He was reading fast. His eye movements were falling under the “natural” category. His brain activity was falling under the “right” category. He was doing good.
The application that he downloaded some time ago knew what was happening in his body and his brain while he was reading. He allowed the app to collect this information. He got a notification from the app after he was done with reading:
“Congratulations! You read 324 pages in forty-four minutes. You understood 81 percent of what you read. There is only one person in the app that matches your reading taste and reading speed. Ms. Luciana Gomez Altra is your book buddy and both side’s information is shared with each other. Please read our terms and conditions…”
He called Ms. Luciana:
“Hello, I called to stop you. I am your book buddy, Leo. Didn’t you read enough?”
“I don’t have time for this. Sorry.”
“Hey, we are book buddies. How can you read so fast? What are you reading?”
“Look, boy. I really don’t have time for this right now. I don’t want to be rude.”
“Ok. One thing before you hang up. Just tell me what you read.”
“I am reading a case file.”
“And I am reading Devil Is A Smile by Goethe. The English version.”
“Goethe didn’t write a book like that.”
“Yes, he did. It’s the only copy in the world. And I am reading the only translation that exists.”
“Don’t give me that crap!”
“I can send you the photo of one page and you can check the writer of the book from the app. You know, from the writing style, the algorithm tells you the author of the books.”
“Sure. Send me the page.”
“Yeah. I will send you one page if you send me the case file you were reading. I just want to really understand your speed.”
“Agreed. Send me that page right now. I will send you the file. But I have to go now.”
“Can we read Goethe’s Faust at the same day and hour? Let’s see who will read faster and understand better. The app will share that info with both of us.”
“I read it already.”
“I did too but it’s a heavy book. It’s the right one to run an experiment. Come on book buddy! Let’s do it!”
“Ok, but next week. Saturday. Start at 9:00 PM. Let’s see who is better?”
“Have a great one.”
After the phone call, Leo sent the photo of the one page of “Devil Is A Smile”. He also received the case file from Ms. Luciana. She was the lawyer of the case. The case was about Bitcoin. A lot of Bitcoins. 5000 Bitcoins!
The 5000 Bitcoin Case
The case was filed by The Lost Man (this was his media name) who bought 5000 Bitcoins in February 2011 for $5000. And it was just a paper wallet. He lost the paper somehow in 2011 and forgot about it until he saw “The Lucky Man” on TV in 2019.
The Lucky Man found the 5000 Bitcoin Paper Wallet on a public toilet. The paper was almost dead. Almost! The private key somehow survived and the man who found it became The Lucky Man. TVs, radios, social media, printed media was all about him. “The man who made a fortune out of shit”.
He was the man. The Lucky Man.
When The Lost Man saw the news, he immediately understood that 5000 Bitcoin was his because he magically signed the paper after he printed it in 2011. This was his strongest evidence -which also survived- and he wanted his 5000 Bitcoins back.
The 5000 Bitcoin Paper Wallet had an even more interesting story. The paper traveled the world for eight years and finally came back to the city where it was born. It got ice creamed in Florence. It got bitten by a baby in Busan. It got loved in Saint Petersburg…
How did the media find out these details? After the first trial, the paper was sent to a detailed laboratory check. And owners of the traces were quickly found by AI. The only person who worked on the lab shared the details with a British tabloid newspaper for 1 million pounds. She got arrested. She will spend her money after nine years of prison.
Nobody knows how the paper traveled so many countries but the actors of the story are famous now. The baby who bit the paper has more than 2 million Instagram followers today. The account’s name is “5000 Bitcoin Bites”.
In a Saint Petersburg bar, the paper was used in a love at first sight situation. The girl wrote her telephone number and the boy kept the paper until he did not need it anymore. This couple is rich, famous and married now. After the media Tsunami, they started a Bitcoin donation website to pay for the wedding expenses and people around the world sent them around 200 Bitcoins.
In Florence, the paper kissed a very special ice cream that is only produced by a local shop. The shop can not handle daily visitors today. Global franchise offers are raining like cats and dogs and the owner of the shop is so frustrated by this divine comedy.
The paper’s way back home story is also not known. But the public toilet where the paper was found is invaded by YouTubers today. The toilet was closed three times because of queue fights.
You Are a Big Gambler
Leo didn’t wait for a week to call Ms. Luciana.
“Hello, Ms. Luciana. It’s me again. I couldn’t wait to call you. Can we do the reading today?”
“No Leo. I won’t be able to read Faust again.”
“Because of the case. Did you read it?”
“Yes. What happened?”
“It was decided that the person who holds the paper is the owner.”
“And you hold the paper now?”
“But this is against the law. You are a lawyer!”
“It’s against our law.”
“Holy Scheisse. You are really really flying away.”
“Yes. I also checked the one page of “Devil Is A Smile”. It is really Goethe’s. How come you have this book?”
“It’s my secret.”
“Will you give me your secret and your book if I give you some Bitcoins? I also need a boyfriend just for one day. I need to arrive at my destination safely. You will never see me again after I arrive at my hotel.”
