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After-action report: Broadway Book Mall and beyond

So how many people braved the weather last night and came out for my last book signing?

Eleven.

Which some people might see as sad, but not me. First, because that doesn't even take the record for my least-attended signing (which would be eight people showing up on a night without apocalyptic weather and at a venue with a full bar). And second, because those who did show up? They were die-hards, baby. True fans and good folk and committed crazies.

It didn't matter to them that the roads were like skating rinks. Didn't matter to them that there were only a handful of books available. They just wanted to come and hang out and chat, and that's precisely what we did, tucked away inside a great little bookstore (with an excellent collection of science fiction titles, by the way -- enough to make me feel small, standing before such combined brilliance), drinking a little wine and talking about food and restaurants, zombies, cheeseburgers, Seattle, career planning and midgets. It has often been said of me (mostly by my wife), that when the urge strikes me, I'd gladly lecture to a room full of potted plants. But that's not true. Potted plants don't laugh at my jokes. And (most) potted plants don't offer celebratory joints when the talking is all done.

After our time at the Book Mall, those still in the mood retired to Sketch just up the street for a continuation of the fun. James Rugile kicked off work at Venue early to stop by, allowing me the opportunity to finally thank him in person for one of the great meals I've eaten in Denver. Biker Jim dropped in to wish me happy trails. Jesse Morreale and Sean Yontz were there, of course, pouring shots and presenting me with a going-away bottle of Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal -- the finest alcoholic beverage ever created by non-Irish man.

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For a little while, we filled the back half of the place with writers and friends, danced ridiculously to Safety Dance, bent a few elbows and made plans for the future. Though it's a little blurry, I believe I promised Adam Cayton-Holland that he could live at my house when he came through Seattle on a stand-up comedy tour. I might've agreed to accompany Mark Manger (my photographer and friend of many years) on a trip to Ghana he's planning. And I believe I gave my editor, Patty Calhoun, 50/50 odds that I would make it no further than Utah before stopping my car, coming to my senses and turning, weeping, for home.

In the sober light of this afternoon, though, I'd put those odds at something more like 80/20. After all, by the time I make it to Utah, all of my stuff will be in the back of a truck and headed for the Pacific coast. I'm not sure I could live without my PS3, my seasons 1-5 of Lost on DVD, or the fifteen boxes of books I've already packed and the five more just waiting to be sealed. Or my darling wife, for that matter, who will not waver once she's put a state line behind her.

Despite the weather, despite the cold, despite the missing books and everything else that happened (proof, for sure, that Jesus hates writers -- or, at the very least, foulmouthed little food-writing motherfuckers like me), a fine time was had by all. For those of you who didn't show, sorry to have missed you. And for those who did, let me offer one more sincere thank you. Your names will be written in the book of the valorous, and not soon forgotten.

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