Book Signing (short)

R.J. Simmons was at another book signing for his explosively successful children’s book series, The Kingdom Gates. He had done hundreds of these signings, writing his name over and over on thousands and thousands of books through the last 6 years. He was getting bored of it. And tired too.
He shook himself out of his foggy thoughts. The room was quite warm, and Simmons kept feeling his eyelids drooping down heavily. The next person in the queue walked forward and Simmons, looking up, gave as sincere a smile as he could after nearly three hours of the same repeating interaction.
“Thank you,” the young man who’d just walked up said, “for what you gave me and so many others.” Simmons talk the book he was holding out, and grunted a response while uncapping his sharpie and scrawling his signature on the first page once again.
The young man took the book back with a smile and a nod, and, just before he walked away, he dropped a small scrap of paper on the table and said, “I’m sure your life is mad… let me know if you just need a normal friend again.” Then he turned and walked out, the gaggling line shuffling forward behind him.
Simmons sat in silence for a moment, staring at the young man’s back. Noticing the woman with large glasses and a lemon colored sweater now standing at the table brandishing her book, he hurriedly pocketed the slip of paper and signed her book as he had done and would do with all the others.
But he kept thinking of the young man, and the number now sitting in the pocket of his sport coat. And of the friends he had used to have.

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