when i worked at a bookstore, i sold a cheap edition of don quixote to an earnest-looking high school student. our register wasn't registering very quickly, and the elderly man behind the student got a good look at what i was trying to sell; he was visibly relieved when the book left the store. i asked him about it, and he said

seventy-some years ago, don quixote landed him in the hospital with a horrible case of diphtheria. he'd gotten the book from the library, and the kid who'd borrowed it immediately before him had coughed all over the pages. he knew this because they ended up in the same room in the contamination ward; the other kid died. the old man had tried to read the rest of it many times since, and it panicked him; he was sorry to abandon cervantes, but that's how it goes.

i was cruelly mocked when i told my co-workers the story, but i did some diptheria research when i got home; turns out that it's quite possible for that sort of germ to linger in a book for several weeks. as for the likelihood of the whole thing - i've never seen someone look quite so devastated about, um, don quixote. i think i believe him.


joe and i were locked out of the apartment last night. to no one's surprise, my uncle wasn't around to come over and save us with his master key. i've had it to here with paying people to break me into my house, so i built a lock pick with a mineral water bottle and joe used it to get the door open. if you don't believe that, i can but say that i've read a lot of girl-detective novels and befriended a few locksmiths over the years.

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