Konrad pulled a book from the shelf and carefully turned its pages. It was a copy of East of Eden. He lay on his back, looking up at the yellowed paper with the same devotion he might have given the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. A stamp on the faded cover read:
A Gift to the New York City Public Library, July, 2051.
Across the room, Ferdinand looked toward his friend.
“Quite the collection,” Konrad said, gesturing to the books on the shelves. “When you leave, what happens to them?”
Ferdinand smiled sadly, but his voice maintained a mischievous air. “They gather dust,” he told him.
Konrad handed his friend the book.
“Give them to a museum, I say. Put them on display for the people to see.”
Ferdinand took the book and, lovingly, turned the pages. He spoke with his eyes still fixed on the codex.
“All the books the people care to see are already on display,” he noted, “Say the museums.”