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Bookends (standard:humor, 3404 words)
Author: Jay MandalAdded: Jun 21 2004Views/Reads: 2411/1414Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Humorous short story with a difference ...

by BeWrite Books by Jay Mandal Word count 3367 

“You're going to lose him if you're not careful,” said Nancy, as she
unpacked the new titles that had just arrived. She was a short woman, 
with tight grey curls and boundless energy. 

John looked up warily. “What makes you say that?” 

“I don't think he can take much more. One day you'll push him away just
once too often, and it'll be too late.” 

“I'm sure you're wrong. About him being interested, I mean. What have I
to offer? I'm fifty-two - far too old. Everything I have is tied up in 
this bookshop, and you know how precarious things are for small 
businesses nowadays. Even the supermarkets sell books, and at a 
discounted price I can't compete with.” 

“You get plenty of customers.” 

“Plenty of browsers. They come in here to choose what they want, then go
off and buy it somewhere else. And there's the Internet now, don't 

“And don't you try to change the subject.” 

John sighed. He was a tall, thin man who stooped slightly, and had
bright blue eyes that showed both intelligence and sympathy. “Has he 
said something?” 

“Maybe. He talks to me.” 

“And you talk about us?” 

Nancy didn't answer. 

“It wouldn't work. We have too little in common.” 

“You have books.” 

“And that's enough?” 

“You should be having this conversation with him.” 

“I can't. Every time I try ...” 

“... You realize how much he means to you?” 

John nodded. 

“So what's the problem?” She handed the new John Grisham to John. They
had a customer who'd requested a copy as soon as it came in. 

“Everything. Everything's the problem. Age. Gender. Upbringing.” 


“I was married, for God's sake!” 

“I know. But Helen's dead. She'd have liked the boy.” 

“As a son, maybe. Not as her husband's lover.” 

“So you do think about it?” 

“Of course I do. It's just not possible. Not now.” 

“So you're going to give up? Sink into your dotage just like that? I
thought you were a fighter. You never gave up with Helen.” 

“That was different, we couldn't give up. We had to believe things would
be all right. Anything else was unthinkable.” 

“And yet you won't fight for Matthew?” 

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