“Why do you need this?”
“I am scared. I obviously never did something like this before. Are you with me?”
“Why? I will give you 50 Bitcoins.”
“Do you think that I will risk my life for 50 Bitcoins?”
“There is no risk. 100 Bitcoins. What do you say?”
“So you will get 4900 Bitcoins, you will get the only copy of a Goethe book, you will learn it’s secret, you will risk my life and I will get 100 Bitcoins. Is this your offer?”
“What is your offer, Leo?”
“In another life!”
“Did you earn the money? Can you spend 5000 Bitcoins or 2500 Bitcoins? It is the same amount of money. It’s so huge that you can swim in it. And I believe that it’s fair to share it fifty-fifty under these circumstances.”
“I will only give you 2500 Bitcoins if you take me to my destination point safely and give me Goethe’s book and the secret. There is no other way.”
“Ok, but how will I be sure that you will give me 2500 Bitcoins?”
“I need a downpayment here. There is no other way.”
“I will send you 250 Bitcoins right now. Take it or leave it.”
“Ok. I take it!”
“We are flying to Tallinn tomorrow. Get ready!”
“One more thing.”
“Why do you trust me?”
“Because we are book buddies. A person who is reading like me can’t be bad.”
“You are reading like me but you are flying away with another person’s dreams.”
“And you are flying with me.”
“I am not the lawyer of the case.”
“This why I also trust you. You are putting yourself in a difficult position. I can get angry at you and break the deal right now. But you insist on questioning. This is a typical behavior of bookworms. This is a personality that I can trust. And I have no one to trust right now. Let’s say you came from the right algorithm boy!”
“You are a big gambler.”
“See you tomorrow.”
The Secret of Goethe
Leo didn’t go to the airport. The biggest problems in his life were solved by 250 Bitcoins. He enjoyed his days spending time with his family and his friends.
Ms. Luciana was arrested at the airport while she was heading to her Tallinn flight. Leo became a hero by calling the police.
Leo received an envelope from the prison one month after the never taken flight. It was a note from Ms. Luciana:
“Fuck Bitcoins. You owe me a secret.”
Leo went to the prison to talk with Ms. Luciana. It was the first time he had been into a prison and he was a bit shaken. But he handled it. There she was, in front of him:
“I guess you wanted to talk to me, Ms. Luciana.”
“Yes, Leo. You owe me the secret of Goethe.”
“I don’t owe you anything. But I will tell you. There is no secret. Goethe did not write a book called Devil Is A Smile.”
“I checked your sample page in the AI algorithm. The text belongs to Goethe.”
“Yes. The text belongs to Goethe. But to the AI Goethe. Now you can order new books from any writer in history. AI becomes the new Goethe in minutes. Even Goethe wouldn’t believe it but it is exactly his pencil. I bought the book for 4000 dollars. Actually, I borrowed the money from two friends. I was totally broke.”
“Now you are totally the opposite of broke. But you were going to be rich rich if you didn’t break me. You preferred 250 Bitcoins to 2500 Bitcoins. Why the hell did you do that? Who are you?”
“I am the son of The Lost Man…”
“I am not sorry as you can guess Ms. Luciana.”
“I wouldn’t also be sorry if I were in your shoes. What was all that book buddy show? I was using that app for a long time and I always met with brilliant people from the app. How come you jumped to my life from the app?”
“It was my one and only chance. Your social media profile is all about the app. You are the fast reading champion of the last year. I worked hard to cheat the algorithm. In a similar speed, I read a lot of books that you liked before, trying to understand what I read. You know, the algorithm knows if you don’t understand what you read. I also narrowed down the geo-location and let it work around your office since I couldn’t find your home address. It worked. We were matched!”
“Congratulations! How did you understand that I will fly away with the money? I remember now that you and your father came to my office after I accepted the case.”
“Yes, my father asked you to give the paper to him. He was in a very bad position financially. This paper was his last chance. And the paper really belonged to him. Yes, you were the lawyer. You couldn’t give the paper to my father. But you said one thing that I can’t forget. You said the paper belongs to no one. And you repeated it loudly, the paper belongs to no one. The translation was the paper belongs to me. I saw it in your eyes. And you were holding the Bitcoin folder like a Koala hugging a tree. I had to do something.”
“Was it worth it boy! The Lucky Man got all the money.”
“No, he didn’t. After you got arrested, an Ombudsman was appointed to the case and he offered both sides to share the money equally. Both sides agreed and the case is closed.”
“And you knew this would happen.”
“Yes, let’s say that I did my homework.”
“One last thing before you go to your fucking amazing life, Leo. How did you know that I was going to trust you?”
“I didn’t know anything. I was not sure. I gave AI all the information about you that I found on the internet. I asked who does this person trust most? The answer was book worms that have the same book taste. So the app became a lifesaver. And the AI Goethe helped me to confuse you even more.”
“Fucking robots. They were my mother’s blender when I was a kid. And now they play God. I will burn some processors when I get out of this hole.”
“Watch your words, Ms. Luciana. They hear you. They are everywhere.”