“I always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.” ~Jorge Luis Borges
Ashley laughed again. All of the years of owning the small clock, how had he not known Bompa and Bomma Grant wouldn’t have hidden something there? He shuffled the seven catalog cards again, determined to find the last combinations. The first two were in different languages: Catalan and Latvian.
A knock on the back door pulled him away from the puzzle. “Evan, I had lunch prepared for you guys. You didn’t have to-.”
The svelte man before him shook his head. “I dare you to walk back and tell Mama that-.”
“Never mind! Christina running late?”
Evan shook his head again. “The kids have back-to-back soccer games, so you’re stuck with me. Be aware that I’ll probably be expected to give her a report, therefore, you’re not off the hook.”
The feast spread out on the counter and plates filled, they returned to the puzzle at hand.
“So, what’s the challenge this time,” Evan asked as he picked up the catalog cards from the murder mystery game board, noting that these books existed somewhere in the library. He stopped referring to it as a house, given that space was given to more books than basics.
“Trying to find the last two seven-letter words. So far, I have ‘llibres’ and ‘gramata.'”
Evan shook his head as he set the cards back on the gameboard. “Did your grandparents have something against plain English, or maybe Latin? Where’s your Scrabble game?”
Ashley nodded towards the game shelf in the other room. “To be fair, all of them encouraged me to learn as many languages as I could. Grandpa Grant said ‘the more languages you know, the more keys in your hand to unlock literary wonders.'” He shuffled the cards again.
“What letters am I pulling out,” Evan asked, tile bag in hand. Ashley told him. “I’ll make you a wager. If I figure out my word before you do, you’re going to the con with me next weekend.”
“You just got here. What makes you think-?”
“Either you offer evidence that you’re as wordy as you think you are or pack the whole game up now,” he taunted. “Deal or no deal?”
Ashley smiled, narrowing down which languages to try with the cards he had. “Deal.”
Evan shuffled the tiles thrice before spelling out ‘maktaba’ just as Ashley layered the corners of the cards to spell ‘leabhar.’
The younger man sighed. “I’ll still go to the con with you if you promise not to get me lost the moment we walk through the doors.”
Evan smiled. “I actually had a smaller nerdier conference in mind that might be more your speed. Not your fault you didn’t know the word for library in Swahili. Which word is yours?”
“Irish word for ‘book.’ The other words are ‘book,’ too. Three books and a library. Question is, which books for these last two?”
“Knowing you, it’s probably something already in your collection. Take a break from it and try to beat me at a game of chess,” Evan said.
Ashley scanned the notes before picking up the postcard from the Library of Congress. “Whatever you say.”