Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Is Twenty-Five 25

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


It’s been a while since I did a number factoid.

My only excuse is the time it takes to compile these, which I haven’t managed to find for a few months, so if you missed them my apologies.

However, there is one today, so if you like this sort of thing I hope you enjoy.



The Number 25



In religion

  • In the Bible the number twenty-five is of cardinal importance in Ezekiel’s Temple Vision (Ezekiel 40-48).
  • Twenty-five is also seen near God’s throne in heaven. God’s throne, plus the thrones of the twenty-four elders, makes for 25 total. (Revelation 4:1-4)
  • Twenty-five pictures ‘grace upon grace.’ Redemption (20) plus grace (5) also equals 25. (John 1:14, 16-17)
  • Levites were to begin serving at age 25 in assisting with sacrifices — which were a physical type of forgiveness and redemption for the people.
  • Jehoshaphat, considered one of the best kings to rule the Kingdom of Judah, reigned for 25 years (872 – 848 B.C.).


  • In Islam, there are twenty-five prophets mentioned in the Quran.



In mathematics

  • 25 is a square number, being 5² = 5 × 5.
  • 25 is the smallest square that is also a sum of two squares: 25 = 3² + 4². Hence it often appears in demonstrations of the Pythagorean theorem.


  • 25 percent is equal to 1/4.
  • Within base 10 one can readily test for divisibility by 25 by seeing if the last two digits of the number match 25, 50, 75 or 00.
  • In base 30, 25 is a 1-automorphic number (displayed as the numeral ‘P’ or ‘R’ dependant on the chosen digit set), and in base 10 a 2-automorphic number.



In science and technology

  • Atomic Number of Manganese (Mn) = 25  (25 protons & 25 electrons)
  • It is part of the name of LSD-25 molecule
  • 25 is the usual TCP port for SMTP.
  • 25 is the per-second frame rate of the PAL video standard
  • And probably most significant of all, the internet or world wide web turned 25 this year!

world wide web is 25 this year



In space

  • Open Cluster M25 (also known as Messier Object 25 or IC 4725) is an open cluster in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 and included in Charles Messier’s list in 1764.
  • NGC 25 is a lenticular galaxy situated in the Phoenix constellation
  • The Sun rotates once in 25 days near the poles and about 30 days near its equator.
  • 25 is the number of days approximately that takes the sun to do a complete rotation on itself.




In politics

  • William McKinley (January 29, 1843 – September 14, 1901) was the 25th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1897, until his assassination in September 1901, six months into his second term. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish–American War, raised protective tariffs to promote American industry, and maintained the nation on the gold standard in a rejection of inflationary proposals. He was also the last President to have served during the Civil War.

25th US President Wm McKinley jnr

  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment (Amendment XXV) to the United States Constitution deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. It supersedes the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice President becomes the President, as opposed to an Acting President, if the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the presidency. The Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted on February 23, 1967.
  • 25 is the minimum age of candidates for election to the United States House of Representatives.
  • 25 is the (critical) number of Florida electoral votes for the 2000 U.S. presidential election
  • 25 is the number of the French department Doubs



In books, music, movies and TV

  • “25” is a song by Veruca Salt from their 1994 album American Thighs.
  • “25th Floor” is a song by Patti Smith Group from their 1978 album Easter.
  • Twenty Five is the name of a 2006 George Michael compilation celebrating 25 years in the music business (1981–2006).
  • “In the Year 2525 (Exordium et Terminus)” is a 1969 hit song by the American pop-rock duo of Zager and Evans. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The 25th Hour is a MGM film (1967) with screen-play by Henri Verneuil based on C. Virgil Gheorghiu’s novel.
  • Not forgetting our old friend, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”



In sport

  • Twenty-five is the value of the outer bullseye on a dart board.
  • Twenty-five is the size of the full roster on a Major League Baseball team for most of the season, except for regular-season games on or after September 1, when teams may expand their roster to no more than 40 players.
  • In baseball, the number 25 is typically reserved for the best slugger on the team. Examples include Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, and Mark Teixeira.


