Literature For Idiots

Whenever I was younger and homeless or living in a sketchy rooming house; I always found enough money for a 24 hour gym membership.

This provided a reasonably secure locker, a place to shower and work out.

He stood outside the gym on Young Street for hours at a time, day and night with a sign around his neck which read… Literature For Idiots.

He was tall, between 40 and 50 with impeccable posture and straight black shoulder length hair and pitch black eyes. He wore a smirkish grin on his face and stared straight ahead. At his feet was a green army style backpack filled with multiple copies of his self published books of short stories. In his hands he held 2 of his books in front of his chest and waited for the Idiots.

I watched from a distance on good weather days to see how business was and although he received much attention; it appeared that sales were not good.

He noticed me watching him which seemed to please him.

A young man stopped and stared at the sign.

“Are you calling me an idiot?” His voice trailed as he stormed off without a response.

“Fucking moron!” He said, arms flailing in the air as he left.

I walked over to the man with the sign.

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m good.” He smiled. “And you?”

“I’m ok… You seem to be getting them riled up with your sign. Anyone ever attack you?”

“Not yet. However I have been nervous about it a few times. That is the common response ; Are you calling me an idiot?”

“I have to ask. Why do you do it?”

“It started out about selling books… Now it’s kind of a social experiment. I have a tape recorder running and I record and edit the best responses and sell that too.”

I bought 2 of his books for $5 each. I never read them, however I did give them to a man who was living in the rooming house I was at and he read them.

The next time I saw my neighbor he was furious with me.

“Those fucking stories were awful!” He said.

“I never read them.” I answered.

“Then why the fuck would you buy that trash?” He screamed.

“Just wanted to support a writer is all.”

“Fucker wrote about a landlady woman on Wellesley he killed and cannibalized. I know that woman!”

“So she’s still alive?”

“Yes.”

” I think that is called fiction... idiot. “

Dennis Mantin

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