Adventures in Book-Buying

Adventures in Book-Buying

A Story by ~goh~

It's a short story I wrote for my Lit class!


Adventures in Book-buying


Olivia Smith looked up from the book she was reading. That man was still standing at the romance novel shelf, intently staring at some steamy novelette with Fabio on the cover. What a weirdo. Who in their right mind wants to stare at that junk? She quickly brushed the thought out of her mind. Olivia had come to Barnes and Noble to relax and lose herself in a sea of words, and not to come out until she had an armful of books to purchase. She slapped her book shut. She had had enough of How to Make Pot Roast.

Olivia stood up, brushing the dirt off her jeans. She turned back to the bookshelf, and stole a glance at the man. He was wearing a large trench-coat, and his fedora was pulled down at an angle, shading his eyes. He had moved on to the science fiction section, and was now trying to look extremely interested in a selection of Dungeons and Dragons players’ guides. He looked over his shoulder, and plucked a Doctor Who novel off the shelf. Looks like the creep has some taste in books Olivia thought. But, the man was acting a little too shifty for her tastes. She had to do something.

“May I help you?” Olivia jumped, startled by the voice that had come out of nowhere. She turned around. A female assistant was standing behind Olivia, her arms full of books.

“I think the question is, do you need some help?” The woman nodded, but the small movement was too much for her stack of books. They slipped from her arms, and fell to the floor with a bang. The man in the trench-coat whipped around, searching for the source of the noise.  Olivia giggled, and the assistant smiled. She bent down and picked up some of the books the woman had dropped. “Are you all right?” Olivia handed the books back to the assistant.

“Oh, this has been happening all day. I’m fine, really,” she giggled, and adjusted the stack of books to a more comfortable position. “Thanks, by the way. I’m Morgan.”

“You’re welcome,” Olivia replied, placing her books back on the shelf. “I’m Olivia.”

“Olivia then.” Olivia slowly turned her head to look at the strange man again, trying to remain inconspicuous. He was staring straight at her; now she could see his eyes. They were unnaturally blue, his icy stare boring into her skull, sending shivers down her spine. “He’s a strange one, Mr. Chell.”


“Mr. Chell. He’s one of our regulars,” Morgan said. “He always keeps to himself. Comes in, browses for ages, buys his books, and leaves. Bet you didn’t know he’s loaded,” she bragged.

“Really?” Olivia highly doubted that. A man who wears that ratty trench-coat and that dirty hat can’t possibly have lots of money she thought.

“Oh yeah. He drops, like, hundreds every time he comes.”

“Now tell me this: If he’s got so much money, why’s he acting all shifty?” Morgan shrugged.

“No reason. I told you, he’s a weirdo!” She twirled her finger around in the air and mouthed the word Craaazy! Olivia rolled her eyes.

“I’m positive he’s going to steal something. Just look at him!” she said, exasperated, gesturing to Mr. Chell. At that moment, he burst out laughing, slapping his knee, and then immediately grew serious again. Olivia gave Morgan a withering look, which Morgan shrank away from her.

“Well…maybe you have a point…”

“A point? A point ? He’s probably got ten books stashed in that coat, and more in his pants!” Morgan bit her lip, unsure of what to say. “I think you need a manager over here.” Morgan frowned. Mr. Chell had been a good customer all these years. Surely he wouldn’t do such a thing she thought.

“All right. I’ll bring the manager.” Olivia smiled. She was doing her good deed for the day, ridding the bookstore of this whack job. Morgan walked away, and Olivia folded her arms smugly. She turned around to face Mr. Chell, but he had disappeared.

“So, you think I’m strange, do you?” Olivia jumped, and turned around. Mr. Chell had somehow snuck up behind her. He was immensely tall, and his lanky figure towered over her.

“Yes- I mean, no! Where would you get an idea like that?” she stuttered.

“I have ears, you know. If you had been talking any louder, you might as well talk through a microphone.” Olivia steamed. Who did this man think he was?

“I think you should mind your own business. And stop acting so shifty. I’ve already called for the manager.”

“Oh really?” Mr. Chell scoffed at the mere idea.

“Yes. If you were trying to steal something, you could have done a better job.” His eyes grew wide.

“You actually thought I was trying to steal something?”


“Exactly,” he chuckled. Mr. Chell opened his trench-coat, and it was empty. Olivia immediately became apologetic.

“Oh god, I’m so sorry!” she said. “And now I’ve gone and made a fuss. I can go tell them it’s all right-”

“Don’t bother. I’m going to enjoy the way this turns out.” Mr. Chell smiled, and leaned back against the bookshelves. Olivia was shocked. He’s making a complete pompous a*s of himself she thought. Suddenly, Morgan came hurtling around the corner and almost crashed into Olivia.

“I got the manager! He should be coming soon…I think.” Seconds later, a middle-aged, heavy-set man came puffing around the corner.

“Now, who’s the young miss who had a problem?”

“It was me.” Olivia raised he hand and mock waved it to gain the attention of the manager. “I thought this man over here, Mr. Chell, was going to steal some books, but it was a mistake. Nothing going on over here.” The manager looked relieved. Morgan was dumbstruck. Mr. Chell looked horribly disappointed for a moment, but a smile cracked across his face.

