“Wanna play V-cart wars?” I asked the new girl.
“I was sixteen and we were in the back of my dad’s car.”
There was an awkward pause. “What?”
“You asked when I lost my virginity.”
More awkward pause. We were both standing in the popular fiction section at The Bookstore, both holding V-carts. It was her first or second night. “No,” I somewhat stammered. “Do you want to play v-cart wars?” And this time I really stressed the “t” at the end of the word cart.
A V-cart is a small two-wheeled book cart. The name comes from the arrangement of bars running up from the cart’s base, which forms a “V” from an overhead viewpoint. We also had a “W” cart, which was pretty much the same thing, only a bit wider.
In V-cart wars, players roll their carts (empty, or full or partially loaded) and release them. The goal of the game is to see how far the cart will go before either tipping forward and coming to a stop, or toppling over backwards. Really, the trick is to push the cart far ahead of yourself so that if, say, the normal degree of inclination when you’re pushing it is 20 (I don’t know, I’m making this up), you instead go for like 60 or 70. Basically, instead of the handle being four feet off the ground, you’ve got it at like two or two and a half.
I think the most I’ve been able to get a cart was about six feet.
Anyway, so that was an awkward moment. And she was lousy at V-cart wars, but it’s an acquired skill.
So The Bookstore is gone: doors closed and locked. The fixtures, what remain, are being sold off or tossed in the dumpster. I’ll have very many fond memories of the friends I once called coworkers. When the news first came that the store was being closed, I decided I wanted a V-Cart.
And I did. I stopped in a week ago, and the fixture sales themselves were being steeply discounted. I got a bit of an additional discount (“The former Borders discount,” a coworker told me), and was allowed to roll the cart out of the door that day (most people buying fixtures had to go back later in the week).
We probably had up to a dozen of these carts in the store. I didn’t get the one with the horrible black rubber handle, thank goodness. Currently the cart is in the nook between a bookshelf and my bar table, with — as it should be — a small stack of books accruing on its base.