Kat is sitting alone, nibbling the very last vegan oat cookie. Her face is drawn. I wonder what she thinks of Gerritszoon’s immortal words.
“Sorry,” she says, shaking her head. “It’s not good enough.” Her eyes are dark and downcast. “He was so talented, and he still died.”
“This is enough for you? He left us a note, Clay. He left us a note.” She shouts it, and an oat crumb comes shooting off her lips. Oliver Grone glances over from the ANTHROPOLOGY shelves, eyebrows raised. Kat looks down at her shoes. Quietly, she says, “Don’t call that immortality.”
“But what if this is the best part of him?” I say. I’m composing this theory in real-time: “What if, you know—what if hanging out with Griffo Gerritszoon wasn’t always that great? What if he was weird and dreamy? What if the best part of him was the shapes he could make with metal? That part of him is immortal. It’s as immortal as anything’s going to get.”
She shakes her head, sighs, and leans into me a little, pushing the last bits of the cookie into her mouth. I found the old knowledge, the OK, that we’d been looking for, but she doesn’t like what it has to say. Kat Potente will keep searching.
After a moment, she pulls back, takes a sharp breath, and lifts herself up. “Thanks for inviting me,” she says. “See you around.” She shrugs her blazer, waves goodbye, and heads for the door.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Robin Sloan 2012