This is the Captain: the Prequel. Christmas 2012. My first experience with the legend himself. If I asked a few of the booksellers I’ve worked with over the years, I’d probably have more stories about this guy than anyone else. He likes looking at the nudies over in our Newsstand. He likes describing them loudly but in his defense, the Captain would do this whether or not anyone was around. That’s makes it sound like he’s not a bad guy, right? Maybe he’s just, you know, not rowing with both oars in the water?
Well, at this point, he’s been told enough times. He’s been told not to describe these pictures at the top of his lungs. He’s been told not to show said pictures to other customers. Whether or not he understands this behavior is wrong doesn’t matter. It’s been made clear that he should not do it. Or at least we thought it was.
I get called over to our coffee shop because there’s someone acting… well, a little weird. He’s been talking to himself for a while, rearranging items on the counter, he went up to someone in line and sniffed them, he’s ripping open sugar packets on the condiment bar and making little Sweet ‘n Low mountains. I watch him for a bit. He sees me watching him. He abandons his Splenda ski-run and makes a b-line for our display of chai tea cartons lined up in front of the espresso machine. I make my move.
Me: Is there anything I can help you with?
the Captain: Oh, what do you want? You’re here to throw me out?
Me: Yes sir, you need to leave…
the Captain: And who are you? You the boss? You’re the captain?
Me: No sir, I’m not a Captain, but I am the—
He touches the brim of his captain’s hat and winks at me, the son of a bitch.
the Captain: You know what you need? You should have some of those marshmallows, those little marshmallows. Do you have any of those back there?
Me: I’m afraid I don’t have any marshmallows..
I’ve been herding him towards the front doors during our exchange. Each time I step in front of his path he adjusts to avoid me, which is remarkable as he refuses to look at me. It’s not far now, perhaps thirty feet or so to the front doors.
the Captain: Let me ask you a question— I’m going! Before, let me ask you, do I have time to pick up a woman? On my way out?
Me: No, you do not have time to pick up a woman.
the Captain: Not even one of these?
He points at a female customer we’re passing and asks her if she’s a librarian. He walks away before she can answer as there are four other women nearby he must ask as well, and I apologize quickly before following after and attempting to steer him left to the doors.
Me: No! No one here is a librarian! I’m sorry about him, I’m so sorry. No, she is not a librarian either!
the Captain: And what about you? Christmas shopping! Huh?
Me: The extent of my Christmas shopping is none of your concern..
the Captain: Hey, let me ask you a question—
Me: Ok, I’m just going to call the cops now..