Sea Monkeys of the Paper Oceans


It was early, 9.00am or so. The Book Barn had just opened it’s iron jaws. The old man, the white-haired store keep was bending over, he was tending to the towers at the door, books up to his knees and he apologised for the mess as I wandered through.

Classical music was playing inside, such a smell of musky powdery damp goodness and there’s this olive velvet arm chair behind the till, pre war, with a paperback butterflied upon it’s arm, and a half drank black coffee on the bench beside it. I smiled seeing it all, the discovery that he’d been sat there well  before scheduled opening time.

He came inside nursing what he could, the books sat like slats in his arms and he apologised to me again, about the mess . Vinnies is closed he goes.

Oh, is it? I say not knowing what else it was he wanted. But then I realised he was just catching his breath and he wasn’t done talking yet.

Everyone is dumping their books here, leaving me to get rid of all the silverfish!

And I hadn’t heard about silverfish since I was a kid, the sea monkeys of the paper oceans! Noone talked about silverfish anymore. It made me all gooey and I forgot what I went in there for.