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The Counted Monte Cristo
by Christopher G. Meade

One book, 1,237 pages, 464,450 words; The Count of Monte Cristo sat dust laden upon my shelf, a grim monument to the demise of innumerable brain cells which occurred during my many sprees. I picked it up, as I do from time to time, just to feel the weight of the thing and to leaf through the pages; studying my foe. All books are enemies until they are read. Then they become dear friends, acquaintances or jilted lovers. I am surprised that I haven’t even attempted to read it, or indeed burn it. The book’s only saving grace, that I can pin down, is that it’s not a hard-cover volume. If it was, the burden would seem somehow greater and I would have thrown it through a closed window long ago.

“No officer, I only meant to burglarise the house, blame Dumas for the murders.”

“You mean to tell me this ‘Count of Mont Christie’ book was the inspiration for your terrible crimes? I knew we had to worry about video-games, but books! Maybe that Hitler bloke was onto something.”

“Well, it wasn’t exactly the inspiration, it was my idea to throw the book through the window. But if it had been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Power and the Glory or even Crime and Punishment, those three people would still be alive!”

“Then why did you choose this book?”

“This morning I had the fan-tods1 and Alexandre Dumas appeared from within the book and was mocking me for my cowardice. I wrote it, he kept saying, the least you can do is read it!”

“You mean you haven’t even read the murder weapon?”

“No, not exactly, but I’ve seen the movie.”

“Ignorant wretch! Thinking that a film could possibly compare to the masterpiece, that is Robin Buss’s translation of The Count of Monte Cristo.”

“Whoa, who are you supposed to be? Lt. Columbo?”

“No, Robin Buss was my father-in-law and that's how my wife carries on about him. I didn’t want to let on, you know; it might be considered a conflict of interest, and bringing you in for triple-homicide is bound to get me a promotion. All the papers will call you ‘The hard-cover killer,’ and will say that you were arrested by, me, Sergeant Edmond DantÚs!”

“Sergeant Edmond DantÚs?”

“Yes, what of it? Come along, my boy, you’ll have plenty of time to read your book in prison.”

‘On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.2


1 - Literally, hallucinations experienced in delirium tremens
2 - From The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Power and the Glory; novel by Graham Greene
Crime and Punishment; novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Lt. Columbo; popular T.V. detective