“You’re really going to do it, aren’t you?”
“Yes, yes I am.” Jeff Fuller stood in front of his newly acquired property and took it all in. It was one story with duct tape on the windows, dusty wooden floors, and suspicious dark stains on the ceiling. He couldn’t help but feel proud of himself for the purchase.
Jacob Fuller, his younger orthodontist brother, stood next to him, pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation. “You are an 80K-a-year accountant with a promotion around the corner and you’re just going to eff all that and open up a bookstore?”
“That is affirmative,” Jeff said, inhaling a deep, satisfied breath. “Do you smell that, Jakey?”
“Smells like your dreams dying a slow, asbestos-ridden death,” Jacob said as he grabbed his brother’s shoulders and wheeled him around to stare at him straight in the eyes. “Be honest with me, Jeffrey. Is this a midlife crisis? I always knew you were one crazy millionaire’s taxes away from snapping. Do you need a vacation? Is that what this is? We can go to New Zealand, you always wanted to go there, and see Hobbiton or the Shire or something.”
Jeff laughed and shrugged off his brother’s hands. “When we were kids, I was always the one buried in books and you were always the one who climbed trees and fell out of them. Growing up, accounting was my way of taking care of us after-well-you know. But you don’t need me to take care of you anymore. So let me have this one, okay Jakey?” Jeff patted his brother’s cheek and then bounced into the rundown building, chattering away in excitement.
“I’m envisioning thick curtains, like opera curtains here, and the cashier counter would be right here, by the window and-”
Jacob watched as his normally stoic, responsible big brother continued to bounce around like a kid in a candy store, and heaved a sigh in defeat. He dug something out of his pocket and marched up to his brother, pushing it in his hand
Jeff blinked in surprise. “This is a check…”
“Restorations don’t come cheap, you crazy bastard. I guess it’s my turn to take care of you.” Jacob ignored his brother’s wide-eyed expression and pointedly fixed his eyes on a splotchy stain on the ceiling. “So do you have a name for this place yet?”
“Yep, I’ll be christening her ‘The Bookfeet’.”
Jacob swiveled his head to look incredulously at his brother. “The what?”
“The Bookfeet’, because books take us on grand adventures, because Frodo walked to Mordor and back on the grandest adventure of them all and-”
“For the love of-,” Jacob pinched the bridge of his nose again, turned on his heels and marched out of the property, muttering expletives under his breath in disbelief.
Jeff followed, grinning widely as he locked the shabby door and pocketed the key. He couldn’t wait to bring his ‘Bookfeet’ to life.
© Jade M. Wong 2016
Want to know if Jeff was able to bring his Bookfeet to life? Or if this was truly a horrible mistake? Did he end up snapping and living as a hobbit in New Zealand? Read the next part to find out: another short story titled ‘Between the Shelves‘.
Written for Terrible Minds’ Flash Fiction Challenge. We had to pick a random title and run with it. ‘The Bookfeet’ immediately sparked an idea for a prequel of sorts to a previously written short story.
Credit for the beautiful photo goes to Anastasia Zhenina.