No matter how often I went back to Mr. Amazon's shop, I never
could understand its workings. I often hinted to the man behind the
desk that I would like to know, but he ignored me. I even asked him
once in a direct and semi-serious manner: "what do you have down there
behind that desk Amazon? How do you get these books? Is it mole-people,
Amazon? Do you have
hoards hordes of mole-people slaving in darkness down
below, running back and forth in some gigantic basement-warehouse
bringing you the books you need?" He smiled vaguely. "Not at all sir.
No mole-people for us. We keep our books in a Cloud." And that obscure
remark was all I could get from him.
information, and that was Google, the butler. So one evening in June,
as he brought me my glass of sherry and teaspoon of laudanum, I asked
him what he knew about Amazon
expression revealed a hint of disdain. "Can't say I like the fellow
very much – a bit big for his own boots if you ask me – but I do find I
often recommend his book shop when people ask me where to get books. He
has a remarkable collection."
it looks like he has no room to store anything, yet whenever you ask
him about a book he comes up with it. I can't fathom the man."
"One shop? I think not! You don't get out much these days do you
sir? Mr. Amazon has set up shops in every city, town and village I can
think of. And in each one they look the same. A desk, a person, and an
empty room, and yet he produces the books you are looking for when you
ask. Some people say all these stores are connected by a series of
tubes that run from one to another underground, so books can be shipped
from one to another at a moment's notice."
"With mole-people, right! Mole-people with preternaturally strong
forearms pushing trolleys underground from shop to shop! I knew it!"
"Er no, sir. No mole-people that I know of, although you may of course be right… But I do have my own theory."
It's some kind of an illusion. A clever one, but an illusion
nevertheless. It's about as real as that Cloud he talks about. Oh yes,
I've heard that one. Believe me, he has warehouses. Big ones. And
mole-people too, I wouldn't doubt. Almost certainly mole-people."
"Well, we do cross paths from time to time. Let's just say he doesn't stock my guidebook and leave it at that."
I had to admit, once the laudanum calmed me down, that Google's idea
was more probable than my own. But both were just hypotheses, with no
obvious way of testing them. I was drifting off to sleep, with visions
of smoke and mirrors dancing in my head, when I suddenly realized how I
could put his theory to the test…