Tuesday, February 23, 2016

True Weird

Long story:

There used to be this weird little cat who would come in my bookstore/comic shop. Okay guy but there was something squirrel-y about him (as they say here in the South). He would come in regularly, buy some books, chat. A pleasant chap, if a tad off-kilter. We all knew him and expected him because he would always linger a bit for conversation. Never about anything heavy--he would just hang around and talk a little--it was as if the book purchase had just been an excuse to link up with a person and to speak. Sometimes it was as if he would stand there and hold the book as like it was some alien thing and he was trying to figure out why the hell he'd bought it and where was the closest place he could ditch it without being too obvious.

One week he didn't come in. Next week, no-show. Third week, fourth week. You notice when a regular like that guy is absent. Month and months went by. It became almost two years and we forgot about him.

One day he comes into the store to say hello. We were glad to see him. He seemed his old happy, weird self.

"Where the hell have you been?" I asked him.

"In jail."

That one sat there for about five seconds, which is a long time when you are trying to converse with someone. Those two words had to fucking compute, because, frankly, I couldn't see this guy in a jail cell. Just didn't seem to mesh.

"What the hell were you in jail for?" I finally asked him.

"Robbed a bank."

More uncomfortable silence. Probably six seconds this time; which, as I already mentioned, is a long time when you're having a conversation.

"You robbed a bank."

He nodded.

"Why did you do that? And how did you do it?"

"I dunno. It just seemed like the thing to do. I walked in and gave the teller a note telling her this was a bank robbery and to hand over the money. She did and I left with it. Then the cops arrested me while I was walking down the street."

And then I remembered the story from about two years earlier how some mildly deranged guy had done exactly that. The local paper documented how he'd calmly handed over a note asking for money and then had casually strolled down the street until a police unit arrived and arrested him without any violence and with no struggle.


He nodded. "Yeah, that was me."

We talked a little bit more and I got busy selling books to other customers. During the flurry of business he walked out.  I can't say I was sorry that he left, because frankly, if he robbed a bank because it just seemed like the thing to do...well, what else might just seem like the thing to do? But I never had to think about it much, because he never came back. I never saw the guy again.

True story.

"It just seemed like the thing to do."

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