I walk up the aisle, my hands are sweating, I don't know why...I'm not the sort to get nervous. My heart is racing and as I turn the corner, there he is. My hero. I'm in awe. He is surrounded by an entourage of people, a tall blonde women dressed in a business suit, a couple of tall bulky men with ear pieces. A red head in a short leather skirt stands of to his left next to the magazines. I don't believe she's with him. She looks like a hooker and she's simply thumbing through those rags they call entertainment news. Some kids run around recklessly in the children's section (obviously roped off from the rest of the store...They're mother really should be keeping better watch of them) not having any idea of the icon that sits just feet away from them.
"C'mon kid. Lots of people waiting." The tall bulky man with the earpiece startles me.
I walk up slowly, savoring every moment. Our eyes meet and I instantly know he understands. He understands and wants to help me in my quest to follow in his footsteps.
I walk up to the table thinking of so many things I want to say. The stabbing pain from my head is quelled by my shear excitement of this moment I have been waiting for so long to consummate. So many questions run to the top of my head.
What to ask first? What to ask first?
I am frozen.
He grabs out for my book (in my left hand, my manuscript is under my right arm).
"So what should I write here?"
"Well son, we don't have all day. What would you like me to write?"
"Uh...uh...uh..So nice to meet you..uh me...uh well..uh...You see sir...What I wanted to say..."
"How about something short and sweet. Keep reaching for the stars, kid."
"Son, you have a great day now you hear?"
He smiles at me as he says this. He knows. He knows.
"Thanks sir. I appreciate uh...uh...You works."
"Thanks for coming out son. That's enough now move along."
I grab for his hand but the security guard stops me.
"Time to go kid. You had more than enough time. Go."
I stand shocked and in awe.
"Get out of here kid before we have one of these guys move you."
Snotty bookstore employee. What does he know.
I turn so as to not show him the tears coming out of my eyes. Tears not of happiness but of sheer embarrassment. Stupid stupid me. What was I thinking. I walk with a brisk pace, tears rolling off my cheeks, head faced down so no one can see. But they do see the tears falling on the ground. I know they do. What was I thinking. Stuttering like a fool.
"I appreciate your works?"
I'm a fake, I'm a phony. At this moment I am everything I dread and hate. I am all those people outside. And all those people are laughing at me. And the pain takes over my head. And I know the only thing, as I make my way home, that will make it better. Not the cold, crisp air that is now relieving itself of the sunny morning, or the animal cracker clouds I make from between my lips or walking away from all these fakes, these phonies.
No there's only one thing that will make the pain go away, as I walk down an back alley that leads to the back door of my apartment building. There's only one thing.
I close my eyes.