A Wallet Missed Pt. 3 by: M. R. Vega
Lucy was grinding at her teeth aggressively enough that Harold looked at her with a near neurotic assumption that it had to do with him, surely he was right as to the reason they were steering to the bookstore at 75 mph down the freeway. Back at the apartment, there was the haunting reminder of broken piles of books and likely still flapping pages with the A/C still on. He knew he was the ass in the picture and anyone looking in from a scope would shame his behaviours as well as scream for Lucy to kick him to the curb. But, there was something there, of course, the obvious want in bringing her collection back to life, but something about that damn wallet. Such a cheap wallet, Lucy only remembering there was an amount near two hundred dollars if that, and all the trouble tears and sweat didn’t amount to a cheap, velcro-clad wallet. It didn’t track and while still stewing in Lucy’s mind she found that the grinding of her teeth kept her from jabbing her nails into Harold’s face. Luckily, Harold didn’t need to know and would never come to find that what she wanted was to rip him like he did her collection, pluck the facial hair and the chispas at the nape of his neck. However, Lucy was gracious and calmer than her sister and mother and would refrain from having the cops called on her, at least that’s what she swore to herself growing up. It didn’t mean the thought never crossed her mind.
Nearing the bookstore, they saw a lack of cars parked nearby and hoped the store was still open. Harold crossed his chest and looked up at the mirror praying he’d have the opportunity to at least pay back the minor fortune tonight if the store had the ones he knew Lucy was checking off in her mind. The fact was true, the list was getting large, large enough that Lucy secretly hoped they had multiple employees to help bring the books to the car, and at that thought she sped up and skidded into the lot, tossing the keys at Harold and telling him to keep up. Once she had her legs out of the car she nearly pounced like a feline and ran to the door and to her delight the cool air of the door swinging open brought a jubilation she wasn’t sure would be felt for months. Looking at the hours of operations that hung near the entrance she realized she’d have less than an hour to do her spree and grinned maniacally with a near peevish glee of retribution back at Harold, he knew this smile he caught meant ‘you’re carrying it all’.
He shamefully nodded at the smile knowing what it meant and quickened his steps keeping his hands ready to catch whatever was collected from the frenzied woman he awoke. She took him to the classics starting with Homer and her favorites of the stoics, then came Bronte, Milton, Goethe, Plathe, Morrison, King, Vonnegut, King again, (more than she thought would be available), some Palahnuik, Bradbury, short story anthologies, Poe, Twain, Muir, Dick, Perreti, Sagan, Kundera, Alexie, Atwood, Shelley, O’Connor, Lee, Angelou, Hurston, and she had to pause and collect her thoughts, knowing she wasn’t being fair and grabbed some Dekker, Ellison, and Coben.
She then cackled like a banshee, having the staff that was left in the store, looking at one another with anxious apprehensions as they shuffled about, wondering how would this girl pay for all of this. The cashier at the front was rolling an eye thinking there was no way the man following behind and quickly stacking book after book didn’t seem to have enough. He was sweating with a nervousness that was certainly understood by the cashier and that of the staff as they were sure they’d all have to put every book back within their time left before closing and the plans tonight were for the bar, not reshelving over a hundred books so far.
Finally, Lucy stopped, bent over to catch a breath and told Harold to find some graphic novels to round up the final hull, Harold grinned and grabbed some classics of his teenhood and a few newer artists that he’d recently been following on the ‘gram’. He then grabbed a favorite of his; Gaiman and Harris and sheepishly walked up to the cashier with a shit-eating grin and asked for it to be all tallied up with a near-guilty chortle and squeak. The look of anguish and ridicule he was met with had him take a step back but the cashier obliged. After finally counting each one with a beep and scan, they had over 130+ novels, anthologies, and graphic novels, the total was nearly $6,400. Harold showed nothing but assured confidence and whipped out a velcro-clad wallet. The cashier almost laughed but there it was the exact total. Harold confidently pulled out the total, almost as though he knew he’d have enough and with whatever was remaining he left on the counter after asking the staff if they’d mind helping get the books to the car. None of them denied the request as most of the staff were aghast with a shocking horror that there was enough to pay for such an astonishing hull.
Lucy though was nearly floored, she knew, not knew, was certain that there were only 200 dollars in that wallet the other day. Nothing more at least, and nowhere near the thousands he’d just shelled out. Her mouth hung open for a moment as she watched the man who’d made the promise and showed he meant to keep it carry the first large pile to the car while he asked for her to unlock the trunk. She shook her head and closed her mouth, still astonished and perplexed at the oddity of the cheap wallet and needed to understand what the hell just happened and how, after finishing up loading the car, there were 130+ books being driven back to the apartment. How?