  • The number of points needed to win a set in volleyball under rally scoring rules (except for the fifth set), so long as the losing team’s score is two less than the winning team’s score (i.e., if the winning team scores 25 points, the losing team can have no more than 23 points).
  • In U.S. college football, schools that are members of NCAA Division I FBS are allowed to provide athletic scholarships to a maximum of 25 new football players (i.e., players who were not previously receiving scholarships) each season.
  • In the NBA the number 25 jersey has been retired by the Boston Celtics for K. C. Jones; by the Cleveland Cavaliers for Mark Price; by the Los Angeles Lakers for Gail Goodrich; and by the Washington Wizards for Gus Johnson (the team was then known as the Baltimore Bullets).
  • In the NHL the number 25 jersey has been retired by the  Winnipeg Jets for Thomas Steen.




In automotive and transportation

  • In the United States 25 is the designation of United States Interstate 25, a freeway that runs from New Mexico to Wyoming.
  • In Britain M25 is the designation of the London Orbital motorway.


  • And in Russia Municipal Okrug 25, until March, 2010, was the name of Knyazhevo Municipal Okrug in Kirovsky District of Saint Petersburg.


  • The Carlsson C25 Supercar
  • Carlsson’s first supercar, the C25, made its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. With a limited run of 25 units, the C25 is powered by a twin-turbocharged V12 engine that generates 753 hp (562 kW) and 848 ft·lbf (1,150 N·m) of torque. Estimated acceleration from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and top speed is 219 mph. (355 km/h).



  • Donkervoort Prototype J25
  • Under the code name J25, Donkervoort developed – right before its 25 year jubilee – a completely new car. This model went a step further in its styling than its predecessors the S8 and D8. The, for that period, very modern lines and a number of details, such the little doors and nose used, were derived from the D20. The J25 was also the first Donkervoort to be produced with 270 bhp.

Donkervoort J25


  • Infiniti G25
  • Infiniti debuted the G25 sedan at the 2010 Paris Auto Show. The G25 is powered by a 2.5 L V6 VQ25HR producing 218 hp (163 kW) and 187 lb·ft (254 N·m) of torque. The G25’s JDM relative, the Nissan Skyline 250 GT Sedan which features the same engine, had been on sale for several years already.



  • BMW R25
  • The 1951 the 250cc R25 single was BMW’s first postwar single-cylinder motorcycle with a rear suspension.



  • Yamaha R25
  • The Yamaha R25 is the first motorcycle by Yamaha in the 250cc segment. It is a 2-cylinder, liquid cooled motorcycle, using an advanced fuel injection system. It also has a tubular chassis with telescopic front suspension.



  • C25 Standard RV
  • The C25 is a traditional motorhome with the self-contained features you expect, including most with a power generator in the USA.



  • David Brown DB25 Tractor
  • David Brown developed the 25hp and 30hp engine, and so the DB25 and DB30 tractors came into existence, lasting from 1953-58. The petrol/TVO models were known as the David Brown 25C and 30C, while they called the diesel versions 25D and 30D. They are still collected and restored by enthusiasts today.

David Brown D25 tractor



J25 Steam Engine

The NER Class P1 (LNER Class J25) was a class of 0-6-0 steam locomotives of the North Eastern Railway in Great Britain. Class P1 was a development of Class P, having a boiler four inches longer, and a firebox six inches longer. To accommodate these, the wheelbase was increased by nine inches. The cylinder stroke was also increased by two inches.

W Worsdell J25 steam engine



In militaria

  • B-25 Mitchell
  • Named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation, the B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation that saw service over four decades. By the end of its production, nearly 10,000 B-25s in numerous models had been built.
  • It was used by many Allied air forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after the war ended, including The Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Dutch Air Force, Soviet Air Force, China Air Force, Brazilian Air Force,  and by the Free French.


  • However, the incident for which the B-25 is perhaps best known is one that happened in America. At 9:40 on Saturday, 28 July 1945, a USAAF B-25D crashed in thick fog into the north side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and 80th floors.
  • Fourteen people died – eleven in the building and the three occupants of the aircraft including the pilot, Colonel William Smith.
  • Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator attendant, survived the impact and a subsequent uncontrolled descent in the elevator.
  • Partly as a result of this incident, Towers 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center were designed to withstand an aircraft impact. However, this design was based on an impact by a Boeing 707 aircraft in common use in the late 1960s and early 1970s, not the larger Boeing 767, two of which, (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175), struck the towers on September 11, 2001, resulting in their eventual collapse.

