I was managing the Crown Books Store #854 in Rose Hill, Alexandria. My boss, Tim, was a new Bohemian. He read Gunter Grass, Camus, Nietzsche, and other greats that frankly, bored me in high school despite the Goth friends of mine reading them. But I appreciated his company and savage wit. Tim was a tall guy with a deep voice, a large jaw, and a smile that crushed his face like some big, friendly giant. His loping frame wandered the book aisles of our store. One day, while we were pondering over why the bible section was so large for just three versions of the same book, he decided he wanted to expand the section to include all religions. Before this, most of the other books, like Siddhartha and even the Koran, were in the fiction section.
When the book reps came by, we asked for any new age or spiritual stuff they had. We got a lot of Buddhist stuff, some books on Witchcraft, works by Shakti Gawain, and among the titles were the Necrinomicon, the Satanic Bible, and the sequel, Satanic Rituals. And most of them st there, mixed in with the "White Genuine Leather KJV Bible (with Comments by Jesus in Red)" and works by CS Lewis. Despite the fact we were smack dab in the middle of soccer mom territory south of the Mason-Dixon Line, little was said by our patrons, unless you count the lack of alternate religious book sales as a silent testimony for unwanted literature.
Then, one day, our Avon book rep came by and asked if we wanted to buy some more of the "Satanic Bible." We laughed. He said we were out. Really? The five copies we had sitting there for months were gone. So we ordered 5 more. Within days of getting them, they were gone. So we ordered 10 more. They were gone in a month. Who was buying them? We were selling them at about a rate of 10-15 a month. But none of the cashoers remembered seeing a copy. We suspected foul play. Theft? Vandalism? These were Satanists, after all. Or militant Christians, perhaps? But none of the other stuff was gone.
One day, I was alone in the store, musing the ceiling tiles, when a strange man came to the counter with 5 copies. That was all he bought. The man looked to be about his mid 20s with a scar below his nose that told of a bad cleft palate operation. His eyes were dilated, and he stared at me with an intensity I could neither places as either purposeful or vacant. Despite his look, he seemed to have the normal grace for a human.
"Five copies?" I asked. I felt a little elated that the mystery buyer had been identified. I drank in his entire look: jean jacket, white tee-shirt, dungarees, and cowboy boots.
"Yeth," he said with a manner that suggested despite his looks and lisp, he was an articulate person with the grace and manner of a highly educated person.
"Why five...?" I asked.
"For pupilth..." he said.
"You have pupils?" I asked. I noticed how the stack of black books all fit together neatly as one symmetrical block.
"Yeth..." he answered with a weary tone. "Many thudenth. I teetth philothophy."
"Okay," I said. I told him the price. He paid cash. Then he was gone, leaving me in a wake that, had it been any other book, would have been as mundane and vanilla customer transaction as any other. For the rest of my time there, we always wondered about, "The Harelip Man," and what he actually taught.
I knew then, for some reason, I had to have a copy.
Sadly, after reading it, I found it boring and pissy. Like emo poetry mixed in with the writings of bad gaming supplements. I also have a copy of "Satanic Rituals" and "The Necronomicon," which I also consider fictional works.