Carl needed to save something and if it wasn’t a human life, it might as well be a book. He backed out of the room and right when he did, a bookcase fell where he’d been standing. It’s a thrill to know you cheated death by seconds. You must be near it, to know it, and most people are too terrified to try.
“So, you saved one book out of thousands. Good for you. Are you going to read it?”
“I have profound dyslexia,” Carl said. It takes me 10 minutes to read 1 paragraph. Why the hell else would I be working with you guys? I’ll probably glance at it in my spare time.”
Back at the firehouse, something odd was happening. Carl’s mind kept drifting towards the book and he couldn’t focus on the stupid conversations. This was his education in reverse. He was always the kid who did everything to keep his nose out of a book. “Maybe if I just look at the pictures, the thoughts will go away,” he said.
And he retired to his bunk, pulling the book from behind his pillow. It was covered in ash and he wiped it clean. There was no title and no author. Carl opened it up to page 1 and tried to read the words; they were in Latin. “Oh well, forget that.” But something odd happened. His eyes glanced over the page and he learned something. It was not theoretical or abstract, and now he knew how to talk to his creditors. Carl closed the book and made a phone call.
“Yes, I want to make a lump-sum payment and close-out my credit card debt.” He took the black book with him to the racetrack. If he got bored, he could always read. Carl opened the book while he was waiting in line for his ticket. There were the Latin letters again and a flash of brilliance fluctuated through his brain. Suddenly, he knew what to do. “200 on the 7 horse.”
“But that’s 19 to 1 odds. Are you sure you want to do that mister?”
“As sure as Satan,” Carl said.