B25 empire-state


  • Boeing VC-25
  • The Boeing VC-25 is the United States Air Force designation for a military version of the Boeing 747 airliner. The A-model (VC-25A) is the only variant of the VC-25.
  • The VC-25 is most famous for its role as Air Force One, the call sign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. The two aircraft currently in U.S. service are highly modified versions of Boeing’s 747-200B, with tail numbers 28000 and 29000.
  • Although the Air Force One designation technically applies to the aircraft only while the President is aboard, the term is commonly applied to the VC-25s more generally.
  • They often operate in conjunction with Marine One helicopters that ferry the President to airports in circumstances where a vehicle motorcade would be inappropriate.

Boeing VC-25 Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore


  • MIG-25
  • The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 is a supersonic interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft that was among the fastest military aircraft to enter service.
  • It was designed by the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau. The first prototype flew in 1964, and the aircraft entered into service in 1970.
  • It has a top speed of Mach 2.83 (as high as Mach 3.2, but at risk of significant damage to the engines), and features a powerful radar and four air-to-air missiles.
  • When first seen in reconnaissance photography, the large wing planform suggested an enormous and highly maneuverable fighter. This was during a period of time when U.S. design theories were also evolving towards higher maneuverability due to combat performance in the Vietnam War.
  • The capabilities of the MiG-25 were better understood in 1976 when Soviet pilot Viktor Belenko defected in a MiG-25 to the United States via Japan. It turned out that the weight of the aircraft necessitated large wings.
  • Production of the MiG-25 series ended in 1984 after completion of 1,190 aircraft. A symbol of the Cold War, the MiG-25 flew with Soviet allies and former Soviet republics, remaining in limited service in Russia and several other nations.
  • It is the second fastest and second highest-flying military aircraft ever fielded after the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft.



  • USS Terry (DD-25)
  • Launched on 21 August 1909 and commissioned on 18 October 1910, the USS Terry (DD-25) was a modified Paulding-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War I, and later in the United States Coast Guard, designated CG-19. She was the first ship named for Edward Terry.
  • During WWI USS Terry patrolled along the Atlantic coast escorting merchantmen bound for Europe. In January 1918, Terry put to sea for operations with the destroyer force based at Queenstown, Ireland where she escorted convoys through the submarine-infested waters surrounding the British Isles.
  • In December 1918, Terry returned to the United States, and after 11 months of extremely limited service, she was decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard on 13 November 1919.
  • She remained there until she was transferred to the Coast Guard on 7 June 1924. Based in New York, she served as part of the Rum Patrol, until 18 October 1930, when she was returned to the Navy and restored on the Navy list in a decommissioned status, listed as a “vessel to be disposed of by sale or salvage.” On 2 May 1934, Terry was sold for scrapping. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 28 June 1934.



  • USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25)
  • Launched on 23 January 1929 and commissioned on 11 December 1929, the USS Salt Lake City (CL/CA-25) was a Pensacola-class heavy cruiser sometimes known as “Swayback Maru” or “Old Swayback”. She had the (unofficial) distinction of having taken part in more engagements than any other ship in the fleet. She was also the first ship to be named after Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • From August–October 1942, Salt Lake City was in the south Pacific to support the campaign to seize and hold Guadalcanal. She escorted Wasp during the landings of 7–8 August and subsequent operations.
  • Surviving two atomic bomb blasts, she was decommissioned on 29 August and laid up to await ultimate disposal. She was sunk as a target hull on 25 May 1948, 130 mi (110 nmi; 210 km) off the coast of southern California
  • Salt Lake City received 11 battle stars for her World War II service, and a Navy Unit Commendation for her actions during the Aleutian Campaign.



  • USS Potomac (AG-25)
  • The USS Potomac (AG-25), formerly USCGC Electra, was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential yacht from 1936 until his death in 1945.
  • On 3 August 1941, she played a decoy role while Roosevelt held a secret conference to develop the Atlantic Charter.
  • She is now preserved in Oakland, California, as a National Historic Landmark.

USS Potomac AG-25


  • USS Copeland (FFG-25)
  • The USS Copeland (FFG-25), the first ship of that name in the US Navy, was the seventeenth ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class of guided-missile frigates. She was named for Rear Admiral Robert W. Copeland (1910–1973).
  • Copeland was launched on 26 July 1980, and commissioned on 7 August 1982.
  • Decommissioned and stricken on 18 September 1996, she was transferred to Egypt the same day as Mubarak (F911). After the 2011 revolution the ship was renamed to remove the former ruler’s name. The ship is currenty named Alexandria (F911) and remains in active service with the Egyptian Navy.

