Jose had always been taught not to judge a book by its cover. So, when he bought the book, entitled, Reading This Book Will Kill You, he didn’t take it literally. He should have.
CHAPTER 1 the book began boldly. You have 238 pages to live. Stop reading now before these words kill you. Every word you are reading means there is one less word between you and your death. Why are you still reading? Are you suicidal? Though we are only eighty-one words into this, already I know you. You’re a smoker, aren’t you? Even if you’ve never had a cigarette in your entire life, admit it, you’re a smoker.
Jose closed the book to light a cigarette. He’d been trying to quit all month. He hadn’t had a smoke in over an hour, so he thought he’d reward himself with a smoke now.
When he had a lit cigarette securely between his lips, he reopened the book, curious to see what else the book knew about him.
You’re still here? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. When you’re gasping your last breath, I know you’ll have a lot on your mind, but, don’t forget to remember I warned you.
So, you want to hear a story? Ok, here’s one:
Once upon a time there lived this man, let’s call him, Joe, and he had been raised with a strict set of values set by a church that imprisoned his family in invisible cages that only they themselves had the keys to unlock. Problem was, they believed Jesus was their prison guard, so they waited for Jesus to set them free.
Joe learned the doctrine from the Holy Trinity of his mother and father and grandfather, who learned it from their local priest, who learned it from their theology school teachers, who in turn, had learned it from their teachers, some of whom had cheated on their tests. Of course, Joe didn’t have the luxury of time travel, so, he was doomed to learn an entire doctrine via broken telephone.
Joe had been taught to love everyone, while secretly hating the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews. He had been taught not to judge a book by its cover, something he tried his best to uphold, though, found it difficult when it came to keeping up with his secretly hating the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Protestants.
There was one thing Joe did not judge by its cover, books. So, when he saw the book, BUY ME AND DIE, Joe, took the title as a joke, laughed, and bought the book and thirty years later, Joe died, getting hit by a piano falling from a roof.
Jose slammed the book shut, looking up at the tree he sat under, knowing there was a piano up there for him, too.