Here's a bit from near the beginning of Boomerang, in which Ted Hogwood, ex-NBA journeyman power forward and current jazz guitarist/bookstore employee, loses both of his gigs. We open with Ted in the bookstore manager's office.
"Ted," Marci said, "it was just, Monday I believe, when we had a conversation about proper customer interaction. Do you remember that conversation?"
"Yes, I do." Ted rolled his eyes. "The person who thought I was making fun of his purchase."
"Much the same comment we've had from all these folks." Marci indicated the pile of papers. "Thirty-four, at last count. Not including the customers who have spoken to me personally about your, shall we say, lack of professional detachment regarding their purchases."
“I try Marci, and I know you have to stock some of this crap. Sorry.” She nodded. “But you've got to admit, it's pretty tough to keep a straight face when somebody brings a copy of Everybody's Wrong But Me, or Your Liberal Neighbors, Abandoning God, Destroying America to the counter. The people buying this dreck actually believe some kind of thought went into it beyond separating them from their cash and common sense.”
“I understand, but when I get a letter like this,” Marci picked up the top sheet from the file folder, “less than a week after our last talk, I'm afraid I have to take some action.” She read from the letter. “‘You may not be familiar with the fact that rolling one's eyes and snorting is not considered decent behavior in a customer-service oriented business. The oversized, middle-aged troll'…“ Marci winced sympathetically, “…‘that you have working in your store obviously thinks he has license to make just such thinly veiled editorial comments concerning my choice of reading material. I have tolerated it in the past, but enough is enough. Please be informed that I have license to choose another bookstore and will not only do so, but will also persuade all of my friends and acquaintances to do the same.’”
“Wait, don't tell me.” Ted held up his Man Thinking hand again, slowly, so as not to throw off his balance on the gallant, inadequate chair. “This has got to be the moron who bought How To Be First in Line, EVERYTIME.”
Marci put the paper back on top of the pile and shook her head.
“Ted, this can't go on.”
“He also bought Feel, Think, Do and Work to Play/Play to Work,” Ted said, reinforcing his case.
“That’s not the point. The point is that he is a customer. What he chooses to buy doesn't matter. What matters is that I can't let this happen in my store. I've tried to make allowances, Ted, you know I have. You do bring some very positive qualities to the place. But I can't afford to spend so much of my time and energy putting out all the fires you ignite.”
“Point well taken.” Both hands went up in submission, again slowly, mindful of his perch. Then the left hand came down, the right staying up in pledge. “Promise. I will keep my opinions to myself. The last thing I want to do is make your life more difficult.”
“Ted,” Marci said. “You don't understand what it is I'm having to say here.”
“I completely understand, Marci. Business is business and I've just got to control myself no matter how stupid―”
That evening, when Ted and Sarah, his beloved Gibson L5-CES jazz guitar, reported to the Blue Raspberry Cafe for the low paying, two night a week gig his quarrelsome, unnamed quintet had had for the last three months, he was informed by the wife of the couple that owned the establishment that her husband had run off with Roscoe, the group’s fiftyish, tie-dye favoring drummer. At the moment she was feeling antipathetic towards the male of the species, jazz players in particular, and could not guarantee Ted's safety if he chose to remain on the premises. She seemed only marginally aware of the large, rather rusty kitchen knife in her hand. Ted felt it best to leave before she became fully alive to the fact.
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