USS Copeland FFG-25


  • USS Bainbridge
  • The nuclear powered USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25/CGN-25) was initially classed as a guided missile destroyer leader in the United States Navy, and later re-designated as a guided missile cruiser in 1975.
  • In 1966–67, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972–73, USS Bainbridge was involved Vietnam War combat operations, as well as voyages to Australia, the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
  • In 1982 she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award.
  • After receiving her final nuclear refueling overhaul in 1983–85, Bainbridge operations included counter-drug smuggling patrols in the Caribbean, several deployments to northern European waters and four Mediterranean cruises including combat operations off Libya.
  • During 1994 she was deployed to support UN resolutions that became part of Operation Sharp Guard, enforcing sanctions against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia.
  • Finally deactivated in October 1995, Bainbridge was decommissioned in September 1996 and towed to Bremerton, Washington in mid-1997 where she was put in dry dock to begin “recycling,” the process by which nuclear-powered warships are scrapped.

USS Bainbridge


  • USS Somerset (LPD-25)
  • The USS Somerset (LPD-25), a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, is the fifth ship of the United States Navy of that name; in this case in honor of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
  • The name honors the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 whose actions prevented terrorist hijackers from reaching their intended target, forcing the airplane to crash in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, PA, on September 11, 2001. In the words of Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, “The courage and heroism of the people aboard the flight will never be forgotten and USS Somerset will leave a legacy that will never be forgotten by those wishing to do harm to this country.”
  • Some 22 tons of steel from a crane that stood near Flight 93’s crash site have been used to construct Somerset’s stemhold.
  • She was launched on 14 April 2012, and was christened three months later, on 28 July.

USS Somerset LPD-25


  • HMS Medway
  • HMS Medway was the first purpose-built submarine depot ship constructed for the Royal Navy. She was built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness during the late 1920s. The ship served on the China Station before the Second World War and was transferred to Egypt in early 1940.
  • Ordered to evacuate Alexandria in the face of the German advance after the Battle of Gazala in May 1942, Medway sailed for Lebanon at the end of June, escorted by a light cruiser and seven destroyers.
  • Despite her strong escort, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 30 June.



  • HMS Warwick (D-25)
  • HMS Warwick (D-25) was an Admiralty ‘W’ class destroyer built in 1917.
  • She saw service in both the First and Second World Wars, before being torpedoed and sunk in February 1944.



  • T-25 Tank
  • The T25 Medium Tank was a prototype tank that was produced by the United States during World War II.
  • It had an armament consisting of a 90 mm anti-tank gun, two .30 MGs, one mounted coaxially and one in the bow, and a .50 Browning M2 mount on top of the turret. The vehicle had a crew of five, a weight of 35,100 kg, used the same 474 hp, GAN V8 engine as the earlier T23, and had a top speed of 48 km/h.
  • The T25 was developed with a variant which itself was virtually the same, the only difference was that the T25 was built with horizontal volute spring suspension, and the variant T25E1 had the torsion bar suspension later adopted for use in the M26. Only 40 T25 and T25E1 prototypes were built.



  • M25 “Three Shot Bazooka”
  • Bazooka is the common name for a man-portable recoilless antitank rocket launcher weapon, widely fielded by the United States Army. Also referred to as the “Stovepipe”, the innovative bazooka was among the first-generation of rocket propelled anti-tank weapons used in infantry combat.
  • Featuring a solid rocket motor for propulsion, it allowed for high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads to be delivered against armored vehicles, machine gun nests, and fortified bunkers at ranges beyond that of a standard thrown grenade or mine. The Bazooka also fired a HESH round, effective against buildings and tank armour.
  • The universally-applied nickname arose from the M1 variant’s vague resemblance to the musical instrument called a “bazooka” invented and popularized by 1930s U.S. comedian Bob Burns.
  • The M25 “Three Shot Bazooka” was an experimental tripod mounted rocket launcher with overhead magazine circa 1955.



