Sunday, July 2, 2017

betty goes to the museum - 10. b b bashevski


part ten of thirteen

for previous episode, click here

to begin at the beginning, click here




after her disagreeable experience with the so-called artworks of a a adams - whoever or whatever a a adams might have been - betty decided to quit the museum, unless it was still raining heavily outside.

she made her way back to the entrance by carefully following the exit signs, but when she did she was greeted by the sight of an ongoing monsoon.

she decided to return to the cafeteria, and perhaps purchase something with some nutritional value, if anything answering that description was reasonably priced.

the cafeteria was empty of other customers. betty ordered another cup of tea and a lettuce tomato and avocado sandwich on 12 grain bread.

she took a seat while the sandwich was being prepared, and she noticed that someone had left a pile of books on one of the chairs at the table.

betty picked a slender volume from the top of the pile.

it was a copy of “der tod in venedig” by thomas mann, and there was a picture on the cover of a gondola in a canal sailing past an apartment building, so betty recognized the book as a german edition of “death in venice”.

betty could not read german, although she thought she could recognize it as such, and she did not have a passionate desire to read “death in venice” in either german or english.

the next book in the pile was also a thin one, with the title “stories” by b b bashevski, and it had a cover picture of a buddha-like red silhouette on a black background.

betty opened the book.

except for the title page, which simply read “stories by b b bashevski”, and the numbers on the bottom of the pages, betty could not read any of the book’s contents.

the pages were filed with what looked like “writing”, though betty could not be sure. there seemed to be a variety of different scripts alternating through the book, with each particular script covering eight to twelve pages, and betty assumed that each group of similar looking pages was one of b b bashevski’s “stories”.

some of them looked to betty like chinese writing, others like arabic writing, and others like egyptian hieroglyphics, but since betty could not read any of these scripts, as far as she knew they could have been arbitrary squiggles.

the book of b b bashevski’s “stories” was handsomely printed on the finest paper, but betty was not intrigued by its arbitrary squiggles, so she put it aside with “der tod in venedig” .

there were three other, thicker, books on the chair and betty picked them up and placed them on the table.

we should mention that betty had no notion of taking the books with her after finishing her tea and sandwich, and would have happily surrendered them to anyone who might show up to claim them.

when she looked at the three thick books, she recognized them as part of the series of books she had encountered back in the break room when she was part of the installation, eating white cake with chocolate frosting.

the three books had the same plain white covers as the books in the break room, and they were labeled novel #3, novel #4, and novel #5.

betty’s sandwich was not ready yet, and she picked up and opened novel #3.

novel #3 was the fattest novel in the bunch, at about 1500 pages.

11. novel #3