"She asked for a poem about horseradish," said my friend, David.

We stood beside a table in the street. Under the lamplight, a pair of boys hunched over Swingline typewriters, clackity-clacking inbetween gulps of Miller Lite. I snuck a peek at the poem-in-progress--something about a sucker-punch to the face.

David laughed. "Funny thing is...she's never had horseradish before."

The F.I.U. poets were taking requests. I asked for an impromptu ballad about Wynwood, where low-slung warehouses have morphed into Saturday night gallery walks. (think: wine in plastic Dixie cups, dudes in skinny jeans and fedoras, and miles of factories where machines once churned out uniforms for flight attendants).

I never read my custom-made poem. David is holding it for ransom.

Earlier, I had driven up to the Delray Beach Library. The Y.A. head honcho, Loly, invited me to talk about my book and paint graffiti-inspired t-shirts with the teens. They asked a lot of cool questions (they even helped mop up the mess). Each of them received a copy of TCO. As I signed a stack of books, I overheard a girl saying, "This is my first author autograph."

I grinned.

"Do you remember yours?"

Yeah. It was Interview With The Vampire. I stood in line for hours on Miami Beach, just to see Anne Rice arrive in a gilded coffin, carried in a funeral-style procession.

My autographed copy still sits on my bookshelf.

Now I need to make room for more.