|[ A New Year's Confession
I have a confession to make.
The deed that I performed has been burning in my mind for many, many years
and it just feels right to tell it on the cusp of a newish time...
In the early 70's I walked into
my local newsagent and noticed that the rack of books near the door had
changed slightly. It still had all of those potboilers, bestsellers and
westerns that was it's claim to fame but one little section had been cleaned
up considerably and filled with weird looking, yet beautiful, covers unlike
any I'd ever seen before. The titles were things like "Pricksongs and Descants"
(what the hell does that mean?), "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" ("got
no idea, sorry") and "V" ("my, what a short name!"). I flicked through
many of these choice bits of literature and found something even more amazing
: there were lots of 4 letter words and, in many cases, there was graphic
detail of various sexual acts. Now, seeing as these two topics took up
a lot of my mind at that stage of development, and seeing that I was totally
enamoured of the mysterious covers, et al, well, I just HAD to have them.
Of course, I had no money at all.
So I started onto my life of
crime!!! Yes, I turned round to simply talk to the ragged old owner of
the store about these amazing books but his back was turned and he was
intrigued by some kind of monetary matter. I was about to interuppt him
when that bad voice that exists in all of us bore through and said "Shove
it in your pants, dickhead, and get outta here". I obeyed, scurried home
with my purloined 'purchase', read it in double quick time, went down to
the newsagency later that week, stole another, etc, etc, etc...
I would have been caught eventually.
Here was a failing family business on the Princes Highway in an almost
permanent clearway that very rarely sold any books at all. The owner is
somehow convinced to take this new range of very difficult, intellectual
novels by authors that no one in the St George area would want to read
[my, what a great salesperson], he doesn't sell a copy (surprise, surprise)
yet they keep disappearing. At the same time, this gawky kid from down
the road has seemed to take up a permanent position in front of the bookstand
and with his hands almost always down his trousers. So the owner changed
his sitting position to right in front of the books, never took his eyes
off me from the secound that I walked into the store and glared menacingly
at me almost constantly. I never stole another thing!!!
There, that's off my chest.
I feel better already.