May 11, 2009
When last we left our heroine, Karen, she was slowly dying of pneumonia and ermine-flu brought on by overwork in the dark, dusty caverns below the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Union Square. There she was forced by her cruel overlords to alphabetize rocks and debris without rest, and to write brief but appealing shelf-talkers for mummified rats. Karen depended on you, dear readers, as her only hope of escape from chick-lit white slavery. With your help, and with her own boundless reserves of tenacity and pep, maybe, just maybe, she could win the coveted Staffordshire Sales Award for February! Then, at the official award ceremony at Carnegie Hall, she could escape through a secret trapdoor in the orchestra pit and meet the daring team of teenage vegan activists with whom she had been secretly corresponding. These brave rescuers would spirit Karen away to new life in a land of hope, freedom and opportunity: a far away country known as Belgium!
Well, not much of that happened, except: we won! Yes! Karen won the February Staffie Award! And what an award it is. Observe the exquisite gilding of the hand-blurred wood:
Today, Karen proudly wears this treasured fourteen-karat wooden trophy on a lanyard around her neck, fondling it at every opportunity and using it to deflect the heavy blows of Patrick from the First Floor.
Please realize, it wasn’t easy selling so many copies of HELP! A BEAR IS EATING ME! Karen is forbidden to speak with customers; she had to use subtle body language, fits of coughing and deep eyelid-batting to suggest this book to a wide variety of visitors — some lecherous, others deranged. But she was fearless and would not be stopped!
Thank you, every one of you who helped make this young slave-girl’s life briefly less monotonous and miserable. When visiting the B&T store in NYC, be sure to congratulate Karen, inquire about the progress of her many diseases, and perhaps smuggle her a crust of stale bread or a discreet blood transfusion.
What’s next for Karen and her cruel tormentors? Well, it seems the tsunami of media interest around the B&N Staffie Award has reached certain international aid organizations, who have taken an interest in her plight. They hope that by raising public awareness of the cruel conditions in which paperback booksellers operate, they can generate momentum for much-needed reforms, or at least drive more sales to the Amazon Kindle. Incidentally, we are still trying to get Angela Jolie involved, so please forward this link to her if you are Brad Pitt.
A happy footnote to this story is that I recently received my first royalty check for HELP! A BEAR IS EATING ME! All I can say is “Wow! Time to purchase food!”
So thanks again, America! And thank you too, Canada! Much kudos also to Iran, home of an inexplicably large fraction of my sales. For that matter I’d like to thank Iceland for dedication to literature in general, and Khazakstan for being such good sports about the whole Borat thing. But above all, thanks again to Karen, Bear Champion!