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June 22, 2005

Volume 2, Issue 22

You found exactly the book you need for your paper, in the used bookstore downtown.

But when you get it home and look closer, you notice that there's an unusual inscription in it.

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He opened the heavy physics text, flipped through it, then saw the formulas scribbled on the last few blank pages. He almost ignored them, then took a closer look. Within minutes, he realized it was supposed to be a proof for the unifying force; forty hours later, he had verified it. Exhausted, but ecstatic, he collapsed into bed, dreaming of the Nobel Prize.

The glass vase full of water on the windowsill acted as a magnifying glass, concentrating the suns rays on the pages of the open book. By the time he awoke, the pages containing the proof were cinders.

Posted by: hnumpah at June 22, 2005 5:54 AM · Permalink

It was pretty humble. The black leather cover was faded and the pages were turning brown on the edges. In fact, the only way Sheila knew it was a bible was by the dark red bookmark.

The odd thing was the inscription in the back. It was in a strange language, so she took it to the local university and inquired in the classics department. The department head offered to take a look...

The following day, the story was all over the news. The classics department was razed to the ground. And there was no trace of the department head.

Posted by: Shawn at June 22, 2005 7:27 AM · Permalink

“I got a couple of books already, Sue. Let’s get out of here.”

“You know I’m more particular, Greg. Not just any book will do.”

The city was not safe. Nobody lived here anymore except rover gangs and everybody knew what happened when they caught looters. Sue grabbed a book off the shelf, tucked it under her arm, and followed Greg out the door.

Later, as they carefully tore pages from the old books to use as toilet paper, Sue noticed very faded handwriting on the cover page. It was hard to read, though.

I th-nk this bo-k is charmin-.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at June 22, 2005 7:34 AM · Permalink

More beauty than I can understand

"Who the hell would write that inside a mathematics book?" he wondered. Here, deep into his first year of college, still clueless about a major, he had, needing credits, signed on to this goofy math class taught by this professor who was always surrounded by people staring away with strange looks on their faces.

He took the class, and the mechanics of the universe opened up. The harmony and mystery of it would wonderfully overwhelm. He became one of the starers lost in constant wonder. Working through the formulas was to stare into beauty.

Posted by: marc at June 22, 2005 8:11 AM · Permalink

There it was! The book he had spent years looking for. He quickly paid the shopkeeper and ran down the Manhatten streets to the subway. He practically flew down the stairs and grabbed a seat. He was finally going to be able to finish his Master's thesis on twentieth century Russian authors.

As the train carried him home, he opened the bag and looked at the book again. "Lolita,' he breathed, "at last".

He opened the book to the frontspiece, and saw that there was something written there. It read : " To Soon-Yi, on your eighteenth birthday, all my love, Woody"

Posted by: Gahrie at June 22, 2005 9:26 AM · Permalink

"Banned, for reasons of Public Health, by order of Congress, 2022CE."

What a find! Holly was glad the shopkeeper had overlooked the fading stamp; he likely would have destroyed the book that had escaped buring decades ago. When she got home, she read, excited to use the unexpurgated text to inform her thesis.

Enthusiasm faded into confusion. Most of the censored refereneces made no sense to her. She consulted the health education databases, obliquely to avoid suspicion, and when she understood them, she was shocked.

In the uncensored text, Sherlock Holmes wasn't a harmless cocaine addict, but a death-spewing smoker!

Posted by: Jeff R. at June 22, 2005 9:30 AM · Permalink

Academy to Missing Persons Chief Detective in just two years.

It started on his first case as a beat cop. He bought an old novel to take his mind off work. When he got it home, he noticed strange numbers on the inside cover in handwriting similar to his own. GPS coordinates. That's where he found the shallow grave.

Cookbooks, home repair…it always worked the same. It didn’t work with runaways - but if it was a kidnapping or murder the system was infallible.

Until the day the coordinates were for his own house. They found his body a week later.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at June 22, 2005 1:43 PM · Permalink

Not many people would write a thesis on Admiral George Dewey. Then again, not many people still care about the Spanish-American War. That is what made finding a copy of his auto-biography so exciting. After all, it had only sold a hundred copies or so.

I flipped to the first chapter as soon as I got home. I quickly understood why this book hadn’t sold well. Dewey had been a fine admiral but his writing was atrocious.

The handwritten dedication was on the opening page of Chapter Fifteen. To Carlos, it said. At least Cuba will now forever be free.

Posted by: Jim Parkinson at June 22, 2005 2:26 PM · Permalink

How to write well," was the title. It appeared to be a vanity press book written around the turn of the century. He flipped through the chapters, and it seemed to cover every aspect of fiction writing: characters and character development, plot, clarity, and conciseness. It appeared to be exactly what he was looking for.

He turned to the front of the book, and on their own page were the words, "It's better to be original than obvious. Good writing comes with practice and a little bit of luck."

He returned the book to the shelf and left the store.

Posted by: david at June 22, 2005 3:28 PM · Permalink

It was completely blank when she bought it. Stacy was certain as she had been of anything in her thirteen years.

Nonetheless, when she opened it, locked in her room, her new diary had a line written in it in neat etters. "It's under the chest."

She looked, and found her favorite necklace, months missing. From then on, every few days, another line would appear in the diary. Soon she was obeying without thinking.

"Jillian's not your friend. Make her cry today."

"Let Billy feel you up tonight."

"Tell Mom about Dad and the babysitter."

"Set the curtains on fire."

Posted by: Jeff R. at June 22, 2005 3:32 PM · Permalink

Gah. Those are neat letters, not etters, of course. Gah squared.

Posted by: Jeff R. at June 22, 2005 4:16 PM · Permalink

"Shit, Maeve, not another!" Jack tosses his beer can onto the growing pile, "You spend too much time in that bookstore." He pops open another, slurping at the foam, "too much money."

I snap, "too much money on myself, right?"

"You talkin' back, woman?"

I run to the bathroom, locking the door. I won't argue with him, not when my heart is beating because of the book I found stashed behind the Everything $1 bin. I slip out the onionskin note from the loosened book spine of the signed first edition, rereading the magic --

Use this to get away. ~~Maeve

Posted by: Darleen at June 22, 2005 5:56 PM · Permalink

Check before you post!