Found on a scrap of paper…

Thursday afternoon Louis went out with his friend Will to drink beer and ‘watch the game.’ This took until Saturday morning. Louis spent the rest of Saturday and then Sunday glued to the couch, spinning through the channels, landing on each for either three seconds or 15 minutes. One of the longer pauses was a program about counterfeit books from the middle ages. The techniques were simple and mostly relied on people simply not looking too closely. All of which made Louis think he should get in on this.

It took him about a month. Most of that month was spent refining than he expected but in the end he had a set of impressive books, to him at least, that he was sure he could move. The selling he left up to his girlfriend, Anna. She was a better talker and besides, why should he put his neck on the line?
To keep her from immediately saying she wouldn’t do it and also to see how good they really were, he told her he got the books from his uncle’s attic. His uncle was a weirdo, an academic, and had been rich once. It was plausible he’d have books like this.

Anna went to college, a good one. Suggesting that she was smarter than average. But she studied art which suggests maybe she wasn’t. She was also with Louis which was the biggest strike against her. But she’s still young, and he’s mostly just a mistake, even if she doesn’t know it just yet.
She had an idea of how to sell the books and she still believed in Louis, even if she shouldn’t have.

Despite her plan and though she expected it, the day was full of surprises. The first bookshop had no idea what to do with them and suggested she sell them online. The next dealer asked her some pointed questions which made her realize something was probably up and she should not answer any direct questions she did not actually know the answers to. To the inevitable suggestion that the books were not authentic she answered, somewhat lamely, “I didn’t know, they were my grandfather’s.” “Well, then your grandfather got cheated.” “Dammit.” It took her three more days, and at the end she was able to sell four.

One bookseller in particular gave her an especially thorough explanation of why the books she was trying to sell were a fraud. As he talked she realized that these books had never belonged to Louis’ uncle. Louis had put her up to this and probably without a second thought. And then she realized, everything else she had ever suspected about him was probably true too. She kicked Louis out of her life as soon as she stepped out of the shop.

She made good money, for all the shock the revelation came with. A little more than a thousand dollars. Louis was unimpressed. Nor with her moving out. Later she heard he had moved on to counterfeit handbags and watches made in Burma or somewhere.

Anna, though, when she realized how easy it was decided maybe she could do something on her own. But she wouldn’t pretend they were old. She could do something even more interesting.