Friday, December 08, 2006

Lame Ducks

The patron known as Granny returned to the "liberry" yesterday, minus her destructive grandson. The rest of the staff had gone to lunch, so no one else had to smell the aura of stale cigarette smoke that clung to her. Granted, she was a far cry from the olfactory offensiveness of Mrs. Carol Satan, but my recent trip to Missouri has made me more sensitive to such things.

Granny turned in some books, inquired about the cost of a video she couldn't locate, failed to pay for it and then set about looking for more selections. After five minutes, or so, the door opened and a startling looking man walked through. I recognized him as Yosemite Sam, her husband who bears a striking resemblance to the cartoon character of the same name, albeit with black hair. It was far too cold for Sam to have clad his torso only in his trademark leather vest, but he wore the vest over a dark long sleeve all the same. The rest of him was clad in black clothing made, whenever possible, out of leather. The startling thing about him was that his hair was not pulled into a receding pony tail, but was down, splayed out in a tangly mess from beneath a black leather cowboy hat. His eyes were wide, wild and rather glinty. He could have passed for the malevolent father of Jeff Fahey's already malevolent character, Tyree, in Silverado; the very sort of fellow that, were you to come upon him on a dusty western street, near, say, a saloon, you would be well-advised to find the nearest horse headed out of town. I very quickly stopped making eye-contact with him. However, the temptation to look up soon became too great and I hazarded a quick glance only to find Sam's wild eyes staring right back.

"Yah'd think she'd be through, by now," Sam said, jutting a thumb in Granny's direction. I raised eyebrows in response, then quickly returned to my list of overdues. I caught a whiff of Sam, though. He smelled of stale cigarettes, but there were also two parts body odor and alcohol thrown into that three part mix. God, I prayed, please don't let him start in on his home-brew business with me again.

"Paul Harvey's out there calling everyone lame ducks," Sam said, indicating, I assume, the radio in his car. Before he could continue further, the door opened and A, B, C and J returned from lunch. I could tell by Mrs. A's expression that she too caught wind of Sam and soon she was looking for air-freshener. Sam and Granny only stayed a few minutes more and mostly confined their talk to themselves. Sam seemed to indicate that Granny had enough books at home as it was and that they ought to bring some of them and give them to us. Granny disagreed. Then, as they left, Sam lingered in the door until Granny was outside, then turned back to me and, with a few glances back over his shoulder to make sure Granny wasn't there to hear him, said that he was planning to sneak a box of Granny's books to us regardless of her approval. I just nodded and smiled and told him I had to occasionally watch my wife for such treachery, as she often gets it in her head to rid our house of clutter and usually eyes my clutter as the first to go.

"Oh, yew got one of them, too, huh?" Sam said. Then his boots clomped out the door. You could practically imagine the sound of spurs jangling as he left.

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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.