Thursday, December 16, 2004

Tales from the Dumbass

Mrs. A came over to me today and in a low voice said, "Someone left the back door unlocked the other night."

Aw crap, I thought. Immediately I knew it had to have been my fault.

"Uh, yeah. That was me," I said. Of COURSE it was me! I even knew exactly what night I'd done it. "You found it unlocked Wednesday morning, right?" I asked.


Yep, that's me. The big ol' liberry dumbass. It had happened Tuesday night, the same night as Loud Nedd's last appearance. After he left, I'd been waiting inside the library for my wife to arrive so we could ride to my writing class's Christmas party together. Instead of going out the back door as I usually do, we went out the front and I never once thought to go lock the back. Luckily, Loud Nedd the Obnoixious Drifter did not come back to try the door or he could have had a good bit more fundage for his lottery tickets.

This is not the first time the library has been left unlocked, though it is my first time to do it personally. The last time I knew of it happening actually occurred during one of my writing classes, a year or so back.

When in session, our class meets on the second floor of the library, after hours, every other Tuesday night. After it concludes, I'm responsible for locking up, which only amounts to locking the back door as that's the one nearest the stairwell and the one we all exit after class. However, one week, one of our students left early. I won't say her name, so as not to embarass her, but it's Suzanne. She somehow assumed the front door was the one to use despite the fact that A) she had never done so after class before, since I always lead the class members out via the well-lit back door; B) the front door was located in the pitch black front room; and C) it was double locked, which must have taken some doing to open in the dark. Compounding her error, Suzanne left the door WIDE OPEN afterward, assuming incorrectly that we'd all be following behind her and wouldn't bother with that whole well-lit, conveniently located, unlocked back door that we always use instead.

We might never have known about this except that a patron came in a few days later to tell us that he had been driving through town at 3 a.m. and wanted to drop his books off in our after hours drop box. When he got out to do so, he noticed the front door open and the lights off. He stepped inside to make sure we weren't being robbed. He found no such evidence, so he used our phone to call the police and let them know. I don't know if the police have keys and were able to lock the deadbolt as well or if we just didn't notice the deadbolt being unlocked when we opened the next morning, but we never heard anything about it from the police at all.

I don't know whether it's a coincidence or not, but since that day Suzanne never returned to class.

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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.