Welcome back! I have been absent from this blog for too long. Because of a life-threatening illness, I was hospitalized for four months last year, and even though I am much better, I am still on the road to recovery.
As I slowly get back into writing, I decided to visit on old series of short, short stories about my beloved character, Jade.
I hope you enjoy this installment, and I hope to see everyone very soon.
Jade followed the young man into the bookstore, eagerly watching his every move. She had plenty of experience with the male species from her own planet, but the males on Earth were different - plain without the exotic look of familiar pale green skin.
The man walked to the back of the store and stopped before a row of leather bound books. He ran his finger slowly across the weathered spines of each book on the fourth shelf, his lips moving, but Jade could not hear what he was saying.
"Hi, Derrek," said the store clerk, "you looking for anything in particular this week?"
"Yeah, I heard you had a first edition of The Red Pony. I want to finish my John Steinbeck collection and it's the only one I don't have." The man continued scanning the books on the shelves.
"Hmm, word sure does travel fast; I don't even have that book on the shelf yet. Come over to the desk and I'll show you." The store clerk turned and started back to the desk.
"I'll be right there, Frank," the man said. Then he slipped a book carefully off the shelf and started turning the pages. Jade pretended to be looking for a book several shelves away. The man glanced up with her, and Jade couldn't read the expression on his face.
Was he mad, interested, angry? Jade had only been on Earth a few weeks, and learning to read the facial expressions of humans was proving to be a difficult task. The man's lips were slightly turned up, but it didn't resemble a smile from the photographs she had studied.
The man turned back to the book and slowly placed it back on the shelf, leaving it sticking out from the rest of the books. He then walked over to the desk to look at the book he had asked about.
"This is not only a first edition, Derrek; it is also signed by Steinbeck. I have the authenticity certificate to go with it. Printed in New York at Covici-Friede in 1937. This book is number 44 of 699 printed. It's not mint condition, but it's a pretty good copy." The clerk removed the book from a plastic sleeve and handed it to the man.
While the men conducted business, Jade walked over to the shelves of book the man had been looking at. She pulled out the book the man left sticking out.
The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne; first edition, 1928. As Jade opened the book, a piece of paper fluttered out of the book and landed on the floor. She bent over and picked it. Looking up at the desk to see if the men were watching her, she opened the note and began to read:
"I don't know who you are, but I know you don't belong here. Meet me outside, under the overpass to the bridge over Canal Street."
Jade looked up at the man again, but he was already walking out the front door, a first edition The Red Pony, wrapped and carefully carried under his arm.
Curious – did she follow this man? Or did she ignore the note and go about her business? Jade’s uncertainty seemed to paralysis her as she tried to weigh her options.