some red house

he’d been looking forward to it for the last couple of weeks. a town of books. all this learning gathered in and offered up. trawling, browsing, leafing. but now that he was standing in the bowels of the cinema bookshop… that smell. what was it, precisely? glue? paper? the spores of some bibliophile lichen? catacombs of yellowing paper. every book unwanted, sold for pennies or carted from the houses of the dead. battersea books home. the authors earned nothing from the transaction. salaries less than binmen he’d read somewhere. he thought about their lives. no colleagues, no timetable, no security, the constant lure of daytime television. the formlessness of it all made him feel slightly ill, going to work in their dressing gowns. so much risk and so little adventure.