What started as a laidback little book signing for my new book THE LAST WORD quickly turned ugly at Chevalier’s, our wonderful local independent bookstore in Larchmont, a semi-quaint enclave of expensive restaurants and upscale stores.,


Called for one o’clock, lines began to form early outside the store.  When the doors didn’t open at one, the growing crowd began chanting: LAZARUS! LAZARUS! LAZARUS!


I was inside, game face on, flexing my wrist, loosening up my arm, ready to start signing, but Sue, the owner of Chevalier’s, said let the anticipation build.  I figured she knew her business, but I was worried. If I only could have seen the future and avoided the nightmare to come.


The chanting became more fevered: SIGN THE BOOK!  SIGN THE BOOK! SIGN THE BOOK! Which, as time progressed, evolved to SIGN THE FUCKIN’ BOOK!  SIGN THE FUCKIN’ BOOK!


I implored Liz to open the doors, which she finally did, but that’s when the real trouble started.


I sat down and signed the first book for a disheveled former student who had fought through the crowd to the front.  She broke into tears when I remembered her name and signed her book and became faint and weak in the knee  She had to be helped to the First Aid station, which the bookstore had wisely set up in the back.


The crowds pushed through the bookstore, knocking over book displays, trampling Syd Field’s and Robert McKee’s books, as I signed book after book as quickly as I could.


I could see out the windows that the street was now clogged with book buyers blocking traffic and chanting: THE LAST WORD!  THE LAST WORD!  Fist fights were breaking out.  A woman tore off her top trying to get to the front of the line.  It was chaos.


I was signing books with both hands, but the hungry book buyers kept coming and coming and coming.


I could see out in the street that LAPD had brought in their mounted officers and the mighty horses were pushing through the crowd, trampling book lovers as if they were cock roaches, which I can assure you they were not.


In short time, the meager supply of books ran out and I was signing anything to satisfy the throng: other author’s books, brassieres and naked flesh (within the borders of good taste).


By the time three o’clock came, Chevalier’s was trashed; fourteen book buyers were Medi-Coptered to local hospitals and are in guarded condition.


When I finally returned home and turned on the television, the news helicopters were covering local rioting near half a dozen bookstores which hadn’t had the foresight to order enough copies of THE LAST WORD – Definitive Answers to All Your Screenwriting Questions.



Comments are closed.