Barnes and Noble by Scott Heaton

Barnes and Noble
by: Scott Heaton
All Rights Reserved 2009©

“Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better…”


This song is on everywhere I go… why today? To be named Jude is my curse. My mom called me her little Jude-bug until I was 26. Why did this song have to be on in this Barnes and Noble, on this day? I always thought of it as a lame song… Who “na-nas” for 8 minutes after the song is over?

I hope mom would be proud of her little Jude-bug… or at least for my intentions. I never ever thought I would do something like this. I hope I make it out. St. Jude was martyred on October 28th. Maybe if I don’t make it out of here I’ll gain some nobility like he did in death.

There aren’t any more than 30 people here. It helps a little that they all look miserable. Magazines are no way to waste time. Dr. Phil says the images of all the gorgeous people make you feel like crap. I agree. I decided on a bookstore because the smell of paper always calms me down. Barnes and Nobles always smells like fresh paper and coffee. Such a soothing smell, and today is no different. I love the sound of coffee grinders too. If you are going to do something heroic you might as well enjoy the setting you are in, am I right? I can always snag Dr. Phil’s book off the shelf if I need to. The next best thing would be to have the man himself as my accomplice. Unfortunately my restraining order is still in effect.

Dr. Phil said in his new book, Make up your Mind!, That I need to… well… make up my mind. And I finally have. I’m not sure that it is anything at all that Dr. Phil would come up with. “Do what you have to do,” the man says. I wonder what Dr. Phil thinks about “doing” things that are against the law to make sure my mom has the medicine she needs to survive. But I have less money in my bank account than Dr. Phil has hair on his head. I bet he has never had the problem that I have.

I’ve always hated the feeling of

a gun in my hand. When I was little my dad would get so pissed at me because I didn’t like playing with the NERF guns he bought me. “Dang it boy! You ain’t going to hurt anyone! Now shoot your mother!” He would say. There was one time in the 7th grade during football practice that I had a chance to sack the quarterback right in his back. Knowing how fragile the human spine was I vividly remember slowing my sprint and shouting, “Look out Pete!” Pete was the name of the quarterback. I saved that kid’s neck. You think he would cut me some slack… It was later that day that I found out what an atomic wedgie was from Pete the quarterback. In North Texas, if you don’t kill a man when you are supposed to, you aren’t a man at all.

Well Ma, Your little Jude-bug is going to make everything all right.

“THIS IS A STICK UP!”

 

“Hey Jude, Don’t be afraid, you were made to go out and get her…”

Mom says people like Batman don’t exist. “Billy, no one is brave enough to do something like that.” “Not yet!” I always tell her. I bet you I’m going to be just like Bruce Wayne when I get older. I don’t need any super powers, just awesome fighting skills and a detective’s mind. That’s all Bat

man ever needs. Take this comic for example, Detective Comics #876: Batman kicks the butt of all of the guys trying to steal the nuclear warhead from Gotham’s power plant, then he figures out that the Penguin has set the atomic bomb he planted years before on a timer! Batman calmly disables the bomb like it was as easy as making a ham sandwich. I love ham sandwiches, but only if mom makes them… and the crust is cut off… and it’s cut into triangles… and if there are no spots on the ham.

I have to read my comics at Barnes and Noble; I like bookstores, especially this one. The colors remind me of the colors of the coffee shop mom always goes too. Mom says that people that go into comic book stores are middle-aged child stalkers that play Dungeons and Dragons all

day… whatever that is. So I have to do my comic reading here. I tell her I don’t like it, because I just can’t see Batman liking coffee shops or bookstores.

I’m a natural born detective. I won a problem solving skills contest last year at the school fair. I was only 7, and I beat a 13 year old!

“THIS IS A STICK UP!”

Holy cow! That guy has a gun! I have got to get out of here! Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh! Where is mom? She has got to be in the parenting section.

“Nobody move!”

What in the world am I supposed to do?

