Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

To come between the numbers seven and nine. To be divisible by one, two, four, and itself. To be an even number, not an odd, and not a prime. To have the square of sixty four. And to torment Harold.

Several long years passed before another encounter with the number eight interfered with Harold’s life. In that time he had become president of a small business that specializes in business. It was rather good at doing what it does, which can only really be described as “business,” even though the various tasks were broken down into several main categories; golf, redistributing funds, generating funds for redistribution, coffee breaks, business trips, and business card making.

Things were going well all through the seventh year. However, when the company’s eighth anniversary rolled around, it collapsed for a number of reasons. The largest reason for the failure of the company was its inability to do business with clients, followed closely by the loss of profit when the greens fees were greatly increased y the golf club the business partners were regulars at.

His apartment also caught fire, and burned to the ground, along with all of his worldly possessions. His records, CDs, cassettes, TV, stereo, and car were all incinerated. All because of a shorted wire in his eight-track deck. All of this and more went up in smoke. Not only did his apartment get burned, but all of his eight neighbors’ apartments were badly burned, and destroyed. Harold had hoped that the insurance would pay for all of the damages from the fire. However, he failed to read all of the fine print. The most critical fine print, regarding the fact that the policy would be void if a fire was caused by anything that even remotely involved the number eight, he had skimmed over. Now he would pay for that eight second bit of laziness.

Harold finds himself on the street, out of a company, car, apartment, and hating with a passion the number eight. He vows that one day he will obliterate the number eight from its existence in the universe. This becomes his only purpose in life. For many long days he hunts for the elusive eight, trying to find out where it lives, and how he could go about its destruction.