Everybody read the previous (i.e., older) post? Good. The scene is set.
I go into Arcade to buy Didi's book. Proprietor Patrick is deep in conversation with what seems to be a self-published author seeking shelf space. So I patiently station myself in front of the counter to signal that, for once, my intentions go beyond that of another author craving validation and sales estimates. I am, ahem, a paying customer.
A few seconds later, Patrick's assistant Aly emerges from the rear office. Simultaneously, the front door is flung open and a woman comes in, talking loudly and angrily on her cell phone about something to do with a renovation that doesn't seem to be going to her satisfaction. She pushes past me, takes up a position at the counter, and without breaking her phone conversation for a second or lowering her voice, thrusts her platinum American Express card at Aly.
(Well, I say pushes past me, but that would suggest she was even slightly aware of my existence.)
Aly, puzzled, looks to Patrick for help. He's forced to interrupt his chat and suggests that the woman might have a book on order. The woman is still half-screaming at a contractor, still flapping the charge card, without making eye contact. Aly reads the name on the card, finds it in the order book, and is able to retrieve the volume. She charges it, gets the woman's signature, and hands her the purchase. Still without acknowledging her surroundings, the woman grabs the book and stomps out of the store, not even pausing for a thank you.
In An Embarrassment of Corpses (now in paperback, did I mention that?), Superintendent Mallard reveals that he keeps a mental list of the people who, in his personal opinion, deserve punishment even if they haven't technically broken the law. Guess who's just gone to the top of my own list?