“I’m looking for a book.” He was bone-thin, sickly thin, dressed in an once-expensive Italian suit gone frayed at the edges. “I’m told you have it?”

He knew the man on sight, knew the book he must want. “We’re closed.”

“It won’t take but a moment.”

If I excused myself to make a phone call, would I reach the telephone? “I—”

“Perhaps you have it in antiquities? I’d be grateful if you’d have a look. It’s a large book, an old book, written in a dead language—” The man was suddenly behind him, “—or more properly, the language of death.”

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