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.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Stanky Patron Mystery Theatre

Today was stanky patron day at the "liberry". (Not to be confused with Skanky Patron Day, which is a whole other problem.)

First up was a woman who had actually paid us a stinky visit yesterday as well. Today she was still wearing the same black T-shirt and still smelled of old dried, re-moistened, then dried again sweat. It followed her in a cloud, sticking to everything she passed so that she left a wake of foulness. Of course, she wanted to use a computer.

Next up, our friendly Drifter wandered in with his own cloud of week-old funky B.O. He too wanted a computer.

Soon the computer hall was awaft with the mixture of their fumes, which I knew would need fumigating later on. Our can of Airwick Breeze is getting mighty low these days. Granted these two have nothing on some of the stank factories that have shambled in here in the past, but it was still unpleasant. Throughout the time they were in, I kept wandering into pockets of funk that refused to diffuse. It was like getting slapped in the face with a dead fish--your eyes start watering and you feel like you've been personally assaulted. I liken it to walking down Bourbon Street at night.

Speaking of the Drifter, he came up to the desk last week and asked me a question no other patron has ever posed.

"Where in the area is a good place to meet women?"

"Hmm," I said. "Not sure, really. I'm married, so that kind of information is of little use to me."

He said someone recommended one of the local redneck dance clubs, which might not be a bad answer, but from what I hear the place tends to get a little rough once the clientele are in their cups. I told him this, adding, "I'd be a little scared to go in there, myself. But then again, I'm not much for the drunken dancing scene, unless I'm one of the drunks dancing."

After today, though, I could have given him a valuable tip on meeting women: The ladies aren't usually IN to the whole stanky pits thing. And neither are we, so please... A shower?

He's evidently not doing too bad for himself. He's working in the area and saved up enough money to buy a small motorcycle. Granted, it's one of these moto-cross style bikes that's not exactly designed for street use, but it's transportation all the same. He's already fallen off of it, though, and spent much of our conversation changing his road-rash bandage in front of me.

Later in the afternoon, after the place had time to air out, one of our regular patrons came in with something of a mystery for us. The way this patron tells it, it seems his two sons had been in the "liberry" last week and were using one of our patron computers when they noticed that the man using the computer just down the line seemed to be looking at pictures of something involving naked people. Naturally, they were curious and kept looking to see the pictures the man had on his screen. Suddenly, the kids realized that the two naked people in the picture were both men. They were shocked and ran home to tell dad.

The dad wasn't mad at us. He just wanted to let us know what his boys had witnessed so we would be alert. He knew there wasn't really anything we could do about it, as it's not our policy to keep people from looking at porn (though how this guy got through the filters is another good question).

The thing is, we have no idea who the porn-surfing patron was. Mrs. C suggested Parka, but I told her I've never spied anything with a Y chromosome on his screen EVER, so I seriously doubted it was him.

However, our usual suspects for that particular brand of porn--The Untalented Mr. Ripley and the Even Less Talented Mr. Ripley--haven't been seen here in months. Though it does turn out that one of them has been SEEN elsewhere.

While we were discussing possible candidates, Mrs. C mentioned that she and Mrs. A ran actually into the Untalented Mr. Ripley while visiting a library in another county last week. It seems he's living in a half-way house in that county and using the library there. They said he didn't look as bad as they've seen him in the past, but was still awfully scrawny.

As to the Even Less Talented Mr. Ripley, he's another story to tell.

To Be Continued...

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