Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And...the $999 Party's Over!

Well, the $999 used copy of the Helm graphic novel has been delisted from Amazon. I suppose this suggests that I was correct in my speculation that it was merely an error. It did seem like quite a markup and it was considerably higher priced than copies in similar condition. Oh well...

Unless... Unless what really happened was that the person who owned that $999 copy of the Helm--let's call her Jane Buck--suddenly realized that, in the grand scheme of things, money can't buy happiness and that, no matter how much money she might get for it, there would be a hole in her life and maybe even her soul if she let the one graphic novel that truly moved her slip through her fingers in the pursuit of material gain.

Yes! That's probably what happened.

Unless... Unless what really happened was that Jane woke up in the wee small hours because of a faint scraping sound coming from the richly appointed library of her mansion. Frightened, she rang the silent call button beside her bed to summon her hulking manservant Nixon. But, despite her insistent pressing, no one came to her room. Shivering in the chill air, she struggled into her white, silk dressing gown and took up a candelabra from the dresser. Silent as a ghost, lit only by the flickering flames of the candles, Jane descended the grand staircase toward the library. The mansion was as still as the grave except for the continuing sound of scraping. Scraping like the fingers of a skeletal hand, fumbling to claw its way from the cold hard ground.

As Jane neared the library she felt a sharp and sudden stab of fear. No, not fear for her safety--Jane was an expert in the ancient art of Chung Mu Quan--but fear that some intruder might be attempting to steal her most prized possession, her Very Good Condition copy of the Helm graphic novel by me, Jim Hardison.

Jane's breath caught in her throat at my mere mention of the Helm. She loved that graphic novel like no other graphic novel she'd read in 2010. She had only recently listed it on Amazon.com in a fit of pique when she'd learned that there was not yet a follow-up graphic novel in which she could read of the continuing adventures of her beloved Mathew Blurdy. Of course, she never truly intended to sell it--hence the ungodly high price--but what if someone had spotted the listing and then broken into her home to secure such a valuable copy? That was completely plausible.

Jane stepped to the door of the library, intending to fling it wide and catch the intruder in the act. But she hesitated, her hand on the cut crystal knob. No light streamed from beneath the door, and the character of the scratching struck her as oddly repellent in a kind of creepy, H.P. Lovecraft sort of way. What if it wasn't a crazed Amazon.com purchaser on the other side of that door, but some kind of Elder Being from dimensions outside of our own? Or worse, just a smell from out of time? A smell inexplicably capable of making a scratching sound and of stealing a comic that was voted one of the top ten great graphic novels for teens of 2010?

That thought settled Jane's hash. No smell from another dimension was going to steal her precious Helm, and there was no way she was going to continue the travesty of listing it for sale when she knew that she could not bear to be parted from it and that a second printing wouldn't be available for at least a month, possibly a month and a half! NO! She threw open the door and burst into the library like a plastic shopping bag full of water might burst into a library if it was tossed into the open door and just happened to burst as it crossed the threshold. Only, she didn't soak the tasteful oriental rug the way that water would have because she didn't literally burst, just figuratively.

She was confronted by a sight that made her blood run cold. Not literally. Blood pretty much only varies by a few tenths of a degree on its own--mostly staying around 98.6. There before her, lounging in his indecently revealing boxer briefs, was her faithful Nixon, reading her copy of the Helm and scratching his stubbly cleft chin with his own personal Discover card--not Jane's American Express Black card or even her Capital One Puce card-- but his own, $1000 limit Discover card.

"What?" Jane cried in semi-confusion. "Nixon...what are you doing? Why are you thumbing through my copy of the Helm?"

"I..." Nixon stammered. He had never been much of a talker. "I... Well, that is to say, Miss Jane... That is to say, I was..."

"You were trying to ascertain whether the copy of the Helm currently in my possession was in Very Good Condition so that you could determine whether it made sense to buy me the copy you found listed on Amazon for $999 and give it to me as a gift so as to convey your smoldering but hitherto unarticulated longing for me, based on the assumption that any copy of the Helm selling for that much money must be of superior quality and not knowing that it was the selfsame copy that you now hold in your powerful hand?" Jane asked huskily. She let the neck of her silk dressing gown, previously clutched tightly closed, fall just enough open to reveal the hint of the top of her perfect but heaving breasts.

"Yes'm," Nixon confessed, his alabaster cheeks flushing pink with embarrassment and passion.

"That's my copy listed," Jane whispered, and with that, she crushed the hulking bodyguard to her chest and covered his lips in firm but tender kisses that smelled of lavender and tasted of elderberry syrup.

Which is why the $999 copy of the Helm is no longer listed.

That's probably what happened.

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