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The "At Last!" Edition, Copyright 2009 by Marc Roman

Published by Smashwords.

Any semblance to real people, places, things, or events, is entirely coincidental.


To Robyn, for saving my life, for saving my very soul . . .

I sat in the corner of a flea market bookstall, passing the time amongst cracked volumes and torn paperbacks that surrounded me with an unknowable comfort. None were of particular rarity or demand, but all provided glimpses of times passed and hopes forgotten. Old science fiction books mingled with historical works, and romantic tales shared their ways with comics, as magazines opened themselves upon former bestsellers. I randomly chose a few books to play a little game with that I had known since I was very young. One can often tell the age of a book from a whiff of its ruffled pages. The pleasant smell of slowly decaying paper and fading ink filled my nostrils as I guessed the age of the first book.

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