Tolstoy Kicks Ass!
New York street kids. Book Thieves. Would be revolutionaries.
They didn’t even need to discuss their plan; it was always the same. Sitting on the floor of the bookstore to hide from the security cameras, Z put the novels in his Guatemalan backpack, wrapping them with their few clothes to hide the sharp corners. He browsed through the New Fiction section by the front door while Rai hung around the New York Books, only a couple of feet from the guard who monitored the electronic alarm. They both kept an eye out for people getting ready to leave the store.
They saw the tourists at the same time. Clearly from out of town, they carried enough shopping bags to fill a small mall in Peoria. Z stepped beside them, timing his steps so he would pass through the alarm at exactly the same moment they did. At the same time, Rai stepped up to the guard. “Could you tell me where the section on Tantric sex is?” she asked with an insistent voice.
The guard turned a little red. “Um, second floor. You just–” The alarm sounded. The tourists stopped in a flurry of confusion and paper bags. The guard turned to the door; Rai tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention again. Z walked on calmly.
“Where?” Rai insisted. “Left or right?”
“Uh, left. Left from the escalator.” Then he turned to the tourists. “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to look through–”
“Thanks,” Rai said, and headed for the escalator.
“–your bags. Would you please step over here?” He examined each carefully; by the time the guard had searched the brown bag from Bloomingdales, Z was in the entrance to the subway station, ready to read their stolen books.
A portrait of a world next to our own that few of us are privileged to see.
And thus begins one of the most compelling and unexpected explorations of life on the streets of New York City.
All proceeds go directly to Shine a Light's work with marginalized children in Brazil.