On Friday I went to Garden to see my old workplace one last time before it closed. It wasn’t a grand adventure. There were too many people picking at the carcass to consider actually buying anything. I just took some pictures since I wont ever be able to go back and get any that match the original look. Really the store had already changed quite a lot from my time, so it didn’t look like it did when I was there. Still, the walls and stuff were still like they were from the remodel I was there for.
The guy that inspired me to create Mike was on the team for that remodel. After I left he came back and was the manager briefly. Life imitated art in that apparently everyone eventually came to love the guy, but he got testicular cancer and died. Or so I was told. He was my age, or near it. I was always at crossed purposes with him because he was like early comic Mike who wasn’t very good at communication, but I was still sad to hear he’d come to a sad end. I saw his personality as sympathetic, which is how he ended up as a base for Mike. Out of his element, but trying.
Anyway, I talked with the only person I worked with that still worked at the store. She told me briefly about the grim final days. Honestly, that kind of shop still has a place in the world, but the company that makes it happen would have to be run a damn sight better than Hastings was. Target and Walmart are pale substitutes with their sad little book areas. I don’t know if there are any shops like it left. If there are they’re far from anyplace I ever go.