I buy most of my paperback novels at flea markets, yard sales and charity book sales, because they’ve just become too expensive to purchase new. The other day I picked one up to read, The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor, a thriller I got at a yard sale. As I was flipping through it I saw something between the pages that turned out to be the receipt from when the book was initially purchased. This copy of The Lions of Lucerne was bought at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport in November of 2002. This got me to wondering who bought it and how did it end up at a yard sale in York County Pennsylvania:
Milton Prube was bored as his flight home was delayed for 3 hours so he took a walk through the book store in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport hoping to find a distraction. He settled on a paperback novel called The Lions of Lucerne. He sat down and started to read, but he hadn’t gotten far when there was a commotion across the room. Milton joined dozens of others at the window to watch a cage carrying circus monkeys break open and send the creatures running in every direction.
As Milton pressed his face flat against the glass saying “Look at the pretty monkeys. I’ll name that one Larry and that one Ferdinand and that one Pippi and that one Milli Vanilli and that one Uncle Flopper and that one Big Steve . . .” Darren Czak stole the book. Tall and blond with movie star good looks, Darren was also a kleptomaniac. Before taking the book he had stolen gummi bears from a 9 year old girl, shoelaces from a 93 year old army veteran and a roll of toilet paper form the men’s room. Darren strolled happily past gate 38 where he tried to pick pocket former Canadian football star Alfonse Verlieu. At 6’4” and 320 pounds, Alfonse was not amused. He chased Darren through the airport shouting very nasty things in French that all sounded like “Ooh la la.” As Darren turned a corner, the book slipped from his jacket pocket.
The Lions of Lucerne was found by security guard Lonny St. Marchand who started reading it on his break. Lonny couldn’t put the book down and missed going back on the clock so he got fired. With a lot of free time he started a Lions of Lucerne fan club, passing the book around to all his friends and family. Unfortunately after 4 years of hearing about the book Lonny’s wife Charlene packed it up with a dozen other paperback novels and a jar of mango/ghost chili tapenade to send to her cousin Felicia in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Felicia Schussler is a housewife who loves to read but she believed by the title that the book was about actual lions and she’s not a fan of any cat larger than an ocelot. Felicia gave the book to her friend Marsha Twip. Marsha read it, enjoyed it, and informed Felicia that it was not about lions after all, but Felicia was already involved in a 12 book series on the life of Terky Tuttle, the first astronaut from Guam. Felicia instead gave it to a local second-hand store in exchange for a box of safety pins.
The owner of the second-hand store, Hank’s Junk and Stuff, was Desmond Tuttle-Smythe, a British transplant to the United States. He read ten pages of the book and hated it calling it “bloody fogmagog”. Desmond sold the book for 25 cents to Janet Bandicoot, a registered nurse and part time sky diver from my hometown. Janet read the book and thought it was ok. She slid it onto a shelf where it was forgotten for nearly four years until the family decided to have a yard sale.
I don’t know if this is really how it all happened but I’d like to think there is a monkey named Milli Vanilli running around the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.