Years ago. No date. Manhattan. Old Michael’s book shop
‘Have you read this one?’ Old Michael answered. The volume had a nice paperback binding in orange, with the photo of someone smoking a pipe. ‘It’s the Spanish edition of A Century of Ashes, a bizarre book of M.C.’ Alex didn’t known why old Michael was showing him that book… and he didn’t known until the flu had stopped. ‘Here it is! This is bizarre! Ten Masks of Evil! This is a strange book! Have you read it? Of course you haven’t… it’s just a rarity into literary world, but it has some kind of original ideas.’
Alex took the book and looked at the cover. He had seen the photograph before, but he couldn’t remember where.
‘It’s about the fall of the Devil. It’s the only sculpture in Europe about the theme. I think it’s in Spain, but I cannot assure you that.’ Alex looked twice the book and looked the back cover, with the author, again, smoking. ‘Do you remember The Lady from Shanghai? It’s the famous final sequence about mirrors… characters who try to play characters, lies into lies, mirrors at last!’
He remembered the sequence, just a typical movie of film noire. In fact, Alex doesn’t love the movies very much.
‘I won’t sell you this volume, dear Alex.’ Michael said. ‘But if you want, I can lend you for a few days.’ Alex found himself in a predicament: the book didn’t seem so interesting to spend one or even two days reading. Since he left literature, he didn’t like novels very much. He was more interested in essays or other kind of books. ‘I promise you, Alex. It will be interesting. At least, take a look at the first two chapters. I think you will find it very… familiar!’
Alex took the book and said thanked him.
‘Well, it’s time, Alex. Time to smoke!’ It was their favorite time and the real reason because Alex was there. Michael had the best cigars in N.Y. and that was enough reason to keep so kind of friendship. ‘Nigerian cigars for this evening, dear reader… and if you finish the book, I promise you a whole box!’
At the end, he would have to finish the book. Outside, it was a nice spring evening… but both, Michael and Alex, preferred the dark room plenty of smoke and good stories.
There’s strange people in this strange world.