Schultz had a book.  It wasn’t a Bible.  It wasn’t a Bible he brought from the infirmary.  It was a yellowed hardcover of a Mark Twain book—Huckleberry Finn.  David watched him read it as he recovered, reclined in his prison bunk, his face hidden by it—gaunt, and his thin hands still with that pallor of gray hinting death.  He read it and then he read it again.  He spent his days doing that.  And at night when David played he whistled, sitting up in his bunk, his back and head against the wall.  That’s how it began.  Because after days of this he went two days with only 8 hours sleep.  Schultz had read the book too much.  And he began that strange traverse.  Where one thing, just one thing—becomes everything.  Maybe after the long sickness, the disorienting deliriums of it, he found it easy to pour his mind into it.  You know how it is.  Read a sentence.  Then read the sentence again.  Maybe go have a drink and smoke a cigarette.  Then read it again.  It has its first meaning—its best meaning.  But as you read it, and read it again over lapses of time you begin to let it in, and you enter into it.  This the connection that brings connections.  Memories that it leads to.  And then as you begin to believe in it—believe in its power, as some truth to your soul, its world seeps into yours.  Experiences become examples of it.  Deeper meanings haunt apparent simplicities.  And this, this how it happens—how a sentence, a phrase, a book—becomes iconic…  But icons can’t be foundations.  Not when you fall and are trying to find your footing again.  Because the cracks appear.  And you begin to see the foundations of your foundation.  For it is an imaginary world brilliant with light, shouting truth.  But the book must close.  The last words must be read.  And then your life.  Your life goes on and you go about your day.  And instead of just one it becomes one of many, one of many of those treasures that comfort you when you seek about in your mind as you falter, in reminders during stressful moments, in rest and thankfulness, when it’s time to tell a joke…  That’s how it began.  How David and Schultz began talking.  About that trip Huck Finn took down the river (Schultz selected the book in the infirmary because he thought it would inform him about his new home) and how David had to talk him down, because he was in that world and had lost his own, and that’s the first time they smoked together.  That’s the first time David shared a joint with him.

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