Tuesday, July 03, 2007
New Beginning 307
I met Bibliomancer for the first time at my uncle’s funeral. He stood two people down from me at the viewing. Between us there was this old lady I didn’t recognize with her six-year-old grandson in tow, already fidgeting. Bibliomancer kept leaning forward to look at me, past the old lady’s nose and the handkerchief she had clamped tightly over her mouth. I pretended to ignore him, kept my eyes fixed on the casket. I couldn’t wait to get out of this suit.
“Excuse me.” He was trying to catch my eye. I considered sidling away, as this guy was creeping me out. “You do know why it’s a closed casket, don’t you?”
“Do I know you?"
The old lady gave me a sidelong glance and I turned my gaze back to the casket. Bibliomancer shuffled his feet and I could imagine him still staring at me. The little boy coughed and his grandmother put a hand on his shoulder.
“Excuse me.” Bilbliomancer had taken a step back and now he was talking to me across the old woman’s back. “You didn’t know your uncle well, did you?”
I leaned slightly back, tried to keep my voice low. “Were you a friend of his?”
“An acquaintance. He used to visit my bookshop. He enjoyed reading.”
“And drinking and gambling and whoring.” The old woman’s voice was as dry and bitter as desiccated lemon.
“It’s a very special bookshop.” Bibliomancer was standing next to me now, the old woman still on my right. “Do you know why it’s a closed casket?”
The old woman turned to both of us. “So that -- just for once -- the old bastard will stay where I put him. Now shut the fuck up.” That’s when I realized the old woman was my Uncle’s second wife. And that’s when I heard the scratching noise from inside the casket.
Opening: The Green Cat.....Continuation: ril