The Subway Reader

Monday morning on the subway: A 30-something man with a shaved head, army pants, sneakers, a jeans jacket rolled up at the sleeves to display ample tattoos on his arms enters the car. He has a book under his arm - a thick book. One glance and I see that this is the German boys classic "Der Schatz im Silbersee" (The Treasure of Silver Lake) by Karl May, a German author who wrote long novels about Indians and the American Wild West without ever having been to the States himself. All German men smile when they hear names such as "Old Surehand" or "Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawuhd al Gossarah". The books are a sort of "Harry Potter" series throughout the decades since the first ones appeared in the 1890s.

Which was only proven by the guy getting on the train behind him - he followed the guy to his seat, said "Wow, that is the real old edition, isn't it?" 30-something just nodded. "Great book!" and smiles - but since 30-something is not looking inviting he goes to sit somewhere else ad 30-something returns to his book.

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