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Book Tour Confidential: Adam Braver
Setting: A charitable reading at a Senior Citizens home.
Our protagonist settles at the table to read before a microphone that had been hastily plugged in to satisfy the initial complaints that he doesn’t talk loud enough. He is no more than two sentences into the chapter when a woman, seated midway in the room, pipes up: You’re not going to just sit and read to us, are you? She is shouted down by the rest of the crowd, who say things like be quiet, have some respect, we want to hear it, and then, directing their attention back to our protagonist, say: Now, go ahead—read. Our protagonist picks up from the previous sentence, only to be stopped again by the same woman with the same concern. An erudite man catches the eye of our protagonist, clearly intuiting the agony of the situation. The man, a gentleman by all definitions, indicates by expression that he’ll mediate, and then turns around, and at the top of his lungs calls out: Shut up, you bitch! He then looks back to our protagonist, and says in the kindest manner: Now carry on.
After the reading concludes, our protagonist also will learn that a woman in the back of the room suffered a heart attack during the reading and was rushed by ambulance to the local hospital. He is told he should feel no responsibility.