A few years before the end of the twentieth century, Poison Pie’s friend, Marie Poonawala, gave him a book.
For no particular reason, Poison Pie did not read the book immediately.
It sat around in his home, waiting to be read for years, until one day early in the month of June in the year 2000.
On that day, again for no particular reason, Poison Pie picked up the book and read it.
The book was Sibyllan written by Pär Lagerkvist in 1956.
The copy Poison Pie had was an English translation of the original Swedish and had been titled The Sibyl.
The Sibyl was a mysterious and symbolic tale and was filled with such allegory and philosophy
as Poison Pie could make neither heads nor tails of.
However, toward the end of the book, there was one sentence that really struck Poison Pie.
It had the same smile, enigmatic and remote, at once meaningless and inscrutable.
“Meaningless and inscrutable,” Poison Pie said the words again and again, sometimes aloud and sometimes to himself.
He very much liked the mysterious combination of the two words: meaningless, inscrutable.
Poison Pie resolved to bear the same meaningless and inscrutable smile himself, to find out
just exactly what was meant by it.
He screwed up his face and slowly let it relax until the proper smile fell into place.
Then Poison Pie marched through the forest bearing that very smile, meaningless and inscrutable.