  • Remington R-25
  • The Remington R-25 is a hi-tech hunting rifle that uses the direct-impingement gas system, where gas is ported down a tube into the action and the bolt carrier is cycled via the gas blowing the carrier off the tube.
  • The upper and lower receivers are made from aluminum forgings, and the handguard is turned aluminum, all impervious to the weather; climate changes will have no effect on accuracy or bedding.
  • Additionally, the R-25 has a Mossy Oak Treestand coating, so if you aren’t careful in the woods, you may spend some time hunting for the rifle you set down while doing something else.
  • The magazine holds four rounds, a prudent choice since the purpose of the R-25 is hunting.

Remington r-25- rifle


  • Glock 25
  • The Glock 25 in low-recoil .380 AUTO was introduced in 1995 in Germany. This small-dimension firearm was developed for markets where civilian personnel are not allowed to possess handguns featuring military calibers.
  • In the USA, the G25 .380 AUTO is reserved for law enforcement agencies only.



  • Zastava P25
  • The Zastava P25, manufactured by Zastava Arms of Serbia and nicknamed the Dark Lady, is a blowback-operated, single-action, semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered in .25 ACP.
  • The pistol frame is made of aluminum alloy and the barrel is made of alloy steel, while the handgrips are usually made of walnut or polymer materials.
  • The P25 is aimed extensively at the civilian market as a self-defense weapon due to its concealability, but is somewhat less favorable compared to the M57, M88 and CZ 99 pistols due to its small caliber.



  • A&K SR-25
  • The A&K SR-25 Full Metal AEG is very accurate and a good  range for this type of weapon It is semi and full auto capable and has a 300rd High Capacity magazine and fast rate of fire
  • This airsoft sniper rifle is built like a tank, with a full metal upper and lower receiver and a full metal rail system. The A&K SR-25 performs better than almost all other SR-25 AEGs on the market, and includes more accessories than any other SR-25 AEG.

AK-SR25-Sniper Rifle


  • K-25
  • K-25 is a former uranium enrichment facility of the Manhattan Project which used the gaseous diffusion method. The plant is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the southwestern end of the Oak Ridge Reservation.

K-25 former uranium enrichment facility Oak Ridge, Tennessee



In other stuff

  • Illinois is the 25th largest state in America.
  • Nashville, Tennessee is the 25th largest city in the United States by size of population.
  • South Africa is the 25th largest Country in the world by area.
  • France is the 25th richest country in the world, based on Gross Domestic Product (PPP) Per Capita 2009-2013.
  • There are 25 cents in a quarter.

quarter dollar

  • A ‘Pony’ is British slang for £25.
  • Christmas Day is December 25
  • 25 is the number of years of marriage marked in a silver wedding anniversary.
  • 25 is the name of the national card game of Ireland related to the classic Spanish game of ombre. It was played under the name maw by the British King James I and was later called spoil five from one of its principal objectives. From it derives the Canadian game of forty-fives.
  • Pachisi, which is Hindi for 25, is the name of the national board game of India.


  • “twentyfive”, is a design studio in the Czech Republic
  • 25 is the total number of playable characters in Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Melee.
  • “25 boy” (read as “two-five boy”), in Cantonese Chinese, is a slang term meaning “traitor” as used in the Chinese movie Over the Edge.
  • 25 random things about me, an Internet meme utilizing Facebook’s Notes feature
  • 25 is the usual minimum age for car rental in most countries.
  • “Under 25″ provides a common cut-off point for designating youth.
  • The year 25 BC was a leap year.
  • 25 Burgers opened its first Location in Bound Brook NJI in the Spring of 2009, serving 25 Choices of Fresh Made to Order Gourmet Burgers in a Clean and Friendly Environment.

25 burgers logo 





It’s Black Friday, Shop ‘Til You Drop

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


They call it Black Friday nowadays. It could just as easily have been Red Friday or Purple Friday or Green Friday or Any-Color-You-Like Friday. But the marketing men called it Black Friday and we’re stuck with it.

This is the day when people queue up for hours in the hope of getting something they don’t really need at a discount price they can’t really afford. And sometimes they lose their minds and fight and trample on each other for the dubious privilege.

Ah, the dumbing down of the dumb and the dumber!

When I say dumb and dumber don’t just think I am talking about the uneducated. Not in the least. Some of those for whom schooling was anathema have a lot more street savvy than most, something they have learned in what is sometimes known as the school of hard knocks – in other words, life!

