Fifty Shades Further


Is there anything better than summer? What age do you have to reach before the end of June is no longer a license to slack off and have fun? Even when you’re working, it’s harder to take things seriously.

Except our Kickstarter campaign of course. That’s serious as a crutch. Getting it launched, planning out the rewards and stuff was like trying to get a partially-designed helicopter off the ground. We knew we wanted it to fly. The cargo inside (the new album) was sound. But the glue on the propellers was still drying. One of the propellers was probably missing. Had we waited until we’d figured out the whole thing, sound distribution would have no doubt moved on to microchips embedded in elegant hatbands and our plans and rewards would have all been redundant. But it seems to be working – we’re getting closer and closer to our goal. Just have to push through. Continue helping Eric put in a ceiling upstairs for the pledgers who choose the bed and breakfast option. And paint the song title illustrations that I’ve been sketching out for rewards. For all the stress though, it has been as fun and exciting as they said it would be. Like there’s a whole crowd involved and pulling for us to get this new record out.

Going in to the Spotty Dog is almost like a vacation this summer. It’s air-conditioned, the beer is flowing. The books look even more enticing than usual with summer reading possibilities. I’m not hunched over a computer. And there’s so much free entertainment. Within minutes of turning on the lights and firing up the cash register on my first day back, the phone rang:

“Have you got any of the Fifty Shades books?”

You may remember back a few months ago, the calls had started coming in for this phenomenally successful fan fiction toy SMBD erotica trilogy. Resistance was futile – while I was in England, the store had started stocking it. Karen had emailed me with the news – she knew I was obsessed. (not with reading the book…just with how other people were reading the book)

“Why yes!” I answered the woman on the phone, excitedly, conspiratorially. “Books one and three…” I looked in the inventory. “Or the entire trilogy as a set.”

“Oooh, that’s perfect!” the lady caller said. “I’ll send my husband in to pick it up. Chambers is our name. He’ll be by in about half an hour?”

Half an hour later, a gentleman came in. Tall, thin; a beard predating post-modern beards, he looked in his late sixties. Khaki shorts, walking shoes, glasses.

“My wife ordered a book,” he said. I practically cackled.

“Oh yes. Chambers?” He shook his head. The name was Jeffries he said. I figured I must have heard wrong.

“She said they’d hold it behind the counter.” Nodding with excitement, preparing a subtle smirk and aside, I reached for the Fifty Shades trilogy.

Suddenly animated, he started pointing past me to the shelf. “That’s it! That one there.”

I turned.

“Mathematics From The Beginning Of Time” – Now I was clutching Fifty Shades to my chest, trying to hide the title. “It’s a phenomenal book,” he said. I shoved the trilogy under a bar rag.

Two days later, a copy of Fifty Shades Darker (the second book of the trilogy) came in for another woman. I dialed her number and it went to voicemail.

“Judith, this is Amy at the Spotty Dog calling to let you know the book you ordered has arrived.” Don’t say the title, don’t say the title..”Yes, Fifty Shades Darker is here and ready to be picked up any time you like.”

As soon as I hung up, I started worrying. What if she’s a nun, and the Mother Superior checks all voicemail messages? What if she’s told her husband she’d never read such crap and they happen to share a cellphone. What if Judith is ten?

I got home from work and then remembered I forgot to take the post-it off the book. I’d left it right there by the cash register. Karen was working the next shift – what if she calls Judith AGAIN and leaves another message about Fifty Shades Darker? Mother Superior, the husband, mom, dad, Judith’s gay partner – they’re all listening to the second message right now and Judith’s life is going to hell.

“Karen!” I gasped into the phone. “That post-it – Fifty Shades! Please, don’t call – I already left a message. Didn’t make a note of it. I hope I’m not too late.”

“Amy, you seem a little hung up on that book. Do you think maybe should read it?”

“You must be joking!” I said.

But it is summer. And I need a book…

10 thoughts on “Fifty Shades Further

  1. Hal Davis

    When the fuss began, I glanced at it (OK, it was Barnes & Noble, but a great bakery was next door). It’s a romance with mild kink. Maybe it’s worth reading while you get a tan.

  2. amyrigby

    Tanning’s out for me (skin cancer, surgery…never want to go through that again) but maybe in a shady hammock. After I finish that mathematics tome…

  3. James Taylor

    I had an order for some other things and had them throw the book in so I could get free shipping. Haven’t checked it out yet but my teenage daughter is aghast at my bad taste. Seems that she’s reading a blog that is skewering the series mercilessly. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve read it, I thought. Summer was meant for trashy novels!

    1. amyrigby

      Since I found Valley Of The Dolls and The Betsy on my mom’s nightstand, James, I’ve had a fascination with those books of summer. Then a year or two later, you’d see them at all the garage sales and thrift shops. I notice that even when I searched Amazon yesterday for inspiration for a boring mathematics book title, what came up as my recommendations? That’s right – the Shades of Grey trilogy. As if there were no other books available or interesting to a budding mathematician. I want to know the title of the blog you mention!

  4. amyrigby

    This just inspired me to get a copy of The Crazy Ladies – now that was some deep, vivid trash. If I actually read Fifty Shades, i’m sure all the humor would go out of it and what fun would that be?

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