He almost turned and left, but he had to find something. Now that they weren't letting anyone bring cell phones or iPods to class, how was he supposed to pass the stupid tests? He wasn't going to bust his skull studying all the time, they had no right to even expect that!
One loser talked about how they used to cheat, back in like the Dark Ages, and how maybe nobody would look for things like that. But writing all that crap in tiny letters, and figuring out ways to hide it, that was almost as much work as studying. No, there had to be a better way.
He'd heard a couple of whispers, people who said this shop had a real Magic section. Normally, he didn't believe in any of that crap. In fact, he still wasn't sure he did, but if there was some way to wiggle your fingers and make all the right answers appear on a test paper or something, he was going to find it.
He might have known he'd have to walk all the way to the back of the stupid store. Amazon was a lot easier, but he'd already tried that, and nothing looked useful. These books looked like more of the same crap. Love potions? He didn't need love potions, he was a babe magnet.
He flipped through a bunch of crap about love and happiness. All he really wanted was something that would give him power, so he could do what he wanted. Magic was supposed to be about power, wasn't it? Wait, what was this fat one?
Jeez, it looked old enough. It was bound in worn, dark leather, and the letters on the back were all dark and hard to read, so he pulled it out and held it up to the light. Greate Grimoire? What the hell did that mean? At least it sounded better than all the love, peace, and flowers crap.
There was a face on the front, sort of drawn on the leather. It looked like it was sneering right at him, but he could swear the thing winked at him when he... Yeah, there it was again! What was this thing? He started flipping through the pages, which were thick and yellowish.
The printing was really crappy, and normally he wouldn't bother even trying to read something like that, but this was really important. Here, it said it was a "pathway to power". That sounded pretty good, even if it was written by some guy with a name you could choke trying to say.
Frank didn't even bother flipping through the pages, he just went right back to the front with the face leering up at him. It was so nasty, it looked really cool. The old guy at the desk in the front coughed, or he would have walked right past him.
"Oh, yeah. Here." He held out the book and dug his wallet out of his jeans.
"Ah! You're interested in this one, then? The Greate Grimoire?"
"Well, yeah. It's the only thing in here that isn't crap, after all."
The man coughed. "Well, we each have our own tastes, I suppose. I've always felt uncomfortable having it lying around here. If I'd felt I could have burned it, that is what I should have done, long ago."
"Are you nuts? It says in here..." Frank stopped before he told the old guy it said it was the path to power. He didn't want the guy deciding to keep it, after all.
"Just look at the cover, young man. That face is probably a tattoo. Many early grimoires were bound in human skin, and I'm guessing you hold an example in your hands right now."
"Yeah? Cool! So how much you want for it?"
"Well, I'm eager to be rid of the thing, so shall we say a dollar? Just to establish you as its owner?"
A dollar? Jeez, he'd figured he was going to have to pay at least a hundred! "Yeah, sure! Thanks!" He peeled a dollar off the roll of bills stuffed in his wallet and handed it over. "You know, you aren't half bad, for an old guy."
"The only thing, at that price, the sale is final. You can't return the book here, no matter what."
Frank nodded. "Sure. Why the hell would I want to return it, anyway?" He hurried out the door. He couldn't wait to see what was in this thing! Sure, it was a little gruesome, but that just made it cool. Why would anybody want to part with a book like this? He'd never liked books before, but this was different.
He stopped when he found an empty bench, and sat down to look through it. Once he started reading, he found he couldn't stop. He flipped the pages, faster and faster as he learned to understand what the book was getting at, and to read the crappy printing.
When he glanced up, he saw Stephanie coming towards him, looking at him oddly. She'd never wanted anything to do with him, but he knew how to change that, now. He quickly read out the words that would make her burn for him, gesturing to her at the end.
She stopped, looking like she'd just seen a ghost, then came over to him. He pretended to be reading, and waited for her to speak.
He glanced up. "Oh, hi, Stephanie."
"Frank, would you like to come over to my place?"
"Frank, I never thought I'd say this, but I want you. I've got to have you. I always thought I'd wait until I was married, but that doesn't matter now. Please!"
After all she'd said to him, he found it amusing to hesitate.
"Please! I'll do anything you want, if I can just have you!"
"Yes, Frank. Anything!"
"Let's go, then!"
She gave him an odd look, but trotted beside him all the way to the little apartment he knew she shared with a couple of other girls. Maybe he could move in with her and get out of the stupid dorm, with all those stupid rules.
When they got in the door, she was all over him. She pulled off his clothes, and when he didn't take hers off fast enough, she pulled those off, too. Then she pulled him down on the couch and let him do whatever he wanted with her. He was pretty exhausted when Tori walked in.
Tori hated him even more than Stephanie, and when she found him naked in her living room she started to tell them both off. Even if she was a blonde and not a redhead like Stephanie, she was still pretty hot, so he worked his magic on her, too. Stephanie was staring at him, but it wasn't like she could do anything about it.
The next thing he knew, Tori was all over him. He had to hold her off so he could find a way to keep himself going. That was right on the page next to the one that told how to make girls want you, which made sense when he thought about it, which wasn't for long. By the time Tori was happy, Stephanie was all over him again.
He didn't even know the name of the third girl they lived with, but she walked in right in the middle of things, so he made her want him, too. Frank laughed when he thought how the old guy sold him the book for a buck. After all, he would have paid a lot more than that just to get together with three girls like this.
And it could happen whenever he wanted, which, thanks to the spell he'd used on himself, was all the time. Finally, he had to send one of the girls out for food. They stayed in the apartment, except when one of the girls had to run for supplies. Frank still thought he was in paradise.
When they ran out of money, he had an idea. He told each of the girls to go get the hottest girl she knew. Pretty soon he had six girls who wanted nothing but him. He made some of them go out and earn money so he could stay right there, enjoying the others.
It took Frank a long time to figure out that, even though he couldn't stop, doing the same things over and over was getting pretty dull. He would have liked to go watch a game, or play some World of Warcraft, anything different, just for variety. But he couldn't.
The spell that kept him going kept him wanting the girls just as much as they wanted him. They weren't keeping themselves up, so they weren't as hot as at first, but he just couldn't stop wanting them. His mind might be sick of the same thing over and over, but his body didn't care. It was like an itch you couldn't stop scratching.
If he'd stopped with Stephanie, it might have been okay. They might finally have worn each other out, and he could have looked through the book to figure out what to do. But every time he tried, one of the girls was awake and climbing all over him. In fact, he realised he hadn't even gotten any sleep for quite a while.
Then, one day, a fire broke out downstairs. Terror at the smoke and flames sent the girls running outside. Frank tried to get up and follow them, but he was just too tired. When the firemen arrived, they assumed the screaming must be Frank, still trapped inside. Of course, they knew nothing of the grimoire.