Billy get a hold of yourself, you are a detective. Detectives don’t cry. OK, I can hide behind that bookshelf, until I work out my plan; Batman always has a plan before he acts. Why am I so afraid? I’m a green belt in Tai Kwon Do. I made Reggie Young’s nose bleed after I sparred with him. He is the biggest kid in the 3rd Grade… I bet he could take out this bad guy, and if he could, that means I could kick his butt too!

I have to stop this villain or all of Barnes and Noble will be in danger!

 

“Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better…”

“THIS IS A STICK UP!”

 

What a beautiful way to die… murdered in a stick up… so poetic… maybe I could try and save a child. But of course I can’t be expected to do anything. Nora Roberts says that: “most romance heroes, or heroes in fiction of any kind, are generally superior to real men. Same goes for heroines and real women.” How can I do anything? Maybe my husband will rush through the doors and storm up to this passionate man holding the gun, and force him to the floor, and declare his undying love for me.

What does this crook have in his hands? Is that Dr. Phil? A killer of romance if you ask me. He just wants to resolve everything. No passion, no yelling, no friction, nothing. How can love exist without passion? Without yelling? Without friction? This isn’t the 1950’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if the man supported arranged marriages.

I yelled at my husband this mor

ning…

It might have been the last thing I ever said to him… “You care more about your stupid books than you do me…” I was trying to be clever like Nora is, and I said to him, “see if you can read into what happens to our marriage if you keep spending more time reading than developing your relationship with your wife.”

At least it was poetic. I can die with that being the last thing I said to the person I love most… right? I wanted to start reading the novels he was reading. Maybe I could understand what was so different about them from me. All of these thrillers… were they giving him the excitement that I could

n’t?

Maybe If I did more dangerous things with him… driving fast, cursing every once in awhile to give me an edge. My mother raised me Southern Baptist, we didn’t cuss, dance, or really have much fun at all. At least that’s what I got from chur

ch. Maybe that’s why Nora is such an inspiration to me.

And not just her, but other romance novels… you can curse, dance, have pre-marital sex: which I grew up thinking was the end of the world. Every time I read over a curse word in novels I still translate it in my brain as the F-word, or S-word, or sometimes spell it out A.S.S. Maybe it was this that was frustrating my husband.

Surely he knows I love him…

Surely…

Maybe if I am shot in the thriller section he will know I was trying to say something to him… a declaration of my undying love. If only he were here, I can see him sitting Indian style with his head up against that bookshelf with all of his favorites. Stephen King, and Dean Koontz. He would chew his nails in anticipation of each page. He would always lick his fingertips, too in order to turn the page. I told him that I hated both of those habits, but it was endearing to me. Will I ever be able to tell him to stop chewing his nails again, or that licking his fingertips does nothing?

I’m terrified right now… I feel ridiculous crawling to the suspense/thriller section… You would think I had enough suspense at the mom

ent. But to be honest the crook looks more fearful than all of us… except for the man in the philosophy section…praying… ironic.

I love my husband so much… I wish we had kids. I would have loved more before I died… Nora would have liked it that way. I would have liked it that way. I would know a hole would be left

after I was gone. I guess that seems a little morbid. But think how sad it would be if your death didn’t matter. Life isn’t about happiness, or even love, it’s about meaning. I might have a chance to accomplish that tonight – a meaningful death in the thriller section.

What’s the trekkie doing?

No way, He’s not actually going to talk to this guy?

What the!? Did he just give him the “Nanoo Nanoo/ live long and prosper”sign?

And… You have got to be kidding me… The thief is thumbing through Dr. Phil’s book, and pointing his gun at Jean-Luc… I can’t watch someone get killed. If this guy isn’t even stable enough to do a stick up without the help of his rent-a-therapist… we’re going to need a hero.

 

“Na Na Na Nanana Na!”

I hate the term ‘Trekkie,’ everyone knows that ‘Trekkers’ is the correct name for Star Trek fans. And I am a classic trekker that avidly watches the original series! Each convention that I have gone to, I haven’t wimped out and thrown on a solid colored shirt with a star trek emblem and said that I was Captain Kirk, or “Bones” McCoy, but each year I do my ears and hair and transform myself into Spock! Like a true trekker!

