There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.
So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.
I went over to him.
Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?
Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.
And then he showed me.
Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.
It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.
I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.
Of course, he said.
Is it fiction? I asked.
No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.
But it’s condition?
Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?
Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?
Yes, he said. How did you know?
It takes one to know one, I said. Happy reading.