Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

After five minutes of tests, the paramedic concludes that Sid is in fact not dead. The supervisor then asks Sid what he was doing in the burnt apartment complex. Sid replies that he lived there, and has simply awoken from his sleep. Unfortunately, the supervisor does not believe him, and calls over the police officer who is standing nearby to heckle Sid for being in the burnt building.

The officer is rather stern looking, and glares at Sid for a few minutes before speaking. He asks the same question that Sid has been asked before, and that is what he was doing in the burnt building. Sid gives the same response that he lives there and had just awoken from his sleep to see that his room had been badly burned. The officer, noticing the time, which is nearing lunch, gives Sid a warning, and tells him to never again sleep in buildings that have recently been on fire.

Sid is somewhat shocked, for this meant that he will now have to find a new place to live, since the police officer will no longer allow him live in the burned out shell of an apartment complex. He digs his hands into his pockets, and begins rummaging through them. Nothing of much interest is in there, just a wallet, a book of matches, a pen, some tissue, and a broken button. He also finds a business card, which he nearly throws away, until he sees the handwriting on the back. At which point he promptly sticks all of the contents back into his pockets and continues on with his delayed walk.

By now, most of the clouds have moved on, leaving just a clear blue sky, with an occasional white wisp, and the sun. He cannot hear any birds, but he does hear loud hammering and noise from nearby construction projects. He continues to walk through a park. The grass is green, and the trees have green leaves. Except for one tree which is covered in a cocoon. Sid thinks the tree must be going through an identity crisis, thinking that it was a butterfly or moth. He never did understand trees.

Sid keeps walking, and it grows dark. He decides to stay the night on a park bench. That is until a cop tells him to go home. So Sid starts walking back towards his burned apartment. On his way, he notices a library which is open for 24 hours a day. He walks inside, and begins browsing for a rather large book that he can read. He eventually finds one, and locates himself a corner table, near a man who is hurriedly reading a book on number theory. Sid opens up the book, and sticks his head inside. He is soon fast asleep, but pretends he is reading whenever he thinks he hears a librarian sneaking up behind him.