Day 252: Write about one thing on the list from Day 53


Day 53, it’s time to get angry. I’ve chosen the books being owned and not read option from my previous list to expand upon. Now read on…

The Collector roams the aisles, row upon row of mint conditions stacked from floor to ceiling in towering mahogany shelves. He swears and rolls his head from side to side as he moves, taking in each and every sight to ensure…

Wait, something is wrong. The Collector has stopped, gnarled hands bunching into fists as he whirls towards a glass-fronted cabinet beside him. He wrenches open the door and moves a withered finger to the inspection line before him. “Zone? Eight hundred and twenty one. Section? Sixty-four. Book? One, two, four. Where is number three? Who has done this?” His voice wheedles its way out, barely above a whisper yet in the silence of the library it carries. “My collection is far from complete,” he says with a snarl, whipping around with narrowed storm cloud eyes, “Yet they seek to corrupt it from within?”

He marches onward, heavy boots clattering against the tiled floor. He is angry, his arms flailing as he continues his rant. “This is not what they are for!” He cries, raising a fist to the heavens. “They should be preserved! I will have them all!”

Meanwhile, in a forgotten corner of the library, there are two boys hiding under a sheet with a flashlight. Even the Collector doesn’t remember this place, hidden in a gap between two shelves. These days, withered and crooked, he would struggle to make it into this hidey-hole, but the boys make it just fine.

When they first came here, they found nothing but the decaying remains of a set of chairs, patchy silk and stuffing erupting like zits on the surface. But they found comfort enough. As their time in the library continued, neither able to find a way out, they made the place a home. They stole sheets that draped over some of the units, revealing other treasures along the way. A book of matches. A tin of peaches with a ringpull lid. Somebody must have been caring for them, but when they investigated they found nobody. They’d found food. They’d found medicine. Even, on one joyous occasion, they had found the torch they are using now.

“Are you ready, Jason?” One of them asks, with his long hair hanging limply around his gaunt face. His companion, a blonde, pudgy boy draws a sheet up to his neck and nods vigorously. “You sure?”

“Yeah! Story!” Jason replies, blue eyes flashing as the torch roams around their small shelter.

“Okay, I’ll start. Once upon a time…”

My idea, that I hope is fairly easy to follow, is that the Collector has books to have, not to read. This is my personal bugbear. You’ve got a signed copy of a book? Fabulous. When did you last read it? Oh I haven’t. What do you mean? Oh, it’ll be worth money someday.

It’s worth far more than money right now. You want something worth money, get into stocks and shares. Books are for reading, for passing on, for moving knowledge and stories from person to person until they can do so no more and they go to the Great Library in the Sky. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil


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