Carl left Books and Blooms and entered the hustle of New York City. He didn’t have any leads; so, how was he going to find the book with no name? He glanced at the digital billboard above the street. It was the presidential race and Carl didn’t think much of voting. Based on his conversations with the guys, the fate of the nation rested with people who told off-color jokes and compared their bicep muscles. He was about to hail a cab when he saw the homeless man on the screen. The arsonist was a final candidate and kept referencing a black book next to his debate notes.

Carl was shocked, but then he thought about the nature of the book. It would help anyone become the most powerful person in the world.

“Hey Cabbie, what’s the fastest way to get to the District of Columbia?”

It was the final presidential debate and Carl was wrestling with his motivations. Why should he have the power and not the man running for president? Obviously, the book was dangerous. Savior scenarios kept running through his mind, like he was the one to assassinate the most dangerous man in the world, but his rational mind kept telling him “No!” He was also under the book’s influence and it needed to be destroyed, but fire wouldn’t burn it.

Once the arsonist became president, it would be impossible to steal the book. Carl went to a pawn shop and bought a Saturday Special; it was the same .22 caliber used in the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Sometimes Carl’s plans made sense and at other times he thought he was losing his mind.

He stood in the debate crowd, watching the man who would become President. Someone had to stop him. He fingered the trigger in his pocket. If the would-be president died, the book would be discarded. It was now or never. Carl rushed the podium and six shots rang out.


There were six red dots painted on the would-be president. Certain sure, he was dead.

And Carl was tackled by an angry mob. Everything went black.


Carl woke in a prison cell and his mind was rapidly becoming his own. There was a corner TV in the hallway and the news was on. “President Elect Larry Sanders survived an incredible assassination attempt by a New York City Fire Fighter. The boys in the fire house said Carl had been acting strangely and was doing too much reading.”

Carl was in disbelief; he was not in his right mind. He had been temporarily insane from reading the wrong book. Now he would rot in prison for the rest of his life. How had the candidate survived? He hit him six times at short range. Carl rested on his cot. He didn’t have anything else to do for the next 50 years. He almost fell asleep when he heard footsteps in the hallway. It was the President of the United States.

“Son, I know you regret what you did. It’s nothing personal.”

“I know you; you stole my book. How did you survive six shots to the chest?”

Larry Sanders smiled at Carl. “I’m the Devil and I left you a present. Inmates get a Bible, but I decided to leave you something better. I’ll see you on the outside.” And with that, President Sanders walked away.

Carl look at his bedside. There was the black book. He opened it and read the note inside.

For my would-be assassin. LS.

And Carl realized what LS stood for. Lucifer Satan. He kept reading and suddenly he had an escape plan.



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