“All right. If you need anything else, just let me know.” The manager waddled off like some sort of penguin.

“What happened over here? I thought for sure he was going to steal something,” Morgan insisted, horribly disappointed she had missed the action.

“Why don’t you prevent unwarranted jumps to the Island of Conclusions and keep your horrible opinions to yourself,” interjected Mr. Chell. Morgan looked furious, and stomped off in a huff. Olivia giggled.

Phantom Tollbooth, right?” she asked.

“Yes. But look lively, Miss Olivia. If you really want to do the community a service, pay attention to those boys over there.” He pointed to two teenagers trying to hide behind a non-fiction shelf. They were hastily stuffing books into a messenger bag, looking back and forth to make sure they would not be discovered. Olivia gasped. She had been paying too much attention to Mr. Chell to notice the obvious. There really was a robbery going on, and she had missed it.

“Oh my god,” Olivia mumbled. She raced over to the boys, who immediately looked up in distress. “Hey, you two! Put those books back!” The boys dropped the books they had yet to pack, and the smaller of the two scrambled to pick up the bag. He raced past the autobiographies, heading for the exit. The taller one tried to block Olivia’s stride, but she dodged his arms and continued her chase. The smaller boy looked back and gulped. Olivia was gaining on him, and she was determined to get that bag. She vaulted over a reading table, scattering several copies of Time. “I’ve got you now!” she exclaimed, and leaped on top of the boy. He wriggled free, but Olivia managed to get a grip on the bag. Her hands wrapped around the shoulder strap of the messenger bag and held on for dear life. The boy, finding it hard to run and carry the suddenly heavy bag at the same time, threw it off his shoulder. He tried to run out the door, but he was plucked off the ground by a disappointed Mr. Chell. Olivia lay on the ground clutching the prized bag, her chest heaving in and out. The boy was thrashing around in the grip of Mr. Chell, trying to squirm free.

“L-let me go!” he shouted. Mr. Chell grinned, and tightened his grip. The manager rushed up from behind his counter with the boy’s accomplice in tow to inspect the damage.

“Oh my, what have we here? An attempted robbery, here, in my shop? Oh, this simply won’t do at all,” he tutted. Mr. Chell released his grip on the boy, and he landed softly on the carpeted floor. He looked up at the manager, and shrank away from his disapproving gaze.

“Miss Olivia, are you all right? You can let go of that bag now.” Olivia slowly released he grip on the bag and stood up.”

“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks.” She glared at the boy, and he frowned and looked down, retreating from her gaze.

“Now, you young men. What do you have to say for yourself?” The manager shook his finger at the boys disapprovingly.

“It was all his idea, I swear!” shouted the smaller boy. He pointed accusingly at his accomplice.

My idea?! It was all his from the start, every bit of it,” corrected the taller boy.

“Boys, boys. Calm yourselves. Now, let’s hear the whole story, without pointing fingers.” Mr. Chell managed to calm the boys down, but not without the smaller boy sticking out a defiant tongue.

“Well, I needed the books for a school assignment, but I don’t have much money,” he admitted.

“I was the one who suggested he steal them,” added the other boy.

“Well then, who’s our hero that saved the day?” The manager looked around, and Olivia stepped forward.

“I saw the boys stuffing books into this bag, and I ran after them,” she explained.

“You two should be ashamed of yourselves,” said the manager. The boys hung their heads in shame.

“And, now I think this is where I come in.” Mr. Chell went in the pocket of his trench-coat and whipped out a police badge. Olivia gasped. “I think it’s time I take you two down to the precinct so your parents can pick you up.” He led them out of the store, and the door closed slowly behind them.

“Wow. Mr. Chell, of all people, is a police officer?” Olivia turned to the manager, who was beaming profusely.

“Best in the force,” he replied. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my desk. Have a pleasant day.” He waddled off back to his counter. Olivia smiled, and walked out the door into the blazing sun. She flipped open her phone and paused for a moment. She then began a text to her best friend. Kiri �" You won’t believe what happened to me today. Olivia chuckled to herself, and walked off in the direction of her house.

© 2011 ~goh~

Author's Note

Anyway, I wrote this story for my Lit class. Actually, everyone wrote a story, and we get to review all the stories.
Here are all the little easter eggs: Olivia Smith is Liv, Kiri is Kiri, and Mr. Chell is a reference to Chell from the Portal games. When I wrote this I was like "Yes, I get to name a character Chell!"
So...yep. Hope you like it!

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I died. DIED. Like, epically. This was so amazing. Someone wrote an ENTIRE FREAKING SHORT STORY ABOUT ME. And I didn't even have to ask~

You're officially my favorite person of the month~

This was amazingly written, and I loved it. And the fact that it was about me made me squee and jump up and down like a friggin' maniac.


I'm in such a good mood now~

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Added on November 11, 2011
Last Updated on November 11, 2011



Where I go, there I may be, MD

Hello. I go by ~goh~, 'cause it sounds awesome. Yeah. :3 I am a girl that loves to write. And I'm an exteremely obsessive Whovian. Please do enjoy my writing; it is meh LIFE. Well, not really, but.. more..

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