Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Excerpt from "Crunched, " The Fictionalized Autobiography of David Novak

The runes were maddeningly complex. Then again, they always are.

But this time it was different. Academic pride, perhaps an artifact or two, weren't on the line. Emmanuelle's life was.

I studied the Norse scripture, comparing it to the weathered carvings before me. In spite of the tension, I couldn't help repeating the same question over-and-over again in my head: What were ancient Scandanavian symbols doing on the wall of an Aztec temple? According to history, Europeans hadn't discovered the Americas until Columbus in 1492. Even if rumors of Leif Ericson visiting in 1010 were true, that was at least hundreds of years after these carvings were made. History, it seems, was wrong.

I noticed a quickening of Emmanuelle's breath and looked to see the bite marks on her boob turning a deeper purple. If the world's only tri-toothed river viper--long thought extinct--was in these ruins, then the antidote would be here too. Hidden within the runes.

Inspiration sometimes surprises even me, and so it was when I made the critical connection. Aztecs were the greatest mathematicians of the ancient world, calculating the precise orbit of the sun as accurately as space-age satellites. The Norse were the greatest sailors. And what do sailors need to sail? Math. How could I have been so stupid! The key to this age-old mystery, staring me right in the face. I squirted a Fire sauce into my mouth as a reward, letting the spicy taste overwhelm my parched mouth.

"Good luck," Emmanuelle gasped, waking just long enough to offer some hope while desperately wanting some herself.

David Novak makes his own luck, I thought. What I need now is time.

to be continued...

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