When I was 24 I tried to get plastic surgery for my eyes and eyebrows to naturally look like Spock’s. Little did I know that such a minor surgery still costs thousands of dollars… I was only a couple of thousand shy after saving up my winnings from the “magic the gathering” competitions I participated in for 3 years. My best card: ‘Slagworm the Invincible’ really played off!

“This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the U.S.S. enterprise…”

Phone is ringing… I love that ringer.

“Hello… Ya mom I’ll be home at about 11…. WHAT… Mom, I’m 32 I shouldn’t have a curfew! … I have a job … I make more money than I did at Chili’s! You guys were fine with that! … Mom I can’t stay for the convention for only an hour! … you’re not listeni… MOM … I don’t want to tell you what I’m reading right now… No! What I do at Barnes and Noble Is my business! … No! … No! … No! …

Ok! Dungeons and Dragons! You got me Ma! Are you happy? You still aren’t being fair, listen: Patrick Stewart and William Shatner are going to be there! My friends will think I’m a loser if I don’t go!

I have friends!

… We’ll talk at 11! Bye!

 

Holy crap I’m toast.

 

“THIS IS A STICK UP!”

Now I’m really toast. There is no way I’m dying today. What would happen to all of my action figures… My brother would probably take them out of the casing. That just can’t happen. My mom would throw away all of my Star Trek comics… And probably… My Spock ears! I am going to get the heck out of here!

Wait! He’s wearing a Star Wars shirt! First of all… idiot… but maybe I could talk some sense into him, from one sci-fi fan to another.

I can’t believe this, I’m actually standing straight up and walking towards an armed man with an agenda. Leonard Nemoy would be proud. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed how beautiful a bookstore can be. The colors calm me down, even though my palms got sweatier the closer I got to the gun and the Darth Vader shirt. So many people are cowering, but not me. Check out this woman in the suspense/thriller fiction section. She is clutching on to a Nora Roberts book and crying like she’ll never see her family again… Oh… maybe she won’t… She’s looking into her wallet and the tears just keep coming, butshe isn’t making a sound… honorable citizen. She is beautiful too… what a shame to see that mascara flow like that. If we were on the Voyager right now, I would be made 1stlieutenant for my bravery. Each passing section I was getting more and more terrified.

Religion.

Philosophy.

Travel.

Journals.

New Age.

Romance… More Nora Roberts books… I hope that woman sees her family.

And of course he is standing in the Sci-fi section, great… I can look at my heroes as I confront the enemy in front of me. May the f

orce be with me… This one time. If I get through this I won’t be such a jerk to Star Wars fans anymore… God, what the hell am I doing, I’m 32 years old and I dress up in Star Trek uniforms.

It’s time to boldly go where no man has gone before. I’m going to talk to the man with the gun… Beam me up Scotty.

 

 

“And anytime you feel the pain, Hey Jude refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders. For well you know that it’s a fool who plays in cool, By making his world a little colder…”

God is dead.

-Nietzsche 1882

He was too right. I just had a conversation with a man in the religionsection, trying to prove God’s existence to me through science. That’s a new one to me. The churches must be trying to brain wash its congregants to thinking their worst enemy, well that and logic, is now actually one of their best weapons. This echo of the phantasm of God is what is destroying our world. Think of everything that has been destroyed in the name of religion… the crusades, the inquisition, 9/11, the KKK… So many people think they are correctly representing the ultimate. Every time I walk into this Barnes and Noble I quickly brush past the history section and wince at all the books I see…

On war…

On the crusades…

On the Inquisition…

On 9/11…

 

And I just can’t bring myself to find the good of the books in the religion section that still support the same kind of mentality that these tragedies were birthed from. “My religion is right!” “Your religion is wrong!” “Change or suffer the consequences!” I like sipping my organic coffee and looking at the names of some of these books. Tell me they don’t scare you too: “God’s Army,” “Spiritual Warfare,” “The Reign of Christianity,” and my personal favorite “He is all that matters.” Forget about your family or friends… I guess you have to hate them. Religions preach love, but don’t show it. Nietzsche was right… humans will always try to overcome religion. InThe Gay Science, Nietzsche said:

 

“After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave, —an immense frightful shadow. God is dead: but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow. —And we—we have still to overcome his shadow!”

