novel #2 was 1,000 pages long. the first page consisted of the word “fuck” endlessly repeated with no punctuation or paragraphing.
flipping through a few more pages, and then randomly checking others of the 1,000 pages, it seemed to betty that they too seemed to consist of the word “fuck” endlessly repeated with no punctuation or paragraphing.
was the whole book like that? was the last page like that?
with bated breath betty turned to the last page.
she heard a bell ring.
she looked around and realized the ringing was coming from an old-fashioned landline phone on the wall, which she had either not noticed or which had just popped out from the wall.
putting down novel #2, betty went over to the phone and answered it.
“your break is over,” a metallic voice announced.
“thank you,” betty replied.
a man appeared. he had a little mustache and looked like a maitre’d in a new yorker cartoon.
“you can return to your post in flora’s installation,” he told betty with a smile. “or, since we have found another volunteer to take your place, you may quit the installation if you like, and proceed on your way, either to further investigate the exhibits currently on display, or to depart the museum altogether, if that is your preference.”
“thank you,” betty replied. “i think i shall, as you so graciously suggest. look at some of the other exhibits, unless the rain has stopped, in which case i will be on my way.”
“as you wish,” the maitre’d answered with another smile, “i believe the rain has not stopped, but you can, of course, investigate that matter yourself.”
he then stood aside to let betty pass, and she found herself once more in the highly polished corridors of the museum.
the maitre’d picked up the copy of novel #2 which betty had left on the arm of the comfortable chair she had been sitting in, and returned it to the bookcase.
as he did so, a slip of paper, which betty had not noticed, fell out of the book and drifted to the floor.
the slip stated that the word “you” appeared on one of the pages, randomly inserted into the 999,999 repetitions of the word “fuck” .