On a neglected shelf in the back of a store, I spotted a thick book with an unpolished wooden cover and a black silk bookmark hanging from the middle of its pages. I thought that the book was an empty journal, and I was already coming up with thoughts and schemes to fill it with as I brushed past a large woman who stood rooted in place between me and the shelf. But when I got to the book and picked it up, I was disappointed to discover that its pages were already filled, printed in a rough typeface that filled every page with no room for margins and no breaks for paragraphs, not even spaces between the words. I couldn’t make out what any of it said. It just looked like random letters stamped to the paper with ink and madness.
But then I looked back at the woman who had blocked my way. She was dressed in her Sunday best, a dress of blue with white polka dots and a pair of long white satin gloves. And there were men standing behind the shelf where I had found the book. They wore suits and their grey beards were trimmed and their hair was combed back. They all stood still and they all faced towards the front of the store like they were listening to someone, and it was then that I finally heard the preacher speaking from far in the front. I flipped again through the book and realized now that it was a Bible, printed by the unskilled hands of an amateur on some backwoods home press. This amateur had probably even cut down the tree that had provided the wood for the cover. I looked around, wanting to slip out. But I had the book in my hand now. I couldn’t seem to put it down. I couldn’t seem to leave. They had drawn me back into religion.