Wednesday, July 27, 2016

16. it will help you

by nick nelson

illustrated by palomine studios

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here

it was thursday, so ellen was working a late shift at burger king.

rick and grace were watching the real housewives of atlanta after eating a couple of hungry man dinners.

rick had had a backyard barbecue and grace a roasted carved white meat turkey.

now they were sitting on opposite ends of the ratty old couch, each with a can of fanta in their hand.

suddenly rick remembered the hitler book, and he decided to ask grace about it.

grace and rick could both talk and watch television at the same time and grace never minded being interrupted when she was watching television. sometimes ellen did - “can’t you see i’m watching this?” - but grace never did.

and grace was in kind of a good mood. her friend janet had come over before dinner and something janet had said about somebody at grace’s old company had amused her.

“do you know if there are any book stores around?” rick asked.

“book stores? like a store you walk into?”

“yeah. a store that would have every book ever written.”

“i don’t know, i don’t think so. there was a big borders down the street from the office, but that closed years ago - when i was still working.”


“why?” grace turned and looked at rick. “i never saw you read a book before. you want some particular book?”

“maybe.” maybe i shouldn’t have asked her, rick thought. she can be really nosey sometimes.

“maybe? what’s maybe? what do you want, some dirty book? like fifty shades or something? i got fifty shades out of the library and i thought it was horseshit.”

rick got a little red. he looked down on his can of fanta. “no, i don’t want any dirty book. i was just - this guy told me about this book and i thought it sounded interesting, that’s all.”

“well, you can go on amazon. they got books for three or four dollars. they say they are a penny but the postage is three or four dollars. “

“do they have every book that’s ever been written?”

“absolutely. what book did you have in mind?”

rick tried to remember the exact title. “the life and death of adolf hitler, by robert payne.”

grace did not seem particularly surprised by this. “yeah, they probably have that for a penny plus three dollars. you have a credit card, right?”

“uh - no.”

“no? i thought ellen got you one.”

“i had one, but it got cancelled. i never used it that much anyway.”

“oh. well, i tell you what - i will buy it for you and you can owe me. how’s that?” sometimes when grace was in a good mood she could be surprisingly friendly.

“sure - thanks.”

“i tell you what - i know another book you should read. i will get you that too, if you want. it was the best book i ever read and it really helped me out.”

rick was a little bewildered by this, but did not want to seem ungrateful. “yeah, that sounds great.”

“it’s called i’m o k you’re o k, by thomas harris. it really helped me - it might help you too. it’s a different thomas harris from the one who wrote silence of the lambs. i thought it was the same but they are different. but silence of the lambs is a great book too.”

“will that help me out too?” rick asked, just to be saying something.

“ha, ha - i suppose it would if you wanted to be a serial killer.”

when rick looked confused, grace added, “that was a joke, sport. here, let me go get my laptop.”

neither ellen, grace, nor rick used computers much or regularly used the internet. grace had a crummy old laptop that she had been allowed to buy from the company for five or ten dollars when she was laid off, and now wi-fi and internet were included in the phone bill so she could get on the web if she wanted to.

she got up and went to her room to get the laptop.

rick focused his mind, sort of, back on the real housewives of atlanta. most of the people on the show were black, but they did not look much like the black people he encountered in the real world so it did not bother him that much.

for some reason grace’s little joke about him wanting to be a serial killer stuck in his mind.

17. "billy"