The La-Iin Series
“Book Club Shopping”
“Can I admit I’m confused as to why we need to do shopping for the book club?” Asul-Zenza said. “I thought we simply brought a book we all owned and read it….”
“There are things we need to ensure the book club’s survival, and its comfort,” A Vampire girl named Lise-Mara said. “Also, I thought it would be nice to have extra copies of books just in case someone loses their copy. I haven’t felt the need to buy anything for the book club in a while, so we have plenty of vuyong. I say we all pick from book we really like or are interested in.”
“Sounds like a plan to me!” Niser-Zanta said. “And it’s good to see you again, Asul-Zenza. How was your trip?”
“Fun, but there was a lot of flying involved to get from place-to-place,” he sighed. “But what do you expect of a Birdmix society? I’m still somewhat exhausted and I got ten hours of sleep after arriving home….oh, I’m getting old….”
“I take offense to a Vampire in his sixties saying he’s getting old,” Lise-Mara sighed.
“Asul-Zenza, you should be the first to pick out a book you like,” A Vampire named Xelshy-Mitter said.
“Yeah! Find a book you really like, or even better, one you’d really like to read! Then maybe you can pick it next time we have a meeting!” Niser-Zanta said.
“I suppose I could look….” He said, glancing around the bookstore. “But there are so many books I’d like to read. Ah, even being as young as I am I sometimes feel there’s not enough time to do everything I’d like to do….”
“Worry more about that when you hit one-hundred,” Lise-Mara said. “Go look for a book you’d like to read, Ghneckdo. We’ll be shopping for more boring things.”
“If you say so…” He started to spread his wings, but then remembered he was in a small building not designed for flying around in. He folded them to his back and head for the science fiction section.
“There was one down here I was curious about….” The titles sounded somewhat familiar to him. He knew Xelshy-Mitter’s preference for books included science fiction, and wondered about what recommendation he’d get if his friend was along.
“Ooh, I’ve read this one before!” He could imagine Xelshy-Mitter say. It made him chuckle as he took a book out the shelf and glanced through it. Upon stumbling across a scene involving child intercourse, he closed the book and stuck it back in the shelf.
‘This bookstore certainly isn’t a child-friendly one…I’d best be careful. Intercourse I can take, but child intercourse….?’
He was left with a feeling of disgust and distress as he remembered the many Vampires who still considered him a child. He sighed and tried to put it out of his mind as he strolled down the adventure section.
‘Oh, a pirate story…I’ve heard of this one. I wonder if the translation is good….oh, I need to try perfecting my Enlash, I hear there’s a lot of books there that never make it to Vaelyn….speaking of languages, I wonder if I have the vuyong for a language books? If I’m to travel several places it won’t do to only know a few languages….I already have a slight trouble with anything that’s not Vaelis….arrgh! Just look at the damn book, Asul-Zenza, that’s what you’re here for!’
As he opened the book, he heard the sound of familiar voices giggling. ‘I wonder if the club is nearby?’
He sat down and read the first two chapters of the pirate story. The first chapter had him engrossed and he couldn’t help but turn to the next page; halfway through the second chapter, however, the story took a quick tonal shift, and soon became a story about a pirate in love who wanted to prove to the world that there could be a good pirate.
‘God, I hate stories that force the author’s morals on the reader!’ Asul-Zenza sighed. He had read many a books with either a good, neutral, or evil stance, and could handle any of them so long as they didn’t try to force it on the reader–the author always seemed to forget about the actual story in those cases.
He couldn’t help but think of what La-Iin might think of the pirate story.
“I hate goody-goody books!” He could imagine in her voice. He giggled. ‘Oh, I’d love to hear her criticisms….I’ve never really asked her about what sort of books she reads anyway. Though I doubt it’s anything like I read at least yet….’ He put the book back in the shelf and head down the creative writing section. He always found the section interesting–in some stores it was full of moral stories with unique morals, sometimes completely random and absurd stories, but there was always at least one treasure as far as he could remember.
‘Heh. Treasure.’ It made him think back on the pirate story.
He took the first book he saw out of the shelf. It was the story of a kingdom where each resident was instructed to wear pink and the protagonists were the rulers of the Kingdom. He sat down and read through three chapters, finding himself intrigued.
