Kafka: The Eternal Guide
You’re having a date. You’ve been invited over, and they’re going to make dinner. You’re looking forward to it, as you’ve never been to their house and it’s one step closer together.
They open the door and you follow them inside. You take off your shoes, step into the living room and make yourself comfortable on the couch. You take in the environment. It’s a cozy apartment. There’s art on the walls, lots of sunlight pouring in through the big windows, plenty of plants, tons of books —
Hold on. The entire bookshelf is filled with the same book, over and over again. Kafka: The Definitive Guide. Forty, maybe fifty copies. You get up from the couch and turn to face your date, who’s in the kitchen getting the ingredients ready. You ask, what’s the deal with the books? They look at you, confused. You notice a stack of books, all identical, on the dining table. Kafka: The Definitive Guide. Are you alright, they ask. You look worried, they say, cookbook in hand.
You make an excuse and head to the bathroom. You are worried. You lock the door behind you. This is nuts, you tell yourself. You see a stack of books next to the toilet, where the toilet paper normally would be. Kafka: The Definitive Guide. The top one has plenty of pages ripped out.
The doorbell rings. Coming! your date shouts. Footsteps. The door opens. A delivery. Sign here please, you hear. More footsteps. Muffled noises in the hallway, just outside the bathroom. It’s the sound of books, dozens of them, being moved around. You wait for the sound to subside and unlock the bathroom door. Hundreds of copies of Kafka: The Definitive Guide, stacked in various piles. You head to the living room and grab your belongings. You need to get out of here. Your date is still in the kitchen. Are you a reader, they ask. You tell them no, and say you’re not feeling well. You’re not sticking around for dinner. You take a cab back home.
You open your apartment door and turn on the lights. It’s getting dark. Just after 6, the clock says. No wonder you feel hungry. You missed out on the pre-dinner snacks. Hmm, what to have for dinner. You decide no on takeout. You grab the cookbook and browse through it. Big friendly photos on each page. You go from page to page, looking for just the dish you’re in the mood for.
You reach the last page, unsatisfied. None of the recipes speak to you. You close the cookbook and put it aside.
Except it’s not a cookbook. It’s Kafka: The Definitive Guide.