Chris had been studying A.-J. Roubo’s writings for years, but lately there was something strange about the three volumes. He couldn’t put his finger on it; sometimes he thought he heard voices near the books. It was creepy and unsettling and he had avoided the books for several days. His fascination overrode any unease he felt and soon he was back on the couch poring over all those cool plates of tools and furniture. The tiny voices he heard had to be his imagination.
“Cool,” he exclaimed as got to the series of plates showing 18th-century coaches. “These are so cool!” He heard a murmur coming from the book. “No, it’s just my imagination.” As he turned a few more pages and said a few more “cools,” the murmuring grew louder. It seemed to be coming from the plates showing chairs. Chris leaned close to the book and was astonished to hear a heated conversation.
“How many times can a human say ‘cool’ in the space of one hour?”
“He could try ‘remarkable,’ ‘wonderful’ or ‘extraordinary.’ We only get ‘cool!’”
“He is the ass of a Jacques!”
“I think it is said that he is Jacques’ ass.”
Chris flipped quickly to the plates featuring chairs. “What? These plates shouldn’t be side-by-side!”
He was met with pages of complaints about his overuse of “cool.”
“But you are cool, so very cool. I can’t help myself,” he tried to explain. The chairs, and some of the other furniture, were not listening.
“We can’t take it anymore!” they shouted back. “We want out!”
“You want out?” Chris roared back. “I have been protecting you – admiring you – and you want out AND you call me an ass of a Jacques?! I’ll give you out!”
And with that he held the book upside down and shook it. There was a cacophony of shrieks as the tiny furniture fell from the book.
Coming to his senses, Chris stopped shaking the book and exclaimed, “What have I done? Have I ruined them? I’ll put them back and everything will be all right.” He put the book down and looking at the floor saw none of the tiny chairs or tables. “Where are they? They were there. They yelled at me and called me the ass of a Jacques. It was real, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it?” He stood stunned not able to comprehend what had happened. Chris ran from the room.
“That was fun. We haven’t been out of the book in decades!”
“He has the head like a block.”
A while later and back in the book….
— Suzanne Ellison
Editor’s note: You can order “The Book of Plates” in our store now.