‘This has potential….’ He thought. He closed the book and searched around the store to find his book club. He saw them glancing through a shelf nearby the Fantasy/Supernatural section.
“Oh, Asul-Zenza!” Niser-Zanta called. “Find something you like?”
“Yes,” he said. “This.”
The trio blinked. “….what?”
“It’s an odd choice, for you,” Lise-Mara said.
“Yeah, you usually like blood and guts and seriousness,” Xelshy-Mitter said.
“And it looks a little….well, I probably shouldn’t say that here…” Niser-Zanta said.
“Yes, but I read three chapters. It’s setting itself up quite nicely. I would love to read it, even if we do not read it at a book club meeting. I have the vuyong to pay for it myself, so–”
“No, it’s fine,” Lise-Mara said. “Give me that. It’s coming out the book club budget, but I figure if it’s a horrible story, you can always pay the book club back.”
“I suppose…thank you, Lise-Mara.”
“Not a problem, Ghneckdo,” she said. “Want to help us look for a few more things before we go?”
Asul-Zenza and the book club strolled down the various sections, commenting on the covers, titles, and cover descriptions of the various books they saw. Sometimes, when they came across a book only one of them had read, they made a comment on it.
“This one was not good,” Asul-Zenza said, pointing at the cover of a Fantasy book.
“And this one made zero sense! Of course, if you like nonsense, I guess you would like it…would explain why I own it!” Xelshy-Mitter said about a book down the science fiction section.
“It’s a great book if you’re a girl….in my family! Everyone else I’ve ever met hates it, and I don’t blame ’em!” Niser-Zanta said.
“Not that it was bad. The plotline was good. The characters were good. It was all good, but it was written like someone describing a book they love–that is, it could have done with a better writer. Good ideas but no idea how to word sentences. I wonder if Vaelis was not the writer’s first language….” Lise-Mara said.
Asul-Zenza enjoyed the time in the bookstore, and found himself slightly disappointed when it came to an end. Lise-Mara gasped at the amount of vuyong her whole purchase cost, and sobbed lightly as she paid the man.
“That was fun. And it was funny to see Lise-Mara cry. I’m kidding, of course,” Niser-Zanta said.
“I know it’s funny to see me cry. My makeup runs. That’s why, right?” Lise-Mara said.
“Eheh, yeah, of course….”
“Did you have fun, Asul-Zenza?” Xelshy-Mitter asked. Asul-Zenza nodded. “A lot. I’m glad we did this. I hope we can do this again next year.”
The trio glanced at each other. Lise-Mara looked directly at Asul-Zenza. “Even if it’s not next year, it’ll happen again eventually, I know. Now, do me a favor, Ghneckdo?”
“Close your eyes.”
“Oh? Alright….” He shut them tight. Someone lifted up his arms and a book was dropped into his hands. He opened the package. The pink book was inside.
“Happy early birthday, Asul-Zenza!” All three of the book club members said. Asul-Zenza gasped.
“We knew you had plans for tomorrow, but we still wanted to do something for you. So we came up with this!”
“Does….does this mean we won’t do this again ever?”
The others groaned. “I meant what I said, Ghneckdo. But you could at least be grateful,” Lise-Mara said.
“I….I am….thank you all,” he said, holding the book close.
“I hope you like it!” Xelshy-Mitter said.
“Yeah, you better. You picked it, after all!” Niser-Zanta said.
“I hope tomorrow is a great day for you, Ghneckdo,” Lise-Mara said.
“I….I hope so too.”
“Hey, if there’s anything else you want to do, we could do it now!” Niser-Zanta said.
“Well….if it’s not a problem, could we all get a drink of blood? I think I saw a Bloodyun nearby here…”
“Sure, let’s do it!” Lise-Mara said. Asul-Zenza couldn’t stop smiling as he and the book club members took off into the sky.
Asul-Zenza ended up reading the book in one night. The day turned to his birthday while he was reading it. Throughout the duration of his read, he found himself getting many embarrassing thoughts.
‘No, no, you don’t want to crossdress, Asul-Zenza….’ Was one of them.
He was so exhausted after finishing it, however, that he flopped down onto the bed and fell asleep with his lights on and still in his street clothes.