Dream of: 29 February 1996 (2) "Book Store"

I had been walking around in a second hand book store, and was just about to leave, when something caught my eye: arranged on the bottom rack of a nearby book shelf was a bunch of the little yellow paperback books know as "Cliff Notes." I knew these books contained shortened versions of literary works along with commentary about the works. I generally wasn't interested in this type of book, but the last book on the end grabbed my attention, for it was titled Kafka.

Franz Kafka was one of my favorite authors; I had read several of his books. I had even read Der Prozess (The Trial) several times, but I had never read any commentary about Kafka's books, and I knew little about Kafka's life. Even as familiar as I was with Der Prozess, I knew parts of that book remained unclear to me and I thought seeing seeing what someone else had to say about the book might be a good idea.

I stepped toward the shelf, intending to pick up the book, but unfortunately I encountered a bit of a problem. A black boy (12-13 years old) was lying on the floor right beside the book, so his head – with its short curly black hair – was almost right next to the book. I didn't want to disturb the boy by bending over and grabbing the book right next to his head. I hesitated, thinking I might just forget the whole thing. Then abruptly deciding to go ahead, I bent over and snatched up the book, managing to not touch the boy (who didn't seem to notice me at all).

I immediately walked over to a comfortable soft chair statiioned in the middle of the store, sat down in the chair – sinking back into it – and opened the book. As I began reading the first paragraph I was surprised to realize the book was written in German. This was an added boon since I would much rather read German than English. I hadn't realized Cliff Notes published books in German.

The first paragraph mentioned that Kafka had written twelve books; I was surprised there had been so many. It was unclear whether any of the books had been published while Kafka was alive, but it was clear that Kafka had died young (around the age of 40). The first paragraph also said I would find information in this book about Kafka which hadn't been previously published anywhere. An example of this information was the fact that during his lifetime Kafka had painted twenty-some paintings, and copies of those paintings were to be included in this book.

Looking below the first paragraph at the bottom of the page, I saw some of the pictures which stretched over to the next page. There were actually four or five paintings which were set together next to each other to form an obvious series. The paintings were rather simple, in black and white, showing the interior of a room. The back part of the paintings showed windows full of white sunlight. In the foreground, in front of the windows, were black, featureless images (similar to dancing featureless women by the painter Matisse) of women, dancing in a row, holding each others hands. Although the paintings were only in black and white and somewhat somber, they definitely were exuberant and joyful. I found them quite intriguing, and I realized I would like to have this book to read more about Kafka.

As I flipped through the pages to see what else I might find, I happened to look down between my legs and was surprised to see my penis and testicles completely outside of my pants. I quickly moved my legs and managed to cover everything up. Trying to regain my composure I looked around the store to see if anyone had noticed. Not seeing anyone looking at me, I lodged my private parts back inside my pants and zipped up my pants. I stood up, thinking I should leave the store as quickly as possible.

As I started to leave and I walked away from the chair in which I had been sitting, I realized I had left some other things lying by the chair. On the floor was a belt, a cap, and some gloves which I had been wearing. As I bent over and began picking up the items, I also noticed a small metal spade about 10 centimeters long which was used for garden work. I now recalled that once before I had brought this little spade to this store and given it to the store. So I left it lying there. I also saw some silverware which I thought I had left lying on the floor. Another person was now standing in my way and I had to grope around behind the person to pick up the silverware, but I finally had it all. When I stood back up, I laid the silverware on top of a rack.

Now I only had the book in my hand. I had decided I would like to buy the book, but now a new problem occurred to me. This bookstore was somewhat like a library, in that a person could borrow books and bring them back. I now remembered that I had already borrowed a book which was overdue and that I wouldn't be allowed to take this new book unless I first brought back the old one. I thought I could pay the fine for the old one, but I knew that wouldn't be good enough. I wouldn't be allowed to take a new book unless I brought back the old one first.

That meant I would have to leave the book and come back for it. I would need to try to hide it somewhere so no one else would find it. Or there was one other alternative: I could steal the book. Not many people were in the store. I could slip back between one of the rows of shelves and stick the book in my pants. My chances of being caught were very slight. But what if I were caught? That would be extremely embarrassing. I could just imagine being grabbed as I was walking on the stairs out of the store. That would be a disaster.

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