Eleven years ago, a clerk at the Main Bookshop called owner Scott Proffitt asking how to throw out "some cat" that kept wandering in. Terrified he was referring to a regular customer, Proffitt flew downstairs to find a grizzled male stray lounging on the front counter.
Dubbed Byron, that cat became the first of three to call the bookstore home. One succumbed to old age last November. The other, a black and white mix named Misha, arrived after a customer found her howling in the middle of Main Street. Now 15 years old, the two survivors are a familiar sight to regular customers, roaming the bookstore's musty aisles, curling into chairs and tucking themselves between shelves of remaindered books. They're not above snuggling up for a pat, and occasionally one trots up the stairs dangling a lizard from its mouth.
They've outlived free coffee, an antique sofa that once cradled a sleeping drunk through an entire poetry reading, even über-clerk Cosmo Pilot, who died of lung cancer last May. When they pass, there'll be no more "corporate cats," says Proffitt. "It just wouldn't be the same."