 

The day is coming, when the noon sun will rise on civilization, and every man will realize the absence of shadow, and the truth of nothingness. Eternal Return… it is bound to happen. We as humans will repeat the same mindless things over and over, with no eternal value at all… I am on a quest to simply find satisfaction in life that functions within truth. And I don’t plan on fabricating it within the shelter of a shadow. And I have the rest of my life to figure it out too… 50, maybe 60 or 70 years.

 

“THIS IS A STICK UP!”

Or not…

What the hell am I going to do? What if I die today? I wish I had a shadow to hide in… The guy legitimately has a gun. Probably a crazed religious wacko… Oh my God… did he look at me… He’s looking at me.

Dear God, get me out of this one… Amen.

Did I just pray? I did… I just prayed

“But God is dead!”

Just then that horrid Christian man crawled up to me with tears in his eyes, his enormous mustache made him look ridiculous, and the lack of shame… a grown man crawling on his hands and knees. Probably just to tell me to repent before I go to hell today. But instead of even saying a single word… he handed me a card… I’ll never forget what he wrote on it:

 

Nietzsche is dead…

-God 1900

Touché pastor. Is he… he is… he’s praying, face down on the floor.

Why the hell not? If I keep praying, its not like I’m being disloyal to Nietzsche. And it certainly couldn’t hurt anything. I wasn’t killing anyone in the name of God or religion. The books around are glowing with the philosophers that would frown upon me. Sartre, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Kant, Camus… But if I am going to die, why not try something new?

“God… help me.”

“If you are real… please help me.”

“Amen.”

Well there it is… and obviously nothing is happening.

BOOM!

 

You have got to be kidding me! A little kid with a tablecloth tied around his neck just leapt onto the crook through the ceiling and tackl

ed him to the ground! He’s punching him in the nose! How in the world did he get up to the ceiling? Everyone around him is helping out, including some guy that looks like captain Kirk! We’re going to be fine. Thanks to the heroics of some little kid with a plaid cape!

 

“Hey Jude, Don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better…”

 

Ma, your little Jude-Bug failed you. But I’m one of the first people ever to leave a Barnes and Noble in handcuffs. Not only that, but I was stopped by a little kid with a cape dropping from the ceiling and his Trekkie sidekick. Right now the kid referring to himself as “Batchild” is living it up. He is holding a book over the top part of his face in order to conceal his identity, while answering the police officer’s questions. And his Trekkie sidekick is taking off his shirt… and he is throwing it in the trash. The guy actually told me to “live life and prosper.”

Barnes and Noble looks different when you have a knee in your back, blood in your eyes, and your face on the ground. It isn’t near as soothing as it used to be. Dr. Phil is a phony. Let’s see how he would react to ‘Batchild,’ or if his mother can’t even afford to buy a simple antibiotic. I’m done with him.

On the way out I got to soak up everything… All the emotion and satisfaction of those I would never hurt. I saw one woman in the Suspense/Thriller section on the phone… the same one that rushed to Batchild’s side shouting “I’ll save you!” once he made that ridiculous leap from the ceiling. After that she flopped on him and covered him with her whole body, like I was in any position to hurt him, after that dumb 8-year-old messed me up. She just kept saying “I love you honey, I love you honey, like she was about to get shot between the eyes. A little over dramatic if you ask me. And another man was in the Religion section reading God for Dummies with The Gay Science tucked under his arm… ironic.

Crap, I had no effect on anyone, anything, not even mom… that’s the way things are for me. Jude’s song is always a sad song

. I wonder if the cops will cut me some slack once they find out the gun wasn’t even loaded. Because like I said before… I just don’t have it in me to hurt a soul… never will.

 

 

“Na Na Na Nanana Na!”


 

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