Listen to Jim:


or read his story below:


As my time in this planet’s orbit wobbles ever forward, the cracks between the cracks fascinate me more. And more.

Much of my writing career is spent looking between the things that might be missed, gazing up as others are looking down, peering under when all focus is above and over yonder, turning away from sudden loud noises to see what is going Back There where no attention is being paid.

After a lifetime exploring the significantly insignificant, I find I have accumulated stacks of notes that don’t seem to have a place to rest.

Some for instances reside within the following lines.

What do I do with the receipt-printed CVS information that reports I can get $2 off my next eye-shadow purchase? (How can I do something NEXT when I haven’t first done it and won’t ever do it?)

A stranger walks into the bookshop carrying an elephant head. He wants to sell it to me but I can’t recall any recent need for such an object.

A couple drops by to obtain my opinion of what appears to be a small Russian satellite they have recovered from a NASA junkyard. I’m not kidding. It is singed from re-entry. There is a small porthole through which some creature once peered out. There are numbers and cyrillic letters stamped clearly on the asbestos-like surface. They do not know what to do with it but they know better than to sell it. They disappear along with the knowledge of what eventually happens to this modern artifact.

A jobless man wants to get a paying job here but talks himself out of it in four minutes flat. That’s in the category of “Let me tell you why you would never want to hire me.” I get that a lot, though I’m aware that each applicant hasn’t the vaguest idea why unemployability is such a mantra. I long for the day when one of them pauses thoughtfully and asks me to share my observations as to why the jobs are not happening.

In order to enter the shop each day I must wade through gusts of smokers’ smoke (holding my breath as long as possible) and dance around critters who tread the sidewalk oblivious to passersby but enthralled with their own screen-dancing thumbs. I actually don’t mind this so much, since it is a kind of entertainment that adds color and spice to the day.

My store has become a kind of sanctuary where, for a few hours, I can enjoy the fragrance of books, recall encountered characters, ignore any horrors or crises outside, appreciate customers and browsers—trying my damnedest to pay attention to them and see what new and exciting lessons they can teach me unaware.

And I always thumb through newly-arrived books to find evidence of readers’ lives. An old greeting card, a bookmark, margin notes, underlinings, a folded page, a list of things never completed, one snapshot of all those unknown family members who deserve re-cherishing, a theatre ticket stub, mustard stains, a feather.

All of which are totally unsaleable totally unappraisable totally unclassifiable…

Totally keepable to any appreciator of cracks between cracks

© Jim Reed 2017 A.D.




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