The Number 23
- Chapter 23. You can call me Fingerling. My real name is Walter. Walter Paul Sparrow. What you've read so far is not the whole truth. Much has been changed to protect the innocent... and the guilty. I once read that the only philosophical question that matters is whether or not to commit suicide. I guess that makes me a philosopher. You can say it was my inheritance. After my mother's death, my father couldn't cope. He didn't leave a note... just a number. That number followed me from foster home to foster home till college when I met her: Laura Tollins. I thought she'd help me forget my father's number. It was a mistake to think I could escape it. I loved her. And I thought she loved me. Until my father's number returned to haunt me. That fucking number... When I circled every 23rd letter of her note... it became clear. The number had gone after me. And now it wanted her. I was right. She was in danger. I just didn't realize the danger was me. What began as a suicide note, turned into something more. Much, much more.
- There's no such thing as destiny. There are only different choices. Some choices are easy, some aren't. Those are the really important ones, the ones that define us as people.
- To die there in the street would have been easy. But it wouldn't have been justice, at least not the justice fathers teach their sons about. I'll be sentenced in a week or so. My lawyer says the judge will look kindly upon me for turning myself in. Maybe it's not the happiest of endings, but it's the right one. Some day I'll be up for parole, and we can go on living our lives. It's only a matter of time. Of course, time is just a counting system — numbers with meaning attached to them — isn't it?
- I'd like two words on my tombstone: what if.
- Robin Sparrow: Mom, who wrote the book?
- Walter Sparrow: Tell him who wrote it. [whispering] Tell him.
- Agatha Sparrow: ...You wrote the book, Walter.