I was at the library today, just minding my own.
Around 4:30 p, Mrs. C came up and said, "Oh, did MRS. A tell you about the man who came in this morning?"
C sighed in a way that suggested she didn't want to be the bearer of
bad news for me. She told me that soon after they opened, a man came in
who suffers from HAS NO INSIDE VOICE syndrome--a tragic condition in
which a person shouts nearly everything they say because their parents
neglected to teach them proper inside voice technique. (Either that or
they're just hard of hearing and shout a lot.)
who I'm calling Loud Nedd, came to the circ desk where Mrs. C and Mrs. A
were standing and shouted, "DO EITHER OF YOU GO TO CHURCH?"
hearing this it was my turn to sigh. I was afraid Loud Nedd was one of
the wandering, hitchhiker, Fire & Brimstone preachers who used
to visit Mississippi State's campus on a semi-annual basis, stand in the
"free speech area" and rail against the evils of sororities. (And,
no, I'm not making up the part about MSU's Free Speech Area. It exists
and the guy would have had to fill out a lengthy form in order to use it.) In this assumption, though, I was wrong.
out that Loud Nedd, while indeed drifting through the area on foot, wasn't so much a preacher as a guy looking for a warm place to sleep and possibly a meal, since it's butt
ass cold here right now. From his experience, local churches often provided
this, so he wanted to know where the nearest churches were.
there are three or four in this area of town. If you like I can call
one and see what they can do," Mrs. C reportedly offered. Loud Nedd loudly accepted
so she called the Methodist church down the street. They told her they
could indeed help, but needed Loud Nedd to first go speak to the police
department, let them check him out (I presume to make sure he has no
outstanding warrants for any 12 state hitchhiking killing sprees he might be in the
middle of) and then they would be happy to help him out. Mrs. C put Loud
Nedd on the phone and let them explain this to him too. This, however,
did not set well with Loud Nedd. Loud Nedd became very loud indeed and
began shouting above and beyond his apparent usual loudness at the minister on
Mrs. C said he began screaming about how it
was the Lord's money and who were they to say who could and couldn't use
it. He screamed that he didn't want to have to deal with the police and
seemed to indicate that he'd had prior bad experiences with the law
which somehow involved a jacket of his being stolen and a highway
patrolman hassling him because of it. He then screamed threats that if
the police gave him any guff at all he would sue everyone involved.
Loud Nedd had finished his rant and hung up, he asked Mrs. C how to get
to the police department. She gladly told him and he left.
had trouble with crazy drifters before. One man a couple of years
ago--who, naturally, came in on my day off--stood on one of the benches
outside and did some kind of strange calisthenics before coming inside
whereupon he began behaving in a very threatening manner toward our
staff. Mrs. C told him he had to leave and when he did she locked all
the doors and called the cops. They came and picked him up and found out
he had a number of outstanding warrants on him from Florida, so off to
the jail he went.
Loud Nedd came back an hour or so
later. He seemed to have calmed down a lot and loudly explained to Mrs. C
that he had indeed spoken with the police and the chief seemed like a
decent enough guy. They were going to check him out and he would go back
later to see what they could do for him. At the moment he wanted to use
a computer. Mrs. C logged him on, he stayed for a while and then was
all set to leave when he asked the dreaded question that would affect
me: What are your hours? Mrs. C told him we were open until 7 at which
point he said he would be back.
It was 4:30 then and he
had not yet been back so his threat could only continue into the
future. Mrs. C just wanted to warn me about him. She gave me his name
and description, as a middle aged man with a thick mustache and a
ski-coat. She said if nothing else I would know him because he was very
loud and very obnoxious.
"He tells bad bad jokes," she said. "Like `Why was 6 afraid of 7? ... Cause 7, 8, 9.' "
"Aw no," I said.
could just imagine this guy coming back on my watch and have nothing
better to do than torment me with bad jokes all the way until closing
time. Worse yet, what if he came back and he'd been checked out by the
cops and rejected on non-arrest-worthy grounds. What if he had NO PLACE
to stay in this freezing weather and now needed me to broker him a deal
with some other church. Oh, sure, he'd probably come back right near
closing time too, so I'd have to stay late. And tonight of all nights
would be the worst because my writers group is having their annual
Christmas party which is one of the highlights of my year and I'm
supposed to be there at 7. But I wouldn't be able to just turn the man
out into the cold.
I thought about writing up this blog
entry on him, just in case he did come back. Then I decided that was a
very bad idea. I didn't even want to THINK about this man. He might be
on the same mental channel that Chester, the Patron Who Must Not Be Named,
is on and would magically turn up at the mere thought of him. ("They
know when you're thinking about `em, so doooooon't even think about
`em!") Yep, the less mental energy I exerted in his direction the better
off we'd all be.
At exactly 11 minutes until close a
man who mostly matched Loud Nedd's description walked through the front
door and shouted, "AHH HAH! CAUGHT YOU NEARLY AT CLOSING! I GOT, WHAT,
ELEVEN MINUTES LEFT?!"
"Yeah, looks like it," I told him.
"CAN I USE A COMPUTER?"
"Sure. Just sign in at the front desk." He did. Sure enough, his name matched that of Loud Nedd.
Nedd only stayed for about 8 of his allotted minutes. Then he came back
up to the circ desk where I was cowering in fear of what he might next
"HEY, CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE THE NEAREST CONVENIENCE STORE IS THAT WOULD SELL LOTTERY TICKETS?! YOU KNOW, SCRATCH OFF TICKETS?!"
"Um... that would probably be the Stop-Mart."
I told him how to get to Stop-Mart, which was at least a mile and a half away.
"NAH, THAT'S TOO FAR AND IT'S TOO COLD! I'M ON FOOT!"
"Well the next nearest one would be about the same distance in the other direction," I told him.
paused for a moment and I was afraid he was about to try and bum a ride
to one. I would have no trouble refusing that, because I don't view
lottery tickets as something I need to go out of my way for.
"AH, WELL! IT'LL WAIT TIL TOMORROW" Loud Nedd said, and thankfully disappeared into the night.