Customers fled (and by fled I mean a few of them kind of hung out and kept browsing, using their phones as flashlights). Ric, the ever glorious Ric, kept things calm. He and Liz directed traffic and cleared the store in no time. I was downstairs putting everything away after a really great event with Box Brown, and as the store plunged into darkness I thanked Box, wherever he was (upstairs, actually), for having a shorter presentation. If it were ten or so minutes longer we would have been plunged into darkness together, reaching out to hold onto the closest Andre the Giant fan or comics aficionado until the emergency lights came on.
After the store was cleared, we stood around the registers, rechargeable flashlights whirring. Sandra's rechargeable flashlight was a tiger, the best animal out of the three. Katie was briefly locked out as she was changing the event board outside. I realized I had lost my key, which set me off on a long journey of sadness and whirring, culminating in Katie finding my key because she knows the event space like the back of her hand, and because she was no longer stranded on the sidewalks of Brookline.
We banded together. We used our animal flashlights to illuminate the manager's binder with instructions for what to do during a blackout. Liz called NStar and had the proud title of being 'the first to report an outage.' We made a whirring train of light into the Booksmith back rooms, we checked plugs, turned lights off, and Ric briefly scared everyone by claiming someone was still huddled in a corner of the UBC.
We survived. The store is open today, shiny, bright, and fully operational, to the point where I could film this handy instructional video starring Anna:
*We actually have easily accessible flashlights, but Anna was shrouded in darkness and could only focus on the rechargeables. I think the blackout was made better for it, and now several booksellers can answer the question, "Do you sell flashlights?"