2007-02-13: The Oddest Things


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Summary: Cass finds a book that shouldn't be in her store on her shelf and Jane comes in search of some answers, or maybe just someone to talk to.

Date It Happened: February 13th, 2007

The Oddest Things

Enlightenment Books, New York

Restocking the store isn't really all that hard to do, but customers also put books back where they don't belong and generally leave things un-alphabetized. So this morning, before the lunch rush, Cass is sitting on the floor restocking and reorganizing her sections. At the moment she's on Alchemy shelf right around the Ls when she pulls out a stray book. Confused, she stares at the cover for a long moment. She's absolutely sure she's never seen this book in her store before. She knows every book in the store and this one, quite simply, should not even be here. What makes her pause even longer is the symbol on the cover - a circle inside of a square, inside of a triangle, inside of a circle. She's seen it before. In fact, she's been searching for it for a couple of days. Standing, she walks distractedly back to the counter to grab the scrap of paper that she scribbled down what she found so far for Mr. Gomez.

And as the bookseller goes to her counter for that scrap of paper, someone enters the establishment. Jane's arrival is heralded only by whatever means has been arranged to alert those working here of customers afoot. She wanders slowly around the interior, her eyes traveling over the books which rest on these shelves, studying them as if seeking something in particular.

The only real heralding call to let anyone know that there are people entering the store is fine tuned hearing. And the fact that the information desk is facing the door. Even as distracted and confused as Cass is at the moment, the sound of the door opening is something that penetrates every emotional state. Carefully putting the book down, she picks her head up to see who it is that she's greeting. "Hello! Welcome to Enlightenment Books. Let me know if I can help you find anything."

"Morning, Cass," she greets in reply, eyes turning toward the counter and she who speaks from behind it. Jane wanders a bit closer, still surveying the shelves carefully. "Hopefully it's a good one for you." Her guitar isn't with her this time, she seems to have something of a mission about her on this occasion. "Thank you again for the tea."

It takes Cass a moment to place Jane, but the guitar and the mention of tea finally helps jog the memory into place. "Morning. You're welcome. I hope your…ears?…are better?" She's trying to remember what exactly was wrong with her, she remembers that it was something. But she's a little a little distracted at the moment. "What's a good one?"

"I'm getting it figured out," Jane replies quietly, as she moves from shelf to shelf. Her gaze moves top to bottom, settling on each title. Fingers occasionally reach out and touch the spine of a volume here and there, then travel onward. In time she finds herself in a section of bizarre themes, and here her persual shifts gears. A volume perhaps dealing with sonic phenomena and human perceptions is pulled into her hands and leafed through slowly. "A good one for me starts with a gorgeous sunrise over a quiet beach, facing east. Of course, staying in bed with no worries about classes or parental expectations is better still."

Cass nods her head, a hand still placed on the cover of her new find. It's strategically placed as to cover the symbol on the cover, though she's not even sure why she's trying to hide it. It's just that sort of morning. "That's good. Did you get a chance to talk to my dad? Or was it an independent sort of figuring?" The store owner watches Jane sift through the shelves. "I'm…still not sure what we're talking about, but that certainly sounds good to me."

"I've not seen him yet, although talking with doctors may still be in the cards," Jane admits, her eyes only briefly turning toward the counter. It doesn't appear she's noticed anything about the book whose symbol is strategically hidden, indeed the woman is herself engaged with whatever she's looking for. "I've a lot to research and learn." The perceptive may notice a touch of worry in her voice on speaking that statement, but there's also curiosity and confidence, the mark of someone facing a challenge and determined to surmount it.

Cass's thoughts are about a million miles away, anxious to figure out what's inside her discovery. So while she'd normally be all over Jane's change in tone and be ready with encouragement and pick-me-ups, today she's just a little absent. "Research, hm? Well, hopefully I can help you with that. Are you looking for a book on Alternative Medicine perhaps? Maybe some Holistic books? We've got some of those. And I can find something for you if you don't find what you need on the shelf." She pauses and adds, "And if you go see my father, it'll definitely be more the traditional medicine rather than anything you'd see here. He thinks this is all mumbo-jumbo."

The guitarist turns, book still in hand, and faces the counter fully. The woman behind it is studied quietly for a long moment, as Jane seems to wrestle with something in her own mind. "Mumbo-jumbo," she muses. "What are your thoughts on that, Cass?"

