An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Defeat and Utter Humiliation of Mrs. Carol Satan

Ahh, what a most blessed and glorious day it has been. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and I got to help put Mrs. Carol Satan in her place.

I'd been at work for only a couple of hours when she arrived. I knew her before I saw her by smelling the thick haze of cigarette smoke and brimstone that flowed ahead of her to announce her presence. She dropped a stack of 6 women's novels on the desk and slunk over in the direction of Mrs. C, our librarian. Mrs. C was having an in-person conversation with Mr. Rob, the librarian from the neighboring community college, and she, quite correctly, didn't feel it necessary to pause her conversation in the slightest just because Mrs. Carol Satan wanted a word.

While this was going on, I checked Carol Satan's patron record and saw she was still on hold for Danielle Steel's book Dating Game, which she had been on hold for a couple months ago, back when she decided to tear me a new one because she was four days late picking it up.

For a moment, I considered being the kind and helpful liberry ass. that I usually am and going over to the shelf where I had left the book she wanted sitting for all these weeks and getting it for her. Then I remembered the holy hell she raised for something that was her own damn fault and all the lies she told to try and cover it up. I left Danielle Steel alone and returned to the desk.

In the meantime, Mrs. Carol Satan wandered the shelves, selected several more books and came up to the desk where I checked them out to her. I would just like to say that I was sickeningly sweet and cheerful to her. A passing diabetic went into a coma.

Unfortunately, about that time Mrs. C allowed a chink in her conversation and it was long enough for Carol to jump in with a question.

"Did you ever find that book you said I had out?" she belched.

Mrs. Carol Satan, see, had a book out—ironically, Adam's Fall, by Sandra Brown. The last time she was in, last Thursday, Mrs. Carol Satan swore she had returned the book to us the previous Monday. She swore she had put it in the book return. She swore she never keeps books late because she always keeps library books in the SAME EXACT PLACE in her house and she NEVER forgets them. EVER.

"No, we still haven't found it," Mrs. C told her.

"Well I brought it back! I remember it very clearly because I brought it in with me last Thursday and I laid it on the desk."

Last Thursday, if you will recall from two paragraphs ago, is exactly the day she complained that she had put Adam's Fall in the book return the previous Monday. Already Mrs. Carol Satan has been caught in a lie.

"Yes, I remember," Mrs. Carol Satan continued to spew, "I remember I put my books here and there was a... well, a... a good sized girl behind the counter. And I remember she didn't check my books in right away."

"Yes, ma'am," Mrs. C said. "She is one of our staff members here. "

"And I remember that there were all these..."—and at this point, she dropped her voice down to a low, tar-crusted whisper—"these retarded people running around in here. And they were looking at the shelves and they were over here," she said, pointing to the desk. "Any one of them could have picked it up."

Now this hell-belching gorgon was blaming our mentally-handicapped patrons for stealing her stupid late book—a late book, I might add, that we wouldn't have charged her a fine for ANYWAY because of some computer issues we're going through at the moment. Forget about the fact that this walking poster-child for Not Smoking is lying to begin with because it was on that very previous Thursday, Feb 19, that Mrs. C asked her about Adam's Fall for the very first time

I don't know how, but Mrs. C remained diplomatic. She explained to Mrs. Carol Satan that despite the fact that we did take the book return apart and had not found Adam's Fall within it and despite the fact that the book still wasn't on our shelf, we would continue looking for it and would she please do the same.

"I don't need to look for it! I brought it back already!" Carol bellowed. And Carol continued to bellow on in a similar loud manner. Mrs. C decided to leave Carol to it, and she left the desk entirely to go look for a book for another patron who had wandered in during Carol's earlier diatribe.

After venting her foul air for a while, Carol stomped for the door, pausing briefly to look back and say, "I may be crazy about a lot of things, but I'm not crazy when it comes to bringing back my library books!" She then slammed the door and was gone.

"It ain't library books that's made her crazy," I told Mr. Rob, who had witnessed the whole scene in amazement. He laughed. I then started to tell him about my previous deadly encounter with Mrs. Carol Satan when the door suddenly flew open and in she came.

Carol was no longer fiercely angry. In fact, Carol looked positively befuddled. Still, she managed a nervous sort of laugh as she teetered up to the desk clutching a lone book in her talon, one Adam's Fall by one Sandra Brown.

"I looked in the last place I could think of," she said. "It was under my car-seat."

"Ahhhhhhhhh!" I said in what I gauged was a slightly maniacal-sounding degree of wonderment.
"It must have fallen down between the seat and the door when I put my books in the other day."

"Yeah, that'd do it," I said.

"So I guess I... had it... all along," she said. She turned and left, forked tail tucked between her legs, cloven-hooves clattering on the floor.

Sure, she didn't actually come close to apologizing for raising such a stink. Nevertheless, it was an admission of guilt I will savor for weeks to come. Mrs. C and her friend rushed back in to join the celebration. If we'd had champagne, the cork would have been popped and bubbly poured all round. The great and powerful Mrs. Carol Satan had been defeated....

...for now.

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