By Scott Meeker
What follows is the lost final chapter to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code," discovered by taking out every fifth letter in the novel's odd-numbered chapters. The text was then descrambled using instructions found hidden deep within passages of the Tri-State Area Yellow Pages, the Bible, the Qur'an, the Turner Report, the New York Times, Albino Quarterly, the 9/11 Report and a Logan's Roadhouse menu. Enjoy.
Robert Langdon began walking back to his hotel, still deep in reflection over his monumental discovery, when he heard a familiar voice from behind him.
"Wait, Robert! We have to go back!" He turned to see Sophie Neveu running toward him from the direction of the Louvre.
"Back? Back where?" he asked.
She gestured back the way she had come. "Another message was found on the Mona Lisa."
The two sprinted back inside the museum. Robert's legs were tired. He had been sprinting a lot lately.
He pulled out an ultraviolet-light wand and waved it slowly over the Mona Lisa again. Written in a barely legible scrawl, the words began to appear in the corner of the priceless artwork.
A Kansas bloom in sins / Miss France given a log / Wimp if honest flesh / Bed he hook oily onto us.
"What could it mean?" Sophie asked. "Perhaps it is another anagram."
Robert stared at the letters, which seemed to magically float off the page in front of him. (He'd always thought that this would make a neat-o special effect in a movie.)
As words fell into place, he slowly recited the strange anagram: "Albino monk assassin / Film's one saving grace / Often whips himself / Look out, he's behind you."
Sophie shook her head, confused. "It is obviously a reference to Silas," she said. "But what is the film? And who is behind us?"
Silas, the self-flaggelating albino monk assassin who it turns out was not quite dead after all, leapt from the shadows and grabbed Robert, pinning him against a wall.
"I will have Da Vinci's secrets," he hissed. "The Teacher wills it."
"Your Teacher is in jail," Robert said.
"Not so, Robert," said Sir Leigh Teabing, using his crutches to maneuver himself from behind a statue. "I escaped."
Robert shook his head. "I don't understand. What is going on?"
"Allow me to explain, Robert," Teabing said. "I am ashamed to say that I had it all wrong, but I have solved the mystery once and for all. Behold, the biggest cover-up in human history. The works of Leonardo Da Vinci do contain hidden ...
(Note: The following 2,500-word passage has been condensed to run in the space allotted.)
"The Knights Templar ... remains of Mary Magdalene ... the Vatican retaliated by ... found the Holy Grail ... the Masons ... landed at Area 51 ... Oswald was a patsy ... and then the Florida recount began ... Chris Daughtry was voted off 'American Idol' ... blahblah-blahblah-blahblah."
Robert listened attentively for the 90 minutes it took Teabing to unravel the conspiracy.
"How could I have been so blind?" he said. "You have truly broken the Da Vinci code."
And then they all went out for pizza. Except for Silas, who went home to drive spikes into his thigh and beat himself on the back with chains.
Address correspondence to Scott Meeker, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.
By Scott Meeker