"On mumbo jumbo?" Cass raises her eyebrows, surprised by the question a bit. "Well, I think it's a funny term." Then, she blinks and realizes that Jane is being serious and isn't talking about word usage. "You mean what o I think about alternative medicine? I think that there's validity to it. I don't think you should have to take a pill to make your body feel better. Sometimes you just need to listen to it and know what it needs - iron, protein, vitamin C. I don't think you should need a doctor all the time to prescribe something for you." The woman shrugs. "But this is coming from the daughter of a doctor, of course."

She nods slowly, still sizing up the woman. A chuckle escapes, and a question follows. Perhaps, by her expression and the choice of words, Jane's making a determination of how far she can trust Cass, but if that's so she isn't just coming right out and saying it. "What's the oddest thing you've ever seen?" Feet move her a few steps closer, the book from that shelf still in hand.

Having the book out is just distracting Cass. She can finally tell that Jane really wants to talk, or at least have some proper advice, so doing away with it all, she takes both the paper and the book, opens one of her drawers, drops them both in and closes the drawer with a final clunk. There. Now Jane has her full attention. "I was helping out in the ER one time and a guy had his wife sew on a thumb that he'd cut off, but she did it backwards. And with fishing wire." She thinks that over for a moment and shakes her head. "Well, I guess that's more gross than odd. Oh, wait, I got it. My roommate in college totally slept with her eyes open. That was the oddest thing to come home to, let me tell you."

"I can imagine," she replies with a chuckle. "But… how could you tell she was really asleep and not just faking?" Jane stops a few steps from the counter. "One of mine used to wake up in the middle of the night and hold staff coversations as if she were President. I guess for some ambition never sleeps." Her fingers thumb over the title of the book she holds, partly concealing it. The visible part is only a few letters, the sequence ion.

"I never quite figured it out," Cass admits. "But I, uh, did some things I while she was sleeping I'm pretty sure she would have wanted to close her eyes for if she was really awake. Or maybe not if she was into that sort of thing." Her smile turns into a bit of a smirk. Is she joking? It's hard to tell. "Ambition rarely sleeps, thought I guess it holds onto some people harder." She stops with the joking and doesn't say anything for a couple of moments. It's like she's allowing Jane to collect her thoughts. "So, really, what can I help you with? It's easier for me to help you out when I know what it might be you're looking for."

Permitting herself a snicker at the imagery suggested, Jane takes a moment before replying to the question asked of her. During that moment, she ponders the leap she might have to take. In trying to gauge whether or not to trust, she knows Cass might be making that same determination, there's that angle to consider, and also the far more likely one; that the bookseller hasn't had any such experiences at all. So she undertakes to test a bit more directly. "Have you seen anything that might be called… paranormal?"

Cass runs an occult bookstores. She's gotten this line of questioning all the time. And it's almost always by people very serious about what they're talking about. As always, Cass takes it, not like a joke, but not exactly seriously either. "I got drunk in Hartsdale once and thought I saw some UFOs. Turns out they were streetlights." It's hard to gauge what her actual take on the paranormal is from that. "But, I don't know. I've heard of a lot of strange things, but I haven't ever actually seen anything like it."

Her reply starts with a simple slow nod, to which she adds in a similar half joking tone. "I got drunk recently and thought I made a streetlamp shatter from the power of my own voice, which no one else could hear, and the weirder part is that same person claimed she could feel my larynx vibrating even though there wasn't any sound. I reallyreally oughta lay off the cheap wine."

Cass grins, taking the half joking to be mostly joking. "See, this is why drinking is both fun and a hazard. We start thinking we're invincible and can do weird weird things. Or see weird things." The idea that Jane's stating is just too out of the ordinary for Cass to really believe that the guitarist is trying to be a little serious. Or broach a sensitive topic. "So what really made the streetlamp shatter?"

"I don't really know," Jane answers with a chuckle. "It's just one of those things that'll stay a mystery, I guess. I just remembered I need to be somewhere really soon, maybe I'll come back and check out the store again later. See you, Cass." She turns then, returning the book to where it was found on the shelves and makes her way to the exit door. In doing this, as she starts to walk away, more of the book's title is seen; the letters l u t i o n.

Cass knows where every book in her store goes, so she can guess what Jane was carrying just by where she puts it back. Of course, not every customer puts books back exactly where they belong, but Jane does. "Well, it was nice to see you, Jane. Come back in soon!" She doesn't really take much note of the fact that she was holding Activating Evolution. That book is so popular right now she wouldn't be surprised if celebrities started coming in to pick up a copy. However, now that she's alone in the store again, she can get back to her own little mystery. Gladly, she opens the drawer again to start exploring.

Moments later the door opens and closes again behind the departing guitarist, and Jane is gone, back to whatever quest she's embarked upon in the vastness of New York City.

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