Ch 6 – ¡Ask a Mexican!

My publisher arranged for me to appear at the Duarte Festival of Authors on October 4, 2008  to promote my regional history books.
My book signing table was sandwiched between two nationally known authors, the legendary Ray Bradbury and Gustavo Arellano who pens the popular syndicated weekly column ¡Ask a Mexican!
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I brought  a glass framed poster of my new book, The Arroyo Seco. It mounted nicely on the partition that ran the full length of authors booths.

Gustavo is a take-charge guy. He grabbed onto the partition and began pushing it back to make more room for us. When he gave the room divider an extra hard shove, it teetered on its floor mounts. My poster broke free. I heard Gustavo say “timber” under his breath before it made contact with the back edge of my chair.

A shattered glass sound rang out over the festival.

The room fell silent (more like deathly quiet). Ray Bradbury was stunned. His hand remained pressed down on the inside cover of the book he was signing, his pen clenched in his fist.

My chair was covered in glass shards resembling a variety of undesirable shapes: razor-sharp daggers, Ninja Star triangles, and icicle thorns of death. I had been sitting in that chair less than a minute before.

Everyone on the festival floor froze with laser-targeted eyes staring in my direction. A few seconds passed. Then, suddenly, the festival of authors turned back on as if Ray flipped the switch himself.

Gustavo couldn’t be more apologetic while he helped me pick up the glass fragments.

I cheated death. Escaping what could have been a rather-bloody gringo book signing. Imagine the headline: Day of the Dead for Deadhead Author: Local Writer is this Year’s Celebrated Sacrifice.

Perhaps, our professional “writer’s garden” could stand a little more pruning and weed pulling; eliminate most of the self-published books that flood the internet and wanna-be authors who fancy a seat at the book signing table alongside the likes of Ray Bradbury. Much like the practice of horticulturists who remove dead flower heads from a plant to encourage further blooming. I suppose.

*     *     *

Dear Gabacho,

Sorry Gringo for the broken glass.

Hope you didn’t get any on your ass.

Tu amigo para seimpre,

Gustavo


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