and smiled. What an interesting child, he thought. As he closed his store that night, he was not quite so melancholy. Perhaps there were still many out there, he mused, those who cared to see that is. He needed only to meet them.