Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Book Theif

I sat in front of the fireplace, wishing I could put my feet up, but knowing it would be wholly inappropriate to leave sandy footprints on the carefully shellacked coffee table. The warmth of the fire danced on my skin as my eyes ran through the words in the book I had brought down with me. An older woman's voice caught my attention. "Do you have any books? " she asked.

Glancing up from my page, I saw a small group of women congregated around the hotel's reception desk. The eldest woman saw me looking over at them. She began pushing her walker toward me. She pointed directly at me. "She has a book." Her peers turned, gazing at the book in my hand, and made their way in my direction, weaving between the scattered Victorian furniture.

I close my book and stand up. The eerie feeling of being the only living being in a zombie movie washes over me. I need to leave the area. My imagination is clearly getting the best of me. I begin to walk around the coffee table. One of the women is standing at the corner. "Excuse me" I say with a tentative smile.

"Give me that book." The ferocity behind it startles me and I step back, falling so that I am sitting on the coffee table. The book falls from my hand, landing on the table next to my rump. The woman advances a step or two, her chin lifted high and arm outstretched toward me. I swivel away from her, picking the book up again. I put the book behind my back and walk the other way around the table. Surprised by a small tug on the book, I turn and see the walker wielding woman has placed her hands on the book. Her weight is leaned forward against the walker.

"I'm sorry," I say, "This is my book." She pulls on the book in response. Her grip is tight and she is pulling the book steadily toward her. I let it happen at first, not comprehending the full situation. Then I being to resist, holding the book steadily between us. She doesn't speak, but her face folds into a deeper scowl. She pulls harder. I pull back.

Within a few seconds, there is a furious game of tug-of-war occurring. Her strength is unexpected. I have to fight hard for the book while trying to be careful not to knock her off of her balance. I am warm, but not because the fire is on my skin. The other ladies have gathered around us and the clustered furniture. They have begun to cheer for their friend.

Finally, I pull hard, bringing the book all the way into my chest and push her forehead in the opposing direction with my free hand. She falls backwards and her friends gasp. Using this as an opportunity to escape, I leap over the table and run up the stairs. I can hear the yells from downstairs as I round the bend in the hall and break into a sprint to my room. Quickly, I unlock the door and thrust myself through it, turning to catch it so it doesn't slam shut. I am too late and the door slams shut.

I jump back, banging my head on the headboard of my bed, my book spilled open on the floor and my arm wrapped in a twisted sheet which has fallen mostly to the floor. The clock reads 3:11am. I rub my eyes. "What a dream." I whisper to myself.


  1. Funny. Love the whole pulled the book back to my chest and pushed her forehead away from me. Great descriptions. this is a fun read. the only human being in a zombie movie. love that line. Did you imagine your hotel you are now in is the hotel in this "dream" of yours here? ha ha.

  2. Wait, so since you made this into a "woke up at the end, it was a dream" kind of story, does this mean that we can't you questions? Like, why in the world is an old lady in a walker trying to steal your book? Who were the friends? etc...

    Not fair!

  3. You can ask, but I may not have a satisfactory answer. I did see a group of elderly people arrive and their first question was if the hotel had any books. There was an old lady in a walker who pointed out that I had a book and she didn't. I used that as a cue to leave and daydreamed about her trying to take the book from me as I walked back to my room.

  4. That is an odd occurrence (the real one).

    I could see this as some sort of SciFi story where real books are rare and sought after, especially by the older generation who are not as pleased as others with the whole digital book thing (kindles and the like).

    A dream of someone who has a book and accidentally show it in public.