Gotham Book Mart

by TNL

The cloudburst catches us in the West Forties. Across the street, I see a bookstore. It's like something out of a time warp: an old-fashioned shop. Not a chain. There is nothing B. Dalton about this.

I grab Justin's hand to get his attention. “Come on,” I say.

We dash through the traffic and push, dripping, through the door. Water runs down our jeans. We are going to be so very welcome in here.

This isn't really Justin's scene. He'll humor me for a minute, because the alternative is dealing with the Flood and Noah's Ark outside, but I can see he is going to get bored. There are no cool floor displays, no flashing lights. Josh, I chide, you are such a prick.

Oh, look, there's a whole stack of Edward Gorey books.

I love “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” and “The Bug Book.” “The Hapless Child” is chilling. Then I see one I don't recognize. The author is Ogdred Weary, and the title is “The Curious Sofa.” It looks like Gorey: I get it, the author's name is an anagram.

Leafing through it, I start to smile. This is great.

“Justin, come here.”

I show him the book. He reads a couple of panels, then looks at me. Huh?

“It's all euphemisms for sex,” I whisper. His eyes widen.

He starts at the beginning. I read over his shoulder.

“Look,” I giggle. “There's one for us.”

When they got there, they found Sir Egbert, an extraordinarily well-proportioned old gentleman, and his friend, Louie, having a romp on the terrace.

Louie looks rather fey, and Sir Egbert is chasing him with a whip.

Justin looks at me. “Notice this?” He turns back to the start. An extremely well-endowed young man. An unusually well-formed man of middle age. Harold, the gardener, an exceptionally well-made youth. Donald, Herbert's singularly well-favored sheepdog.

“I'd say they're all for us. The girls don't get much development.” I nod. “This is great. We have to get it,” Justin adds.

“You do understand.” He looks at me.

“It's the euphemism that makes it so hot. It's secret – it's all your imagination.” I open the book again. “See?” He invited her to go for a ride in a taxi-cab, on the floor of which they did something Alice had never done before.

“Yeah,” he says. “I get it.”

It's all your imagination.

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