BUTCHER: Mr. Bird.
ME: Mr. Butcher.
BUTCHER: I love that we’re cordial.
BUTCHER: So what were you looking for?
ME: That The Order trade.
BUTCHER: Here you go. Say, while you’re here, would you be interested in any of our ten-dollar Marvel hardcovers?
(He waves at a bunch of stacks of Marvel hardcover comics, mostly remaindered.)
ME: I dunno…
BUTCHER: We’ve got X-Men: Deadly Genesis…
ME: …I suppose ten bucks isn’t bad for Ed Brubaker stuff.
BUTCHER: And NewUniversal…
ME: Not sure about that one. I remember it being very Ellis-y.
BUTCHER: Oh, it’s quite Ellis-y.
ME: But not quite as Ellis-y as, say, Doktor Sleepless.
BUTCHER: No, it’s definitely not that Ellis-y.
OTHER BEGUILING GUY: It’s Ellis-y enough that you know it’s Ellis, but not quite so Ellis-y that you feel this is something you have already read three times.
ME: Ah, what the hell. Ten bucks means I can trade it in to a used bookstore for practically no loss later on if I decide I don’t want it.
BUTCHER: Sounds good.
ME: Anything else you want to try to sell me on?
BUTCHER: I’ve got X-Factor hardcovers…
ME: Got those last time.
BUTCHER: Moon Knight?
ME: Not so much my thing.
BUTCHER: But I thought you were all about trying before you buy. You know, with the illegal downloads.
ME: Technically not illegal in Canada.
ME: And I did try. The entire point of “try before you buy” is that sometimes, you don’t buy. This is one of those times.
BUTCHER: I can’t imagine Marvel will be happy about that.
ME: I’m walking out of here with three Marvel books so far, all of which I read through illegal downloads before buying them. If Dan Slott wants to come after me with a baseball bat, that’s his problem.
OTHER BEGUILING GUY: He’s a big guy. Do you think you could take him?
ME: I bet he gets winded easily.
BUTCHER: Ah – volume one of Wolverine: Enemy of the State.
ME: Hm. On the one hand, it’s completely brainless. I mean completely brainless.
BUTCHER: But on the other hand, it’s Mark Millar giving John Romita Jr. an excuse to draw six issues of fight scenes. Twelve, if you count volume two, of which we currently have none. Is that not worth ten dollars?
ME: You have made a sale.
BUTCHER: All right, so…
BUTCHER: Would you like a copy of Storm in hardcover?
ME: Wait, are you asking me if I want to pay for it?
BUTCHER: Are you?
ME: Christ no.
BUTCHER: Why not?
ME: Well, for starters, I don’t like Storm.
BUTCHER: Not at all?
ME: Not even a little.
BUTCHER: It has Black Panther in it, I think.
ME: Still, it says “Storm” on the cover, and that means I am not spending ten dollars on it.
OTHER BEGUILING GUY: But it’s written by Eric Jerome Dickey. He’s an important novelist.
BUTCHER: Okay, your bargaining skills are shrewd. One dollar.
ME: …I don’t know…
BUTCHER: Oh, come on! One dollar! For a hardcover comic book! You can’t do much better than that!
ME: You’re forgetting the mental anguish.
BUTCHER: What mental anguish?
ME: From buying a copy of Storm.
OTHER BEGUILING GUY: Eric Jerome Dickey wants you to buy it.
ME: That’s nice of him. No.
BUTCHER: But you could take it to the used bookstore right after you buy it and sell it. You’d be making a profit.
ME: Off Storm? Geez, Butcher, why don’t you just ask me to be a drug mule instead? It’s more respectable.
BUTCHER: Okay. Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna give you this copy of Storm.
ME: You seem awfully desperate to get rid of this book.
BUTCHER: I think they’re starting to breed. Come on. Take it. Free book.
ME: Wow. This is amazing.
OTHER BEGUILING GUY: “Dear Penthouse Letters (and Eric Jerome Dickey): I never thought this could happen to me…”
BUTCHER: Take it.
ME: Oh, all right.
(Butcher hands it over, and as he does so…)
(At that precise moment the book falls into my hands.)
ME: NO! DAMN YOOOOOOU!