true customer tales: SMELLY SANTA-POCALYPSE


About an hour ago a one legged fellow in a wheelchair came in asking if we had any "religious items".  I helped him navigate back to the Western Religion section, where he happily set up camp.

This morning I dumped a pile of sf/fantasy pocket books on our sale cart, predicting that they would draw Smelly Santa like the siren song of an ice cream truck singing out to a playground full of children.

He arrived and started digging through them about twenty minutes ago.

And JUST now the fellow in the wheelchair was rolling out of the store, waving a cheery farewell as I rang up a customer.  He paused outside the doorway and engaged Smelly Santa in conversation, seemingly mistaking him for someone else (How?  How is that even possible?  It'd be like thinking the actual Santa Claus was the Easter Bunny.)

After a bit of back and forth where Smelly Santa denied having a Rascal scooter, and then a Segway, wheelchair guy dropped a bomb that had me literally scrambling for the computer to get a blog window open.  Alas for posterity, I was only able to transcribe a small portion of the conversation as customers kept demanding my attention, but this captures the gist of a discussion that went on for roughly five minutes.  Once Smelly Santa got rolling I couldn't really hear wheelchair guy, so it takes the form of a monologue.

"Do I believe in WHAT?  Do I believe in God?  Well, well now....how's about if I ask you a question?  Do you mind? Why did god create the devil?  if there's one creator, there's one creator, right? It sound like he's the scientist and we're the, whaddaya call it, experiment?  He put adam and eve on earth and made a heaven out of it, and made a heaven on earth, didn't he?  Well yah, they ate the apple, but you gotta have evil before you can play with it, right?  The creator created the earth and everything on it...Justice?  What kind of justice do you get in hell?  Y'see, if there's one creator, then he created EVERYthing...ain't that a kick in the head?"

At Smelly Santa's final salvo, wheelchair guy muttered something indecipherable and rolled away, defeated...whether by dazzling rhetoric or runaway B.O. remains an open question.

S.S. eventually bought a handful of pocket books, and now I can hear him out on the sidewalk haranging some passerby about his haul, how "you can't go wrong for twenty five cents" and how he got "a real rare one", referring to an L. Ron Hubbard western.

I guess it's 'rare' in the sense that no competent used book dealer would ever buy one for stock.

Now he's sitting on the bench in front of the coffee shop, commiserating with the guy who just tried to sell me two boxes of outdated computer manuals because he "has to buy a tire so I can get to work tomorrow."


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