Wednesday April 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the bookcase.

Max and I made our triumphant return to Mother Goose this morning, after not going for over a month. He seemed to enjoy it (as usual) and didn't have a huge meltdown later in the day from being overstimulated, so I'm hoping we'll be able to go regularly again.

Either way, it was nice to see that we hadn't been forgotten during our absence.

Mine:

"Please, help yourself."

I glanced over my shoulder, fully expecting to find our host leaning against the door frame with his hunting rifle in hand. Daring me to be foolish enough to believe him, so that he could justify the bullet in my back as having thwarted a brazen robbery. One of his precious books clutched in my pale, clammy grip all the evidence required to ensure his freedom from prison.

But no, he was empty handed. His smile seemed sincere. He even waved a hand to bring my attention back to his bookcase.

"Whichever one has caught your fancy."

"Are you sure?" I was looking at the display again, unable to look at him while questioning his words. "All of them are so... perfect."

"And I can see that you appreciate that," he said with a rumbling laugh that rattled my bones. "So pick one - but only one - and enjoy its contents. If you bring it back in one piece, then perhaps you can trade it for another."

"Thank you," I whispered. Biting my lower lip, I reached for a silver book, its title printed on its spine in bold, black letters. Then I paused, changing aim at the last moment and grabbed instead a red book with a white title.

"Ah, a fine choice."

I mumbled another thanks, eyes on the floor, as I hurried past him into the hallway, the book clutched in my little five-year-old hands.

5 Comments:

Greg said...

I was wondering why you'd not been to Mother Goose, and then I realised that it must have been while you were offering Vancouver to Max on your road trip. Is it a weekly or fortnightly group? I'm glad to hear that it didn't overstimulate him either, though surely it was quite relaxing compared with meeting lots of people everyday in Vancouver? :)
The first time I read your story I concluded at the end that the narrator was five years old, but then I realised that, given his expectations in the first paragraph that he was more likely to be older, but owning a pair of hands from some poor five-year old. Which makes the whole tale quite a lot creepier....

The bookcase
Charles Asciugimento, Head of Building Security, watched as the little boy hurried out of the Break Room with a red book with a white title clutched in his hands. He wondered idly how far the child would get before looking at the book he'd borrowed, and then wondered if the child would actually read it. It was, he felt, well worth reading; in fact it should be recommended reading for all ages, genders, races, and quite possibly species.
"You're smiling, boss," said Sylvia, whose ebullience and cheeriness annoyed him. "Did someone leave you the key to the air-con controls again?"
Charles did smile at that; while the rest of the building remembered it only as the day it snowed indoors, it was the only day he'd felt that the building itself had been happy.
"No," he said. "I've just lent a book to a small child."
"What book?" Sylvia's jaw dropped at the idea of her boss doing something so human.
"Lockdown: ensuring security in everyday life," said Charles. "I wrote it myself."
"Is that the one that teaches you how to build your own taser from common household appliances? And criticises Guantánamo Bay as being too much like a holiday camp?"
"Yes," said Charles. "It's good to see children taking an interest."

MosesMalone said...

We were 23 when we received the 200 year old bookcase as a wedding gift. We filled it with beautiful New England prep school type books. I didn't read. You didn't read. No one read. One day, years later, I started reading, and I fell in love with that bookcase and its belongings.

Marc said...

Greg - it's weekly. We skipped a couple when he came down with a cold, plus there was the road trip after that. Max had been fussing quite a bit after each session though, so I wanted to give it some time before we tried again.

I considered clarifying the narrator's age, but I decided to leave it a little open - being pretty sure you'd make the observation that you did :P

And I see you've got some thoughts on who my host is as well :D

Mo - sounds to me like that bookcase was discovered/appreciated at just the right time :)

David said...

ellow, it shone. Gold encrusted. Beckoning to all that laid eyes on it. Those foolish ones.

Jacob learned of this other book. The one that told the truth. The one that had been hidden. The one that was not a fable about a garden and a serpent. One that did not imply that all of humanity spawned from incestuous relationships. Jacob was told that there were elements of truth in the well known story. There was a tree of knowledge. Being in its proximity would divulge the true nature of the world. But here’s the rub. The true truth. God didn’t give two shits if you ate the fruit of the tree. Make all the fucking apple pies you want. God did not care enough to think about this.

Man, on the other hand, did care. Or men rather. The men who got their hands on the knowledge first. Those that took the tree and chopped it down. Who milled it and made it into paper. These men wanted the secrets to themselves. They wanted dominion over all living things, including other men. These men have gone by many different names: the Illuminati, the Free Masons, the one percent.

They took the paper and bound it into a book. For centuries the book had a plain cover, a nondescript tome that would fit anonymously into any bookcase. It was moved, it was hidden, and no war was fought over it. Until….. the Spaniards plundered the South American natives. Took their gold. Some men felt the book’s blank cover did not celebrate the knowledge within. The book was dipped in gold, bejeweled. And it was stolen. And fought over. And lost.

Alliances crumbled and years passed. The descendents of the men were told of the book, and many of the families continued to prosper as the truth clung to them. Eventually, faith was lost in the tree’s paper, replaced by faith in a different paper, a green paper. The book was forgotten. Few even knew the myth, and those that had heard it, didnt believe. Except Jacob. He believed. Because he had seen the book in Mr. Pennyworth’s Book Shop. In the backroom. In a small cramped bookcase.

Now Jacob sat on a roof across the street from the shop explaining to his crew how they would get the book for themselves.

Marc said...

David - great setup, with a neat little cliffhanger. Once again, you've left me wanting more.