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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)

TITLE: Beruz
By Jack Taylor



From day one, Beruz bugged the boogers right out of my being. Pardon my language. Before you trash my story let me explain.

I’ve worked in libraries for fifteen years now and I know my way around. For some reason I get stuck with training the newbees. I’m sure it’s because everyone thinks I’m as patient as Joshua waiting for the walls of Jericho to fall down. Most of the newcomers are youngsters looking for their first job because nothing else worked out.

But Beruz was different. I caught him lying on his back in the middle of the history section staring up at the stacks and stacks of volumes all around him. He was hugging himself and making “mmm-mmm-mmm” noises of delight as if he’d just tasted the sweetest treat you could imagine. His crinkled eyes were topped by two giant runaway white caterpillars. Above his lip quivered another hairy snow patch half the size of a dust broom.

I stood directly over him and scowled. He grinned up with a double Cheshire-cat special and held up his hand. I assumed he was reaching out to greet me and he assumed I was trying to help him up. He pulled on me hard and, since I hadn’t braced myself, I tumbled down on top of him.

I rolled off quickly but not before Diane, the head librarian, stepped into the aisle to witness the kalele that erupted from the wild laughter of the crowd and Beruz himself. My cherry tinged complexion didn’t help ease the tension.

Beruz lept to his feet, held out his hand to me and said. “I Beruz. From Iran. Love books. Want job.”

Diane watched me ignore the extended hand and get to my own feet. She then reached out for Beruz and pulled him down the aisle away from the majority of onlookers. I took a coffee break and decided that Beruz was now on the persona non-grata list and someone to tuck away in my worst nightmares column.

Two days later I was half way up a ladder shelving new acquisitions when I felt a hand on my shoe. Beruz was kneeling by the ladder and holding my foot. Firmly.

I tried to pull away but couldn’t. “Safe,” he said. “I help keep you safe.”

Diane appeared again and moved him back to her office. That mustache sure captured the imagination and probably a lot of dinner items as well.

A week later I was back up on the ladder. This time I kept watching to see if my guardian was anywhere close. There weren’t enough books in the Christianity section to fill a shelf and just when I decided I needed a metal bookend Beruz came around the corner.

He seemed to read my mind. “What you need younger lady?”

“Book end. I need a book end.”

He randomly picked a book off the shelf and held the binding end up to me. “Book end. Good book.”

“No!” I said firmly. “Boooook Ennnd.” I formed my hand into a shovel shape and attempted to jam it under the book on the top shelf.”

“Ahhh…” He now opened the book and held up the back page for me to see. “Book End.” His triumphant smile kept me from boiling over.

“No! No! No! Book end!”

“Yes! Yes! Yes! He wins.”

“Who wins?”

“Isa. Jesus. I read book end. He wins.”

I looked at the volume he held in his hand and only then noticed it was a Bible. I hadn’t picked up a Bible since my mother had thrown my Gideon’s New Testament in the trash. I’d never even got to the beginning, never mind the end.

“He wins?”

His smile lit up the room and I descended the ladder. “Yes. I read book end. He wins. I show you.”

And that began my Fridays with Beruz. I taught him English and he taught me about Jesus. He took me to a church and I learned that God loved me and a whole lot of other things. Beruz would sit beside me with his eyebrows twitching up and down and a smile just splitting his face. It was that love of Jesus that captured my heart.

Last week, Beruz surprised me with a birthday gift. 12 blue metal bookends with two words. ‘He wins’.

Yesterday, back to back with a suitcase in between, we read Revelation. We’re the strangest bookends you could ever imagine. But Jesus really does win. He won me.

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This article has been read 788 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca02/06/14
A very clever and imaginitive take on the topic. Great ending too!
Noel Mitaxa 02/06/14
Aah, librarians.... They always work on borrowed time, and they are happy to work by them shelves...
Very clever take on the topic, with good profiles of your MC and of Beruz, and a terrific close.
Linda Goergen02/07/14
Delightful and captivating read beginning to end! I absolutely loved this!
Ellen Carr 02/07/14
What a lovely, creative story for this topic. I really enjoyed it and its warmth and joy.
Lillian Rhoades 02/13/14
Congratulations, Jack! You win, too. :-)
Danielle King 02/13/14
Congrats Jack. A very clever and creative story. A worthy win!
Nancy Bucca02/13/14
Congratulations on a well deserved win!
Linda Goergen02/13/14
Congratulations Jack! I loved this story, so glad you won!
Glynis Becker02/13/14
Just wonderful! Clever and well-written. Congratulations!
Kon Michailidis02/13/14
Well done! I was taken in by the atmosphere of the library immediately. I remember the way libraries used to be, with stories of wooden shelves, mezzanine floors with tables, wooden paneling, dark oak everywhere. I identified with the way Beruz lay there and looked up at it all. I loved your comments about his moustache and eyebrows. A memorable story.
I could not find the meaning of 'malele' anywhere. Did you mean 'melee'?
C D Swanson 02/13/14

God bless~
Bea Edwards 02/17/14
I have been occupied with other business for a few weeks and unfortunately have had to neglect reading the Challenge winning entries.
Whoa what a welcome back entry this was.
Simultaneously smiled and teared up at the sensationally crafted spectacle of Beruz's joyful proclamation of 'He wins!'
Just adored this entire story!!
Leola Ogle 02/20/14
As always, I love your entry. Congratulations, Jack. God bless!
Francy Judge 03/24/14
Congratulations on winning the Quarterly Challenge! I loved your characters. This was a fun read and creative idea for the topic.
Tracy Nunes 03/25/14
This drew me in from the first sentence. Your descriptions were perfect and helped me to visualize it all. Then, I fell in love with your characters. Such a creative and wonderful way to tell a story and The Story.
Congratulations! I think this will be a BoB contender.