A curious couple came in the other night. The female half was a busty, bubbly red-head wearing a t-shirt that some people might judge to be a wee bit tight--not me, mind you. Her husband was kind of a good ol' boy, with a stubble-beard, a trucker cap and something of a mullet going on in the back of his head. He also had a large white bandage wrapped around one of his forearms.
They returned some books and set about looking for new ones to check out. Cool beans.
After a while, wee tight shirt bubbled up to the desk
and said, "Do you still have that book I really liked as a kid?" She
grinned broadly at this, conveying to me that she realized the absurd
nature of the question but had to ask it anyway, as she didn't know the
title or author.
"It had a white cover with a drawing of a girl on a cliff," she said.
Something in my head pinged at this--librarian
Spidy-Sense or something. I distinctly felt an echo ping from the S
shelf of our Easy Reader section. Still, this didn't connect to
anything else in my head.
"Err," I said. "Not ringing too many bells with me."
"It was, like, a book of poems and drawings," she said.
Suddenly it popped into my head--or rather, it didn't, but I knew what it was in a kind of instinctual way. Ping. Ping. Ping.
"Oh! Wait! I know what that is... I do..." My brain
strained to recall the author. I could see the book in my head, the
girl on the cliff, black and white pen and ink art, and it was indeed in
the Easy Reader S-section. Famous kid's author... my wife adores
him... I think he lives in New York....
"Crap, why can't I remember his name?" I said. "It's... right.. there... Argh!"
Instead of standing there squinting and droning on
like an idiot, I decided to just go get the bloody book. I marched to
the childrens' room and began the search through the wildly chaotic Easy
Reader section. Everything there is subdivided by the first letter of
the author's name, but beyond that there's little order. I hate sending
patrons in there for books because they can never find anything so I
usually go and do it myself.
Turns out, the book in question was checked out, but I
found another one by the same author, Mr. Shel Silverstein. Upon
discovering it, the woman became even more bubbly, if such a thing were
possible. She gladly took that book.
"Oh, and do you have any books about spiders?" she
asked. It seems her husband had recently been bitten by a brown
recluse, hence the bandage on his arm. He was actually bitten several
days ago, but didn't know exactly what had bitten him. He went to the
hospital, but the folks in the emergency room said it was just a bug
bite and sent him home, saying it would be fine. The next morning, when
the wound had started to necrose into a quarter-sized crater, he
decided it wasn't fine and went back to the ER to give the docs another
guess. Much treatment followed and he now has a rotting wound of about
three fingers diameter and a depth to the first knuckle in the center of
"Show him, show him!" the woman said.
"He don't want to see it," the man said. "He might want to go home to dinner."
I really didn't want to see it, though I felt like
maybe I ought to have a look just so I'd have something fun to describe
to my med-student wife. She would want a look if she were here.
Instead, I just winced in sympathy for his suffering. The man said his
wound was nothing compared to a friend of his who had been bitten on the
stomach and was still in the hospital having to watch bits of his belly
rot away. Yowch!