Wilson ruminated on the unexpected letter for a couple of days more, reading it over and over again. It was strange, he thought. Tooth had obviously seen something in him, something deep that reflected the sadness the old man had felt in his own life. The idea was ludicrous of course, owning his own book shop. Leaving his life as a garbage man. He had been doing this job for twenty years, how could he do anything else. But he owned a book shop. He was a book shop owner. He was a book shop owner that was currently in need of a new book, and that seemed ludicrous in and of itself. He couldn’t own a book shop, he was a garbage man. He was Wilson Pool, and almost certainly written in the the fine print of his biography, somewhere down the short page that it would be, would be the words “Definitely never owned and operated a bookstore.”

It was Second again, a whole week had been by, and his route was once again taking him down Iron Lane towards and inevitable run in with the Read it and Weep. He was not sure how he felt about that, so he tried to actively avoid thinking about it as long as he possibly could. When he reached the shop he stopped working his route as usual, left his cart on the side of the road and walked up to the front. The window had been boarded up, and even though that was the only physical difference that he could see the once inviting and friendly shop face struck him as empty and lifeless. He supposed that technically it was, now, and he couldn’t be sure if it actually looked that way or if that was just how he saw it. Either way it brought the full force of his sadness crashing back down on him.

Amid the sadness that he was feeling for Tooth, and for himself, he also realized suddenly that he had a sadness for the shop itself. The Read it and Weep had been a bastion for him, a font of comfort over these last years. And here it sat, silent, empty. And he was going to let it stay that way, at least, that was what he thought he intended. Could he really do that? He was still not convinced that he could actually run a bookstore, but didn’t he owe it to Tooth? Didn’t he owe it to himself? And mostly, didn’t he owe it to the Read it and Weep? The store should remain open, the words should thrive. He had to try. He couldn’t let it sit like this.

“Don’t worry” he said, to the shop, feeling only slightly silly at doing so. “I won’t let anything happen to you. We’ll fix you up and everything will be ok.”

He set off at once, to finish his route. He had an appointment to keep with Officer Davies.


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