What, exactly, do you do with a five-spot that has spent almost 35 minutes next to your naked arse?
I found myself in just this predicament this afternoon when I stood, face-to-face, with the intended recipient of this ass-cash...and realized I wasn't going to give it to him.
It's true; the purported jerk was, upon further investigation, simply a curmudgeon.
And I owe him an apology.
You know who I speak of; book store jerkface-turned-authentic-curmudgeon. Here's how it went down.
I went to Eastern Market specifically for this evil deed. And to shop for some paperbacks I couldn't find at any other used bookstore. I felt ok about this because, after all, I needed some reason to give him the dirty, dirty money, right?
So I entered the shop, steeling my nerves for another brusque 'greeting.' What I got was,
"Welcome. Fiction is upstairs; non-fiction, downstairs."
"uh...thanks." (my resolve was cracking.)
I went upstairs to re-group. Forty minutes later, I had a pile of seven or eight novels. Time to move downstairs to look at their cooking reference and baseball books. I tempered my resolve; we were to cross paths again. I walked past his desk.
"Find everything ok?"
"What the f*ck happened to you?" I asked. (Well, no. I didn't say that. I wanted to, but I decided not to show him all my cards yet.)
"uh...yeah, thanks. Where are the baseball books?" I was setting him up for a trap! I knew precisely where the baseball books were. I was simply goading him into acting like a jerk again. Genius!
"Downstairs to the right."
I went downstairs to the right. Sure enough, the baseball books were there. (Wait, I knew that already! Why was he being so nice?) Enough thought. Enough talk. Time to execute Operation "Give Jerk Ass-Cash." I retrieved the now-cursed money. We had spent the last half-hour getting "real close" if you catch my drift. My butt now had a 2 7/8" x 6" chilly spot where Lincoln was just moments ago. No worries, though; it was off to wield a unique jihad on he who would insult the bill's master.
I grabbed The Longest Slump Ever, and headed upstairs, prepared for the endgame. We came face-to-face.
"See the game last night?"
"uh...yeah" (God! What was happening here?)
"That Manning, he sure is a good one, huh?"
"uh...yeah." (This is bad.)
"Well, one good thing, though. Now we can move on to baseball, right?"
"uh...yeah." (Aw, shit...)
"Hopefully we'll get to see the yankees fall again, huh?"
"uh...yeah." (ABORT! ABORT! ABORT! He hates the yanks! Operation GJAC is a NO-GO!)
"Will that be cash?"
"uh..." (I was at the fail-safe point, the moment of truth, the true event-horizon of the mission.)
"uh..." (I knew what had to be done.)
"uh..no, thanks. Do you take American Express?"
I handed him my card, and let my adreneline level lower. I tucked the money in a back pocket.
"Have a great day. Stay warm!"
Yeah. Sure, pal. I'll stay warm.
I wished him the same as I left the building.
So, there it is. I couldn't do it. I was wrong and I knew it. So, Mr. Man, I apologize for mis-judging you. And, at least, I cemented my opinion that Capitol City Books is the best of the bunch out there in DC.
And as for the stinky money resting in my back pocket?
Well...I think I'll get a latte at Starschmucks tomorrow morning before work.