by Benn Ray
For a while, I was getting regular calls from some dude who would not stop mumbling incoherently on the phone. I'd hang up, he'd call back. Wash, rinse and repeat. He was relentless.
Eventually, I would say "Okay, great, just hold on one moment I'm with a customer and I'll be right with you."
Then I'd sit the phone next to a stereo speaker and put on a Pig Destroyer record (sorry guys, but thanks!) and play it really loud for a while. After 3 Pig Destroyer sessions, the dude finally stopped calling.
So Saturday at work had such general weird vibe going on (brah hipsterbashing, people urinating on Celebrated Summer Records), I should have been expecting something, but nah. I wasn't.
The phone rings.
"Hello, A-Tomic Books, Benn speaking," I answer.
A man on the other line says, "Yes, I'll be coming in a about fifteen minutes for a copy of Atlas Shrugged and I just wanted to make sure you'll have time for me."
I'm slightly puzzled. How much time will this guy need to pick up a copy of this book? Is he looking to avoid a line? Does he want some kind of express checkout? Does he need me to run the book out to his car because the imaginary parking problems in Hampden have lead him to believe he won't be able to park?
I mean, this seems a little weird, but then he's looking for an Ayn Rand book, and really, those books aren't written for sane people.
I say, "Hold on a second, let me just double check to make sure we have that title in stock," even though I'm pretty sure we don't. I don't really feel comfortable encouraging libertairans.
I check our shelves, and sure enough, Atlas Shrugged was not in stock.
So I get back on the phone and say, "I'm sorry, but we're out of stock on that title."
But before I can ask him if he'd like us to reorder it and notify him when it comes in stock in a day or so, the man on the other end says, "I think you misunderstand."
"Huh," I think. This seemed pretty straight forward to me.
But slowly it's dawning on me that this call is going to go someplace unexpected.
In a deep, classic, radio disc jockey voice, he announces, "I will be coming in the store in 15 minutes. I will be wearing a handsome blue blazer. And I would like to know if you have the time to take me someplace discreet in the store and suck my dick."
There it is!
Laughing, I thanked him for his call but told him that wouldn't be necessary. As I'd already said, we don't have Atlas Shrugged in stock.
I'd just been John Galted!
But now I'm curious, is "Atlas Shrugged" code for bookstore cruising?
I've done some Googling but couldn't find any evidence of it.
Given the book being used, it's all the more ironic in light of Rand's own hatred of gays (something "objectivist libertarians" are quick to make apologies for):
"It involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises .... Therefore I regard it as immoral ... And more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion. It's disgusting." -Ayn Rand
Although, really, "The Fountainhead" might be a more effective codeword.
As in, "I'm stopping by for some Fountainhead."