I have learned that idiots come in all shapes and sizes and with all forms of learning and skills. There are smart football players and there are dumb ones. There are smart doctors and there are dumb ones. There are even smart academics and there are the well educated fools who may be exam passing machines but who haven’t the common sense to go to the local store and buy a loaf of bread.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Fred, was a guy like that. He had degrees by the yard, undergraduate, master’s degrees and even a PhD. I suppose I should have called him Dr Fred.

Academically he was brilliant. And a great teacher of academic subjects. He traveled the world and lectured in various schools and colleges to great acclaim.

But Fred hadn’t the common sense of a gnat when it came to commerce. All his life he bought things far too dear but always thought that he had bought them cheap. He was a car salesman’s dream customer, manna from heaven for a realtor, and bread and butter – and chocolate cake with icing – for any shopkeeper selling computing or electronic gear.   

The reason Fred comes to mind today is that he was also one of the idiots who would queue up half the night for a sale bargain, particularly where rare books were concerned. Fred was an avid collector.

Every year our local University bookstore held a one day sale where most of their books were discounted by at least 10 or 20 percent, but where one in particular was discounted by a massive amount, at least by half and sometimes by even more.

One year Fred spotted a book he had been after that was in the sale. It had been reduced from $500 to little over $100 and Fred was determined to have it.

So he spent the night and day before the sale getting as much sleep as he could. Then he made a flask of coffee and a few sandwiches, got a sleeping bag and set off confidently about 3 am in the morning to go to the bookstore to camp out until it opened.  

When he got to the store there was no one around, in fact nothing at all on the street, except for a large cardboard box sitting at the entrance to the shop. Fred quickly surmised that it was extra stock that had been delivered after hours for the sale.

He rolled out his sleeping bag, climbed inside it and settled down for the night. It was about this time of the year and cold, but not freezing or anything too extreme. He was comfortable enough.

The time passed slowly as it usually does at night when you aren’t able to get to sleep or when you are nervously anticipating some event that will happen in the morning. Four o’clock and five o’clock came and went, and at around six o’clock Fred ate his sandwiches and drank his coffee. He was very content. Just another couple of hours to go and the book would be his.  

By seven-thirty it was just beginning to get light. Traffic had started to move along the main streets as people began to make their way to work. The side street where the bookshop was however was still deserted, apart from Fred and the big cardboard box.

And then about ten minutes before eight the staff of the bookstore started to arrive. They smiled at Fred as they walked past and opened the door of the store. They switched the lights on and closed the doors again. Fred knew that they would open them again soon, when they had got themselves organized. Just a few more minutes he thought. Fred stood up and rolled up his sleeping bag, ready to enter the store.

That was when he heard the alarm. It wasn’t very loud and at first Fred thought it was coming from another street nearby. It wasn’t. Then he thought it was coming from inside the bookstore, possibly part of their security system. But it wasn’t that either. And then, before he could think up any other possibilities the alarm stopped just as suddenly as it had started.

Then to Fred’s complete and utter amazement the flaps of the cardboard box flew open and a head came out. It was a young man and as he got to his feet and stretched his arms he looked over at Fred and said, “Morning. You here for the book sale too?”

It was a classic ‘WTF’ moment. But Fred was having trouble grasping what had just happened and he couldn’t get any words from his brain to his lips. So he just stood there, mouth slightly open, trying desperately to piece together what was happening in front of him.

“I’ve done this before,” the young man said cheerfully to Fred. “Best place to be on a cold night is inside a cardboard box. Those old homeless guys know a thing or two I can tell you.”

This time words started to come to Fred. “Were you… did you… have you been… were you in that thing all night?” he eventually spluttered the question out.

“Sure thing,” the young man replied. “Had to get that first edition of..” and he named the book that Fred had his heart set on. “There’s only the one copy, you know.”

Fred did know, boy did he know. But it never occurred to him that someone else might know the value of the book or that they might want it too. It never occurred to him to look at the cardboard box, even though he had been there beside it for most of the night. And it certainly never occurred to him that there might be somebody inside it!

“FFS!” Fred exclaimed, more to himself than anyone else. He didn’t say another word after that. He didn’t go into the bookstore either. He turned and walked away, still not entirely sure, I think, what had just happened.    


As for me, you wont get me near a shop tomorrow, bargains or not. If you are going shopping then good luck, this might be what you are letting yourself in for.