STATEN ISLAND, NY - "He's been compared to Kurt Vonnegut in his writing."
That's Steve of ETG Books & Cafe in/on Staten Island trying to entice a woman and her daughter to sit the eff down and listen to me talk.
I am up on the stage, planting my butt on the bar stool, figuring out how to put my papers on the podium, messing with the microphone, wondering which way is home.
The woman smiles and heads back out the door to the sidewalk.
There is just no denying it, this book tour is a loser.
There have been some great moment, and I always-always meet great people everywhere, by one's and by two's.
But there are many times when nobody shows up. On a great day, on a bad day, would you go out of your way to listen to somebody talk about a book? It would have to be Kurt Vonnegut, right?
And, well, now you might as well stay home.
Well, I sit up on the stage and give my talk. I speak loud into the microphone, hoping my words: Impeach George Bush; Investigate the Bush administration's involvement in 9-11, get out onto the street where there are lots of people.
Afterward, I sit down on the edge of the stage and mingle with the crowd: co-manager Steve, Dennis, while other co-manager Katie goes to do some work.
We talk. Dennis asks about my sanctuary thing with the bishop and the cathedral and the federal government in Omaha in the 1980s.
Dennis is tallish, thin, wearing a black ballcap with a red "L", dark sunglasses to the middle of his nose. He used to be a teacher in New York City. He's wearing a big class ring from somewhere. His jeans are worn. He wears tennis shoes with no socks.
Steve wonders whether it would be more productive to be "for peace" rather than "against war."
Somehow we start talking about 9-11. Dennis says he was watching it all from Skyline Park in Staten Island. His wife was on a plane from Newark, and at the time he was not sure if hers was one of the planes that had hit the towers.
Dennis and Steve doubt the government's story about 9-11. Dennis talks about how the buildings came down, that if the heat truly melted the steel it would have come down twisting and irregular, like hot taffy, not straight down.