from The Green Glass Sea by Ellen
Klages. Copyright © 2006. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved.
Treasure at the Dump
Dewey took a final bite of her apple
and, without taking her eyes off her
book, put the core into the brown paper
sack on the ground next to her. She was
reading a biography, the life of
Faraday, and she was just coming to the
exciting part where he figured out about
electricity and magnetism. She leaned
contentedly against Papa's shoulder and
turned the page.
Today they had chosen to sit against
the west wall of the commissary for
their picnic lunch. It offered a little
bit of shade, they could look out at the
Pond, and it was three minutes from
Papa's office, which meant they could
spend almost the whole hour reading
"Dews?" Papa said a few minutes
later. "Remember the other night when we
were talking about how much math and
music are related?"
"Well, there was a quote I couldn't
quite recall, and I just found it.
Listen." He began to read, very slowly.
" `Music is the hidden arithmetic of the
soul, which does not know that it deals
with numbers. Music is the pleasure the
human mind experiences from counting
without being aware that it is
counting.' That's exactly what I was
"Who said it?" Dewey asked.
"Leibniz. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
He was an interesting guy, a
mathematician and a philosopher and a
musician to boot. You'd like him."
"Can I borrow that book when you're
"I don't think you'd get far," he
laughed. He turned and showed her his
book, bound in very old, brown leather
that was flaking off in places. The page
it was open to was covered in an odd,
heavy black type.
"It's in German," Dewey said,
surprised. That explained why he had
read so slowly. He'd been translating.
"So is Leibniz a Nazi?"
"Hardly. He died more than two
hundred years ago, long before there
were any Nazis." He shook his head.
"Don't make the mistake of throwing out
a whole culture just because some madmen
speak the same language. Remember,
Beethoven was German. And Bach, and--"
The rest of his sentence was
interrupted by the shrill siren from the
Tech Area. He sighed. "Time to go back
to my own numbers." He closed his book,
then leaned over and kissed Dewey on the
top of her head. "What're you up to this
afternoon?" He stood up, brushed the
crumbs from his sandwich off his lap
into the dirt, then brushed the dirt
itself off the back of his pants.
Dewey squinted up at him. "I think
I'll sit here and read for a while. A
couple more chapters anyway. Then I'm
going to the dump. Some of the labs are
moving into the Gamma Building, now that
it's done, and people always throw out
good stuff when they move."
He smiled. "Looking for anything in
"I don't know yet. I need some bigger
gears and some knobs and dials. And some
ball bearings," she added after a short
pause. "I'll show you at dinner if I
find anything really special."
"Deal. We're just analyzing data this
afternoon, so I may actually get out at
5:30. If you get home before me, put the
casserole in the oven and we can eat
around seven." He tucked his book under
"Okay." Dewey watched him walk around
the corner of the building, then turned
back to her book.