03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Literary Fortress

"What's that?" I asked.
"A literary fortress," he said, "And a metaphor."
I walked around the battlements. Thick hardback tomes lay beneath stacks of paperbacks rising into walls and turrets.
"The foundations are the Greek myths," he said.
I ventured to pick up a book but he yelled, "Don't touch it!"
I went to the bathroom to check his medicine cabinet. I returned with his pills.
"I hope you're taking these," I said, handing him his prescription anti-loony medicine. He pulled out a catapult and started firing the tablets at me.
"Fire them at the fort," I yelled. "Attack literature, not me!"
When he was out of the room making another cup of tea, I flashed a quick look at the spines of the fort's paperback walls. Every book was a Franz Kafka novel.
After tea, chocolate biscuits, and cigarettes, I asked him how he was feeling.
"High as a kite," he said. "I just got back from Loch Ness. I sold American tourists Nessie Water. I used old soda bottles, attached a label I drew, filled them with Loch Ness water, and got ten pounds from Yanks."
Entrepreneurial, I thought.
"Have you figured out the metaphor?" he said, pointing to the literary fort.
I looked down. I noticed he had an insect trapped underneath a beer glass.
"That's cruelty to animals," I said.
"I feed him beer, he's happy, he's changed. Unlike us."
"Are all the books Kafka." I said.
"There's one title missing," he stated.
I stood back and looked at the castle. Now I got it.
"You're completely insane," I said.
Later, it made sense when I found out there were more loonies in Scotland than anywhere else in the world. I understood. You could build things with books.