Turn to page 120.
It's written in the margins of every volume, in the blank pages at the front and back, over and over again, in shiny brown ink. Turn to page 120.
Childish scribbles in a set of ruined books, I knew, the reason this encyclopedia was dirt-cheap at a yard sale. I didn't care: who needs a paper encyclopedia these days? I bought it because it was too good a deal to pass up, because I thought it'd make me look learned, academic. The encyclopedia aesthetic. And I did find it amusing to poke around in, scribbles aside: outdated information preserved in ink and paper, brief summaries of complex concepts, the occasional racist aside. An old encyclopedia is a world unto itself. And wherever there was once a white space the same message: turn to page 120.
Who wouldn't be curious? It takes minimal effort to find a certain page: you don't have to expect much of a payoff for that to be worth it. Of course I turned to page 120.
Every volume I checked, it was the