Posted: May 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
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There’s this thing I remember. It was several years ago; the Mrs and I, before she was the Mrs, were at Barnes & Noble. I was standing in the queue to buy whatever it was, and there was a man ahead of me.

He was in his mid- to late-forties, not unlike me. He was wearing brown penny loafers, dark socks, and cuffed tan khakis that broke perfectly at the foot. White starched button-down, no tie, top button undone, and a navy blazer. Short brown hair beginning to recede, semi-rounded glasses with tortoiseshell frames. A plain face one would expect to see in an Eddie Bauer or LL Bean catalog. In his hand was a book, John Grisham I think, or something like it. Just an average-looking guy.

A very average-looking guy.

An exceedingly average-looking guy.

Average-looking, to the point that it seemed forced, deliberate, contrived. Like he was making such an effort to blend in that he stood out. The book he held, whatever it was, was almost definitely from the New York Times Bestseller list because, you know, that’s what average guys read. When it was time to make his purchase, his responses to the clerk were pleasantly average, and he paid with a non-descript card, drawn from a perfectly normal-looking wallet. I’m sure that when he got to the parking lot, he climbed into an average sedan, probably tan in color, and listened to Michael Bolton or Kenny G on the drive home.

And I have no doubt whatsoever that there were bodies in the trunk.

This guy, this exceedingly, impossibly average guy, scared the living hell out of me, so much so that all these years later, I can see him in my mind’s eye as clearly as if it were yesterday. I realize now that this guy, this mind-boggingly average-looking guy, was applying Reverse Clown Logic.

Let me pause to explain.

Clown Logic is this: anyone who would go to such extremes to disguise their appearance, foot size, body type, and face (like clowns do), has got to be hiding something truly horrifying. Hence, Reverse Clown Logic dictates that only an even worse monster would hide in plain sight, appearing benign, literally daring the world to look him in the eye, because to do so would be not unlike staring deep into the very heart of an impenetrable  darkness, from which the only escape would be insanity.

And in the deep, dark parts of the night, when sleep is a stranger and the shadows fall weird across the bed, it’s that guy, that average-looking guy, who taunts me, his banality openly mocking everything good and right, and waiting, just waiting, to unleash himself on the world.

Which is why I love bookstores.

  1. Maria Perez says:

    I’m not sure if this is the correct word I want to use to describe this little ‘interlude,’ but lovely comes to mind. Enjoyed it very much, Mike.

  2. Maria Perez says:

    It was! Can’t wait to read your novel 🙂

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