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, March 10, 2004

Doin' the Pedophile Conga

Today was one of the slowest days on record. We only checked out maybe 40 books the whole day and only had around 30 check-ins. We're usually well over 100 in both. Not that any of us was bored, mind you. We had plenty of new books to process and a raging pedophile/magazine thief to chase around the library to boot.

That's right, Chester the (potential) Molester, the patron who must not be named, graced us with his foul presence once again. Actually, today we were foully graced thrice.

Foul Grace #1: This morning Chester popped by for his usual tally of the population of early teenage girls in house. His tally came to zero, so up the stairs he went to scope out which of our magazines prominently featuring early teen girls he might like to steal. Oh, we had a few, but Mrs. A's office is right there at the magazine rack and she saw him lurching up the stairs and came out of her office to watch him. She's getting really good at this. I'm proud of her. Chester, however, is not. He broke off his (potential) attempted theft of a copy of Rolling Stone, (which didn't have a girl on the cover, but did have a picture of Andre 3000 from Outkast, who is something of a dandy, so maybe Chester was confused), and escaped to his fall back position of the non-fiction room. Finding yet another goose egg in our teenage girl population, Chester soon came back through the reading area, where Mrs. A still stood vigil, engrossed in conversation with Mrs. J. Chester was foiled again, so he retreated down the stairs where Mrs. C picked up his trail and followed him through the still empty kid's room, into the main room and saw him flee out the door. I learned of all this after I came in for work a while later.

Foul Grace #2: Shortly after hearing the above story, Chester came in again. I must say, he's not looking all that great these days. Granted, he didn't look great to start with, what with his uncanny resemblance to a bloated, syphilis-addled Chris Penn gone to seed. (I guess I should say Chris Penn gone to seed even more than the real Chris Penn already has. I like Chris and all, but daaaaamn. Oh, and Corky Romano was simply unforgivable.) Chester was wearing his usual filthy fleece vest today, but had traded his ratty little short-brimmed cap for a ratty blue toque that was even rattier. So ratty was it that there were actual gaping holes in his toque's surface, allowing greasy tufts of brown hair to poke through them. Once again Chester came up goose-egg on the teen population and teen magazine population due to the efforts of Mrs. A and Mrs. C, who immediately began hounding his every step as soon as he hit the door. To try and draw attention away from them, Chester had to snatch up one of the free county real-estate brochures, which he hauled out the door with him, pausing only briefly to ask me if the brochure was free.

I suggested to Mrs. A that we needed to abandon all pretense with Chester and simply have every library employee file in behind him in a conga line the next time he came in. One of us could have a little boom box with some music and we could just dance along behind him as he makes his way through the library. We practically do it anyway, so why not add music and choreography. At least with the pedophile conga we could all keep an eye on him. What's the worst that could happen? He gets confirmation of his suspicion that we don't like him? He gets offended and never comes back again? We should only be so lucky.

Foul Grace #3: Shortly after I went on break and left the building, Chester returned for round three. This time there was a teenage girl in the children's room, but Chester didn't have time enough to notice her at first as he was once again on the run from Mrs. A. She followed him upstairs and he had to snatch up yet another real-estate brochure to deflect attention from himself. (It's obviously working.) Then down the stairs he came only to discover the girl in the children's room. It was a short lived joy, for Mrs. A and Mrs. C both stepped into the room and set about staring at him, causing him to immediately flee the room and indeed the building.

I learned of this too after returning from break.

After relating her Chester update, Mrs. C said, "Oh, guess who else came in to return a book this morning?"

"No way! Not Kammy K?!"

Oh, yes, it had been Kammy K: The Book Hoarding Bizatch, who's had a neighboring county's interlibrary loan copy of "Real Age: Are You As Young As You Can Be?" since last May, causing us no end of problems.

"She brought it back?"

"Came in with the book and her checkbook," Mrs. C said.

"Well, what did she say about it?"

"She said she got a letter from us about her late book." Only one? "She said her family had moved recently and she'd lost the book until now."

"Uh huh."

"Tried to write us a check for it, but we didn't take any money since she brought the book back," Mrs. C continued. (Let me just say, I would have taken that woman's money in a heartbeat. At the very least, it could pay postage for sending it back, plus rental charges for keeping the book a full 10 months beyond its due date. And it would help soothe our newly bruised collective sense of outrage over the whole matter. I mean, after 10 months of making us fume and pull out our hair and break our teeth-a-clenching over stupid Kammy and her stupid book and her stupid intentional dismissal of the great and mighty power of the library, she has the sac to come right in and just GIVE us the book back? And to be nice to us and offer to pay for it anyway? What the hell? After months of ignoring us and actively avoiding us and refusing to communicate in any way with us, this woman doesn't even have the basic human decency to stomp through the door and throw her book at us in a curse-strewn fit of defeat? How are we expected to maintain our justifiable rage over the matter if she refuses to be nasty? How dare she end this in an anti-climax like that! And how dare she make me have to take her name off the rogues list.

What a bitch!

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