Jason was amazed to find out that there were so many people who collected the same thing as he did – the revered page eleven. He didn’t even know there was an actual name for people like him – partial completists. It felt good to belong to a group. Completists collect whole books, partial completists only a specific page. He had only been collecting for about a year so only had a few hundred pieces while others he talked to at the convention had collections numbering in the thousands. Jason had saved for eleven weeks to go to the convention which was held in a hotel that was an eleven-minute walk from a pristine beach. He was able to snag the best room for the event since there had been an unexpected cancellation. So here he was, unpacking his suitcase in room eleven. His roommate for the weekend was an old man from Scotland. Jason hoped the man would refrain from playing bagpipes at all hours of the night. Phew! No bagpipes in sight, just lots and lots of page elevens lovingly preserved.
The weekend challenge for convention participants was to see who many words they could make from the word antidisestablishmentarianism. There would be prizes for anything over eleven pages – thirty words to a page. This was going to be fun! He, like many of his fellow convention attendees, was a word enthusiast as well as a page collector. They worked for a while on the pages and then went down to the buffet dinner which fittingly had eleven veggies, eleven meats, and eleven desserts. Jason had never seen such a spread ever! It was hard to know where to start.
The old man whose name was Joe kinda took Jason under his wing when he found out it was the lad’s first convention.
"It can get a bit overwhelming laddie, but just try to relax and have fun."
When they got back to their room Joe showed Jason the first page eleven, he had acquired – it was a picture of a mountain and a waterfall from a book called “The Wanderers”. Jason vowed then and there to get a copy of it for himself – it was breathtaking.
Outside the lecture hall there were twenty five vendors selling various storage books, sheets, binders, and the like. Many gave away free goodies like pens, notebooks, a money clip, and keyrings. Two convention attendees were talking to each other and Jason overheard the conversation.
“I tried for weeks to get into room eleven. Maybe next year. They always hide a special page in that room and if people find it, they get to keep it.”
“Finders, keepers! Wow, that would be neat! I sure wish we could reserve the room ahead of time.”
“Only trouble with that is we don’t know where the convention will be held from year to year because the organizers make it central to all those who register.”
“That’s nice of them, fair for those who live far away too. Let’s go check out some of the pages so we have a heads up on the scavenger hunt later this weekend.”
The two wandered off into the main hall. Jason looked down at his schedule. Yep, there it was – scavenger hunt at eleven minutes past eleven. Hint – none. It’s a secret for now. Naturally, he thought. If he were awake enough, he would participate – it sounded like fun.
Lunch consisted of eleven salads, followed by eleven pies.
"They’re playing our game laddie” Joe said.
“Yes sir, looks that way.”
They had the afternoon free so everyone could walk down to the beach and/ or work on their antidisestablishmentarianism pages. They decided they would walk down to the beach later, at sunset when dolphins could sometimes be seen. At Joe’s suggestion, Jason separated the pages by the number of letters – 3, 4, 5, 6, and up. Joe said it was easier to check for duplication that way. Two of the same word meant instant disqualification.
“I wonder who won it last year” Jason wondered.
“You’re looking at him laddie.”
“Wow, I’m impressed. That’s great Joe. I heard there was a page hidden in this room. If I find it, I will give it to you.”
“Laddie, I have never come across such generosity before. Here, you may have my waterfall page. May it bring you good fortune.”
Jason’s eyes welled up.
“Thank you ever so much.”
Jason thought long and hard about where such a treasure would be hidden and then had a sudden inspiration. The Gideon Bible – yes, on page eleven a smaller sheet of paper was folded over. Without looking at it, Jason gave the page to Joe as he promised. Joe looked at the page and burst out laughing.
“What goes around comes around laddie” and he showed Jason the page. A print from the book called “The Wanderers” of a mountain and waterfall.
“We are both meant to have a copy Joe.”
“Looks that way laddie” Joe smiled then added “keep it secret, keep it safe. Many want that page, and it is hard to find.”
“I will” and placed the one Joe had given him in a secret inside shirt pocket. Jason then gave some of his blank pages to Joe.
“You deserve to win, look at all those words! Wow!”
“Keep at it laddie, you’ll get there.”
Joe was the winner as it turned out with a list of over five hundred words. The presenter said that the record was over eleven thousand words but no participants had even come close. His prize was a guaranteed spot in room eleven the following year. Jason was sitting near the two girls and heard them say
“Aww. Maybe he won’t be able to come and we’ll have a chance to get it, and also the hidden page.”
Jason frowned. Not if he had anything to do with it. He glanced at his watch. 11:06pm; five more minutes to go before the scavenger hunt. Should he stay and try even though he was inexperienced at collecting? A little voice whispered to him, yes. A hush fell on the attendees as the page to be searched for was uncovered. It was a picture of a mountain and waterfall.
Jason gasped, he knew exactly where to look and won the scavenger hunt easily. His prize was paid attendance at next year’s convention with lodging in room eleven.
“Thank you so much” Jason said, and meant it. What a weekend it had been. He could hardly wait for next year!