A funny thing happened on the way back from London . . .
My publishers sent me six free copies of my book, to me care of the friends I was staying with in the UK. I can have more copies at a discount, but these six were already designated in my head: one for my parents, one for my brother and his family, one for each of my grandmothers, one for the Milk Guy and one for me.
But then there was a little mailing mix-up and so my parents actually got a couple of free copies, too (by the grace of the publishers), so I could give their copy to my London hosts. But then one of my friends asked if she could buy one off of me. And then another friend, to whom I was showing a copy, thought I was giving it to her. And then I needed another gift for someone else . . .
By the time I got on the plane to return to the US, the only copy I had was the one for the Milk Guy. Which I gave to him when he picked me up from the airport, and then that was it. It didn't matter how much church and Starbucks friends clamoured--I could not show them my book, because I didn't have it. But it was okay, because even though my book isn't quite out in the States, I had ordered some at my discount, and they would surely be arriving soon.
"Soon" would be the wrong word to describe how they actually arrived. But they did arrive interestingly. This evening when I returned home from an afternoon out, I noticed two rather conspicuous mailbags on the front step. There was one box of books in each bag, and each bag was tied up with all sorts of tags and markings. Inside the boxes was a whole lot of shredded paper and . . . my books!