What actually took place on that dreadful Wednesday morning at the bookstore was the stuff legends are not made of, and what follows is all I can remember.
In the humblest of tones I asked the sales girl for Dean Koontz. She looked surprised and told me the Dean was in fact Stephen. The marginally cheerful girl proceeded to tell me that Dean was my mistake, and all they ever had was Stephen Coonts. Being ignorant of Coonts I doubted such a thing existed. Triumphantly, she took the Coonts and placed it in my hands. I guess there isn’t even a subtle difference in the pronunciation between Coonts and Koontz. This tragic state of affairs might have occured because I was mispronouncing the name for months, much to the delight of some, and to the outrage of others. At any rate, I couldn’t help feel that I was holding an imitation Koontz in my hand but she assured me that it was the real thing. I flicked through the Coonts and it felt and looked real enough, but having been encouraged to go on this quest by a diabolical but quite attractive reader, I persisted. Surely, I asked, in a tone reserved for dealing with sales people in bookstores just north of the Caroni River, Koontz was even more popular than Coonts and she must have heard of Koontz. She shook her head in a way sales people like to shake their heads. That is the one-thing customers and sales people have in common, we all like to shake sales people’s heads.
I like making long stories short because the attention span of the average bloger is three lines and only when double-spaced and typed in very large fonts. To the sale girl’s credit she asked her boss who is much like Charlie in Charlie’s Angels, heard but never seen and for purely esthetic reasons. Charlie said that Coonts was all they ever had and even though several hundred customers were asking for Koontz they saw no reason to bring those in. A Koontz is a Coonts he said with all the charm a used toothpick can muster. I thanked Charlie for his lack of wisdom and for staying behind the door. I thanked the sales girl for offering the Coonts but I politely said I was in no mood for substitutes.
This part of the saga doesn’t have a happy ending since I am still without Koontz and now I must go deep in the Amazon and see if I find a Koontz or two. The quest continues and hope is all I have.
To be continued……