Interview With Gremmy, The Bookstore Gremlin
By Cherry R. Collins, September 18. 2009
My name is Gremmy and I live in a bookstore. Iím a Gremlin, so I guess that makes me a Book Gremlin. Whatís a Gremlin you ask? Most people will tell you that Gremlins are big scary monsters that want to cause all kinds of destruction and havoc. All that is a big plate of hooey.
First of all Iím not big. Iím really fairily small, about the size of a paperback book. Youíd think I would be thin as a twig so I could hide in all the books and nooks, but Iím not. Iím a pudgy little critter, kind of a cross between a sweet pea and a dust bunny. Of course youíd have to add pudgy little hands with four fingers and flat floppy feet with six toes that are great for gripping things like shelves and books. Iíve got cute, pointy little ears to hear when someone is coming and a stubby, round nose to sniff out the best books. In fact the only things big about me are my eyes. Well, big as compared to the rest of me, that is. I have big yellowy, gold eyes that help me see in the dark. They also help me read a lot. Eyes are handy that way.
Now youíre probably asking yourself why you havenít seen me scampering about the bookstore. Simple answer that. I have special powers (SuperMe!!) that help me hide from the world. It wouldnít do at all to have people see my glorious self and maybe decide to take me home for a pet. Iím not a lap dog or a cuddly kitty cat. Iím a Book Gremlin, thus the need for especially, special powers. Of which, I have two in particular. Invisibility and super deflatation. †
The invisibility is the easiest to explain; people donít see me. Not a glimpse, not even a shadow. (Although I do have a sneaky suspicion that thereís a pet turtle in the store that can see me well and true, but heís not telling.) No hint of my little green, fuzzy self anywhere or anyhow. Well almost anyhow. I do have one glitch to the whole invisibility bit. Reflections. My reflection can be seen in all its gremlin glory when viewed in a mirror. Fortunately thereís not many mirrors in a bookstore, itís not like itís a beauty salon or something. Nor are there many readers running around pointing mirrors into corners.
Did I mention my favorite place to be is perched upon a bookshelf among the wondrous books? Which brings me to my other special ability, super deflatation. Super deflatation? Bet you never heard of that before. Itís really quite a useful talent. I mean, just imagine. Imagine there you are sitting on a bookshelf minding your own business, sniffing the books with your especially sensitive bulbous nose, when along comes a shopper or one of the shelvers putting a book back on shelf. Option One: get squashed flat and squishy like a bug. No more Gremmy. Option Two: Suck in my breath and go as de-flat as I can get. Then instead of getting squishy and gone I might get a book tickle on my belly.
I really, really, really like having my tummy tickled by the pages of a book. It makes me want to twitter. Mostly I keep quiet but every once in a while when the tickler book hits just the right spot I let loose a wee puff of twitter which makes me fluff back out. And as we all know for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Gremmy go puff, books go plop. Straight to the floor with a crash and rustle of wrinkled pages thatís my cue to scamper away to a better, less populated perch.
As I race off I sometimes hear the bookstore lady say, ďNo worries. Itís just the Book Gremlin. Happens all the time.Ē It does not happen all the time. Pretty often, but not all the time. Alright, a lot but still not all the time. Exaggeration is the key word here. I donít mind though. Everyone laughs, books get picked up and replaced upon the shelf without a Gremmy tummy tickle and life in the bookstore goes on.†
Life in a bookstore. There is no more perfect life. Lounging on the shelves soaking in the book dust and eating up all those words. No, I donít actually eat the books. If I did that I wouldnít be able to deflate. When I get hungry I feast upon the essence of books. Every book ever written has a certain essence to it. Some are sweet, some are spicy. Some are sour, some are very savory. All of them are yum, yum, yummy. Food hunting is a great pleasure. Picking through the books reading a page here and there for just the right taste to suit my mood. Sometimes I like a lot of flavor, other times just a little. Donít worry I donít hurt any of the books. Iím just a little guy, remember. I donít need a lot. A page of Patterson, a page or Roberts, maybe a bit of Bradbury and Iím good to go, leaving plenty for the next reader. Book dust, light and dusty (thatís the best word I can think of to describe it) is great for wallowing in, getting it rubbed into my frizz. It soaks right in and gives me a shivery dusty feeling inside. Comes from my inner dust bunny, I guess.
I suppose I should now address the issue of destruction and general havoc as mentioned in the myth. While I do admit to being a bit of an imp I do not cause the chaos of destruction and havoc. Not much anyway. The occasional avalanche of books, a page turned down, a moved book (some books are especially tasty and must be hidden away for future dinners) are the only mischief I lay claim to. Teasing the turtle at night when heís trying to sleep doesnít count, does it? At any rate thereís definitely no need to call in the National Guard. Even the lady who owns the bookstore and her family who help her run it, laugh at all my antics. Usually anyway. Every once in a while a bad word, which I shall not name, gets exhaled. But that only happens when I get an exceptionally good tummy tickle that makes me lose all my de-flat, knocking stacks of books off their assigned shelf. Thereís just this one place on my tummy, you know. Oh well, it canít be helped. Tummy tickles happen.
Hereís a mystery for you:† How does the bookstore lady know Iím here? I have not a clue. Itís not like I climbed up on her desk one day, introduced myself and announced that I was moving in. That would have been rude and against the Gremlin Creed. There are rules even for gremlins. I canít figure out just how she knows. Maybe she read about me and my kind in a book somewhere. I imagine there are lots of bookstores out there with Book Gremlins making their homes in them. Gremlins have been around for a very, very long time and books are more than yummy to the tummy. I suppose itís possible that one might have accidentally been found out. Although what the discoverer would have been doing looking into a mirror when there were books around to gaze upon I canít begin a guess.
I was lucky to find my bookstore. My previous home closed down. The owner went away and all my precious books went gone. I was sure I was going to starve. Homeless and all alone, no books, only an occasional lost sales paper floating in the wind. Then I caught the scent. Manna from heaven. I followed my round sniffing nose over concrete sidewalks and paved roads. I had to be very careful crossing the streets. Even invisible small gremlins can get run over and made squishy. I believe weíve already covered the squishy issue, but its worth restating. Squishy flat, not good.
It took three days of hazardous travel but I finally found my way to my new home. I slipped under the front door and entered the bookstore of my dreams. No more lonesome sidewalks and piteous papers. Iíve been here ever since. No place Iíd rather be. So many flavors of books. Can anyone say smorgasbord? Plenty of book dust to keep my frizz nice and fuzzy. What more could a Book Gremlin want? What more could Gremmy want? Enough of this tale telling now. Itís getting dark, the people are gone home not to return until tomorrow, and Iíve got a turtle begging for some pestering. Bye-Bye.