Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Auxiliary Trouble (or "Ms. S finally gets one right")

My once-a-month Monday shift went pretty smoothly, yesterday. The only real incident I had came with a 4p arrival of Brent & Brice: The New Devil Twins.

I've not seen much of the Devil Twins in a while, particularly after all the confusion we had with them back in June, during which we finally learned which of them was which and that, while they are brothers, they aren't actually twins in the first place. In the intervening months, Brice—the shorter brother, whose patron record fines tab was the far scarier of the two—actually brought all his books back or otherwise paid his fines, so he's been allowed to use the computers again. Brent, the taller one, still has a LOOOOONG overdue book out and is still therefore banned from computer usage. This fact, however, didn't stop him from signing up for a computer in front of me, God and everybody when the two of them walked in Monday afternoon.

I didn't have computers for either of them at the time, so I sent them away to wait while I double checked both of their patron records to make sure at least one was still in Dutch with us. Yep. Brent still owes $60 in fines and/or book replacement fees. So I went back and broke the news to him that I couldn't let him use the computer until that was taken care of. He tried to act surprised about it, but I don't think his heart was really in his performance.

Jump to today.

Not long after I arrived, Mrs. C mentioned that the twins had been on scene during another incident over the weekend. She said that on Sunday she received a phone at home from infamous Newbie Greenhorn Ms. S, our weekend warrior womanning the desk. It seems that Brent & Brice were in the "liberry" along with two members of the Brent & Brice Auxiliary League of Neighborhood kids. (Of course, they were all using computers since Ms. S didn't remember that there were any banning issues involved.) At some point during their visit, Ms. S had gone upstairs to drop off some nonfiction and when she returned downstairs she spotted a member of the League—a 10 or 11 year old kid who I'll call Tony—behind the circ-desk. Tony saw that he'd been spotted, for Ms. S said they locked eyes, and he zipped from behind the desk. When confronted as to why he was behind the desk, he claimed he was trying to find a pen with which to sign up for a computer. (Because the can of pens RIGHT BEHIND the computer sign in sheet wasn't obvious enough, eh?)

Now, the thing you have to remember about Ms. S is that she's terified of our cash box and the possibility that she might somehow miscount it by three cents and get brought up on charges. We've tried to explain to her that as long as the count isn't wildly off, it's all right and that miscalculations happen. She remains in fear of the box. Also, being a very very slow human being in both mind and body, she likes to do the end-of-the-day cash count as early in her shift as she can get away with so she'll have plenty of time to count and recount and recount should something come up wrong. And, since we close at 5 on Sundays, she'd already done the cash count some time between 3:30 and 4p. Luckily, this meant she was already aware that there had been a $20 bill in the cash box, the very bill which she saw was missing following Tony's visit behind the circ-desk.

"What do I do?" she asked Mrs. C.

"I'll be there in a minute," Mrs. C told her.

Minutes later, Mrs. C arrived and the kids were all still in-house. Ms. S pointed her to Tony and Mrs. C asked to speak to him in private. She explained to Tony that Ms. S had seen him behind the desk, that he was NOT supposed to BE behind the desk and, while we were not going so far as to accuse him yet, we were now aware that there was a $20 bill missing from the cash box. Had he taken it? Tony claimed he had not taken it and reiterated that he was looking for a pen.

"In that case, is your mom home?" Mrs. C asked.


"Would you call her for me?"


Tony dialed, but said the number was busy. So Mrs. C passed the time by talking to Brent & Brice and the other League member present, alerting them to the situation and asking if they knew anything about it? They said they didn't and recommended she call Tony's mom again. So Mrs. C had Tony phone home again, got through this time and reached mom. Mrs. C explained the situation to Tony's mom, stressing again that we weren't accusing him but that evidence did seem to point in his direction. Tony's mom said that she'd never known him to steal, but that there was always a first time for it. She agreed to deal with the matter and return the money should she find it. Then, she asked to speak to Tony and, from his growing petrified expression, apparently gave him the what for.

Mrs. C was relieved. Ms. S was even more relieved.

Jump back to this morning. Mrs. J, our sexagenarian "liberry" ass., was straightening up around our restroom and noticed a $20 bill behind the trash can. So it would appear that Tony, knowing Ms. S had seen him, ditched the money rather than get caught with it.

We don't, at this point, know Tony's phone number to call his mom back and let her know, but that will be easy enough to find out. My suggestion, in the meantime, is that we put a little note behind the trash can that reads:

Dear Tony,

So sorry, but we're afraid what you came to look for is no longer here.


--the staff
p.s.-- you're banned.

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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.