Henry's Book Cover?
The small book store had been there on that same corner through three generations. His grandfather had passed it on to his father and now as he stood there and let his eyes slowly wander over the many volumes that covered every inch of the walls with there dust and one or two webs at the corner. He had traveled every inch of this world through there pages and never left the room.
When his father died suddenly and left this all to him, he actually hated him for leaving what he thought as a burden. He was young and rebellious and planned on seeing the world out side of the smell of paper and leather. His father had kept him working ever day after school and on Saturday either bringing in new books or stacking them on the tables.
At first he was determined to just sell the shop. There wasn't a day that costumers young and old did not come in and buy or simply browse the shelves. All telling or asking about some book that they read or wanted to read. In order to answer their questions he started reading books that he would have never opened the covers on before. He was never a good student in school, his teachers many times jolted him out of his day-dream world in the class while he stared out the window.
The question that he got most was the mystery that resided in the center of the room. It had been placed there by his grandfather and his father said it should remain there for it was very important.
It was a flat pedestal with a very large faded black leather bond book placed on it that had no title on its cover or its spine. What made it more of a mystery was that there was a thick clear glass box covering the closed book and sealed down to the pedestal. As a child he had tried many time to see if he could break the seal but it was obvious that one would have to break the glass to see what was on the pages of that huge book.
Some people would just simply presume that it was a very rare and expensive book and yet curious of what it was about. His father would only reply---"It's everything or nothing?"
Now Henry's doctors had told him that he should get his final affairs in order for he had an incurable disease. The only living relative that he was aware of was a nephew that he had never met and only heard that he was just released from prison.
Frank sat in front of his parole officer that day and couldn't believe what he had just heard. He asked him to read the letter again for it seemed that his luck had changed. He was being told that he now owned a---book store of all things! Hell, he could hardly read and write. School was something he had avoided most of his younger years when he was shuffled from one half-way house to the next.
His mind was racing as he stood out side that parole office that day. He would go check this place out and quickly see it and then be on his way and look up some of his old friends. This Uncle Henry that he had never heard of was now his lucky ticket to having some good-times.
Frank laughed, when he seen that the open sign still hung in the window. Well, that would soon change to a for-sale sign. He had the letter that the parole officer had given him and it had stated that there was an important envelope waiting his acceptance at the book store. He hoped it was cash and plenty of it for that was what he needed right now, in case this book- joint didn't sell right away.
First he opened the cash-register to see if there was money. The till was empty except for an old brown envelope. It was not sealed but the flap was carefully just tucked in.
"To my future heirs I ask only that each heir reside and keep this book store of knowledge open for exactly one-year before he or she can sell it and at that time only shall the glass case be broken to reveal its treasure---if so wished?" There was a business card with an attorney's name and number that has scribbled on the back, "Call for an appointment in one year."
He threw the envelope across the room and reached for a book to follow its path when he was stopped by a tapping on the window. There stood an elderly couple peering in at him. Well he would send them on their way but before he could say that the shop was closed they brushed right by him and started picking up books on the sale-table. Before he knew it he had made a sale and the ring of the register was sounding real good. He was glad that each book had the price penciled in on the inside cover. At the end of the day he couldn't believe how many people wanted those stupid books. Most of the didn't even have pictures in them!
Several weeks later he was also aware that a box of books would arrive each month with the latest releases, it seems that this was a contract that his uncle Henry had with a distributor Well, he now had money in the till for these expenses, In the store room in the back he had placed a cot with a real nice mattress on it and he had to admit it was much better than the prison cots. The way he no looked at this situation was that he had endured the prison time, so he could do the same here for a year.
It was just the boredom that got to him. His parole officer dropped in on him regularly and that kept him on a so called---short leash. At night he found himself opening more of the books that surrounded him and he was still very slow at reading and making out some of the words. He found that he seemed to enjoy the Zane Grey western stories and soon he was reading faster and also this man called Hemingway wasn't to bad either, then by chance he picked up the book way up on the top shelf that he couldn't put down and sat there most of the night reading it. It was one of those leather bound books that just felt good to hold it, (To Kill A Mockingbird) There had been books in prison but he had never earned the privilege to be offered one to attempt to read.
This was all new to him and he had to admit that he was enjoying it. Several time a day he would look over at the pedestal with the glass dome covering that big black book and wonder what secret it held. When people asked him about it, he just honestly said "I don't know," they usually walked away with a puzzled look on their face.
Before that year was up, Hank with out realizing it, had traveled all around the world in those books. He had been to places that he could not say correctly or spell. Many of the customers that he now knew were becoming real friends and this had been also missing in his life. He looked forward to flipping the sign in the window to show open each morning.
A year to the day when that attorney called him and said that he had set up an appointment for him to come in and make a decision on the future of the book store? He sat up all night with a book in his lap and never turned the page. His eyes would scan the room and then they would come back and settle on the glass-case.
Hank st there in front of the attorney and when he was asked, he did not hesitate for a second, "I want to keep the book shop just as it is."
The attorney handed him a small very old envelope which again was not sealed only the flap turned carefully in.
♥ From All Words Come Wisdom: (The Power Of Words Are Sealed IN That Dictionary)