In legend, there is a library somewhere in the galaxy that houses every piece of knowledge in existence. This is not true, as Young Goodman found upon receiving his employment invitation; the library was in a different galaxy completely. Being a bookish Philosophy and Literature major from Boston, you’d have thought receiving a letter from a one “Master Curio of The Library, Black Hole in Galaxy Eyo” would have been thought silly by Goodman, but he was quite rational about it. Packing nothing, as the letter requested, he set off to an empty lot blocks from his dormitory and stood in the middle awaiting “the call” that was to come for him. He’d read and re-read the letter for the week between his receiving it and his call date. It told him that he was to become an apprentice for the Master of Documenting and Recording Human Lives. He would be a keeper of tales and wishes and adventures; of love and loss.If he had felt silly standing there in an empty lot, grasping a letter from an elliptical galaxy he had only studied during his brief fascination with physics, it did not last because the moment he planted his feet and looked into the night sky, there was a man standing just behind him.
“Hello Goodman. We’re so glad you came” and without so much as allowing the boy to turn and see who was speaking to him there was a hand on his shoulder, a haze of light and the world around him began to fade. Dizzy and slightly blinded by the foggy atmosphere Goodman could see the patchy grass below his feet give way to marble and brick walls on either side faded into a cloudless sky and he was standing before what appeared to be a massive mahogany doorway.
The hand was no longer on his shoulder and standing before him was a man of small stature, and a friendly face.
“Welcome,” said the caller as he pulled the door open for Goodman, “to The Library.”
As they entered, Goodman could see many things he could not quite believe. It was a indeed a library. Though much larger and more extravagant than he would have imagined. There were many men, and creatures that looked nothing like he’d seen before. But from their manner, their countenance, Goodman could tell they were of races of similar position in the social hierarchy as humans.
The caller led Goodman to a small table with two chairs, all elaborately carved and bearing script Goodman had never seen before.
“You don’t seem to surprised to be here” the caller spoke sitting on one seat gesturing for Goodman to join him.
“My grandfather told me stories about this place.” Goodman surveyed his surroundings, his eyes hungry for understanding. “But he never said it was anything like this.”
“What did he tell you?” a sort of raspy whisper came from nearby. An old man, ancient nearly, stood cloaked and solemn faced had approached them.
“Well,” Goodman answered as he assessed this man, “not nearly as much as I’ve learned just sitting here. He’d told me that here housed all of the World’s knowledge. That the librarians were keepers of stories, kn knowledge, any fact anything that is true can be found here. This is the house of knowledge.”
“Ah,” the old man smiled. “The house of knowledge. Well, my dear boy, this is true and not so true. You see, you will be working under me, and I am Curio, Master of Documenting and Recording Human Lives, keeper of profit, business venture, war, lust, love, kind acts, and all that beauty human lives are comprised of; and you, you are my apprentice. Come now, let me explain,” and with that he beckoned Goodman, waved Goodbye to the man who’d brought Goodman and set off to a section that looked very much like a library one would find on earth. It wasn’t as bright as some of the other sections appeared to be, there was less technology and far fewer librarians pacing, re-shelving, and reading.
“There are, of course, two types of books for the humans yet to be born. Look here,” the Curio said, handing Young Goodman a hefty volume with Emelie Belle Martin written on it. Inside, other than her birth date, July 1, 3000, was completely blank. “She,” the old Master continued, ” is one of those free spirited ones. Someone who will write their destiny. We know what choices may befall her, but naturally each choice she makes will lead to another choice, another life, and ultimately, another universe. Where there will be another you, learning from another me. But let’s not complicate things so, not this early, anyway.”
He strode over to another section and took a slightly thinner volume from the shelves. “Ivana Bazin,” he handed the volume to Goodman, who could see the entire book was filled.” Born in February of 2069. She marries once, becomes a lesbian for some spell, but eventually dies alone. She has three children, Michael, Angela and Monique. Her favorite sport is tennis and her favorite song is by an artist named Sherri Fils-Aime, ‘Beauty like the Night.’ You see, I know all of this about our still unborn Ivana because she is one who will accept her fate as it happens. She believes in destiny, and destiny alone and this belief is so strong it will not allow her to fight for what she loves. She will have no fight whatsoever, no fire.” He chuckled, sadly. “But it does make our lives easier, I daresay sometimes I wish more were like her. I’d have less to do. Now, you will join Francisco,” the man who’d brought Young Goodman reappeared, “and be fed, and kept in a manner that is usual to you. Tonight, you will talk to me, I want to know all about Earth, from your eyes. It has been many, many years since I was home. Though, I tell you, with the knowledge you gain here I cannot say I miss it. See you, then.” And he walked off, over to a non-human librarian and began to engage in a discussion in a language Goodman had never heard.
Staring after his new Master, Goodman had man burning questions, but he’d wait. It seemed, he’d be here for quite a while.