Grizzled eBay gunhawk Brian Leno told me that a signed copy of an old tour book currently is on the block — Buy It Now for $39.50.
First printing of the second edition from 1982. Same printing as the copy I turned up at PulpFest which had the letter mentioning my first meeting with Bill Arney.
I guess now that we have reached 34 years later, the folk who bought copies back then are falling by the wayside and the books are looking for new shelves to house them.
Brian asked if I even remembered signing this one, and I said, Sure — Kermit was a really nice guy, a regular at meetings of The Maltese Falcon Society. Offhand, I can’t recall a meeting he might have missed.
In other words, a genuine associational copy, not just an inscription knocked out in a line at a bookstore or a Bouchercon someplace, although it seems I did sign it at that Bouchercon I was chairman of that year.
Kermit gave us one of my favorite moments from The Maltese Falcon Society. A little guy, kind of mousey, you wouldn’t expect any rabble-rousing from him at first glance. But when we had the enormous burly bounty hunter Tiny Boyles speak the first time (Tiny was a Society favorite, he got to come back), Kermit struck.
In the course of his talk, Tiny mentioned that he got guns for all his kids, including a shotgun for his four-year-old — or maybe the kid was six. Anyway, it seemed like a lot of gun for a kid, and may have caused a gasp or two from the audience.
During the Q&A Kermit stood up, ramrod straight, and boldly asked, “Mr. Boyles, do you think your sickness should be spread?”
People started glancing at each other, convinced Tiny was going to whip out a gun from under the roll of fat over his belt and cap Kermit off right then and there.
In fact, Tiny gave what I thought was a pretty eloquent answer, defending his right to have and like guns and Kermit’s right to be outraged.
But by any standard, one of the top moments in the history of the late great Maltese Falcon Society.
Yeah, a really nice associational copy.