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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paranoid Rick James Buys a New Card

Not seen much of Paranoid Rick James in a while. Yet, he appeared yesterday and asked if we had wireless capabilities. Ms. D told him that we did and he returned to his car to fetch a laptop, then returned to sign up. I didn't see where Rick went after that, but he wasn't seated at any of the tables in sight of the circ desk. And I didn't find him at any of our less observable tables, when I just happened to walk near them during the course of my "liberry" duties. Curious.

Even more curious, I later spied Rick's girlfriend, Gladys Knight, in the building, but was too busy riding herd over the desktop computer users to see where she went either. By the end of the workday, there was still no sign of Rick or Gladys and I began to wonder if they'd secreted themselves away in some out-of-sight nook of the building where they clearly weren't meant to be.

I asked Ms. D if she'd seen where he'd gone, but she hadn't. I then warned her that when Rick was about, there was always a high expectation of some shit being distributed, usually in our direction. So we searched the building down to the storage rooms and found no sign of Rick or Gladys.

Today Rick was back. He walked in, laptop at the ready and requested some time. I printed him out a login slip and told him how to use it (even though I knew he already had been told before).

"Yeah. It worked fine yesterday," he said. This time I saw him head for one of the back corner tables.

Later, while shelving in the area, only within sight of Rick through the gaps above the books in our back to back shelves, I noticed Rick look up suddenly at my approach.

"You, uh... You work here, right?" he asked. What was he, stupid? He'd just seen me behind the circ desk not 20 minutes before. I'd been the one who gave him his damn time printout.

"Yeah," I said.

"I... uh. I need a new library card," Rick said. "Is there a way I could get one?"

Inwardly I seethed. Paranoid Rick James bringing up the subject of library cards was a sure omen of an approaching shit storm. He is, after all, the same guy who used to refuse to check anything out on his own patron record AT ALL for years, then railed at us for being in league with homeland security and the devil for not only switching to a new library software system that required patrons to get new cards and have them present when checking items out, but also requiring a driver's license number and, *GASP*, a physical address before we would issue one to him. He's the same guy who then threw a big honking, screaming, shit fit about it, refused to apply for one, but then slunk back in a couple days later to apply for one anyway using an old license with an incorrect physical address, allowing him to skirt that part of the policy. This, of course, eventually brought down the anger of the "liberry" gods on his head and he was forced to pony up a real address. He's had several similar infractions since then, but has refrained from any more displays of ire.

"Sure," I said. "We do replacement cards, but we charge $1 for them."

Rick nodded amiably enough and I went about my business. I was determined, however, that if he was going to get a new card he was damn well going to show us a valid driver's license before we'd even look him up by name and it had damn well better match the information we have on file for him 100 percent.

About 20 minutes later, as I was moving to shelve some easy readers, I caught sight of Rick moving toward the circ desk. I'd planned to be there to help him myself, but suddenly switching gears to race back to do so when Mrs. B was already in place at the desk seemed like a hand-tipping move, so I continued on my way. As soon as I could, though, I crept back to the desk and tried to look busy rummaging in a drawer in order to witness the fecal hurricane that was sure to come.

Rick had, by then, already explained to Mrs. B what he needed. Before she could even ask for his license, though, he produced it for her. She looked at it, compared the information to that on the screen, replaced his barcode with a new one, collected his buck and sent him on his way. Mrs. C was standing nearby, I'm sure to be on hand for the storm as well.

"There's no way that license was valid," I said.

"Mm," Mrs. C said, noncommitally.

No, that exchange went way, way too easily. Granted, it's exactly the same process that would have happened for anyone with valid information, and there's always the off chance that his was. However, I somehow don't see Rick giving us anything as freely as he did unless he was scamming us. We've learned from experience that if transactions with Rick aren't like pulling teeth, he's up to something. Of course, maybe I'm the one who's being paranoid.

We grilled Mrs. B about the transaction, but she said everything matched up perfectly and there was nothing to call him on. I still doubt that Rick is actually living where his license and his account say he is, but we'll have no proof of it until he checks something out, keeps it too long and our overdue notice to him bounces back for a bad address.

Then again, I guess I could just Google his phone number.

Heh heh heh.

5 comments:

Ordinary Janet said...

Juice, you might just be the paranoid one here! ;-)

Gardenbuzzy said...

Juice, what an evil laugh! I would like to have heard that in person!

Anonymous said...

Why do you need to give someone with their own laptop a login?
What is that for? (Curious how other libraries work)

Tollula said...

Seriously. I think you are the paranoid one. Give the guy a break. Or maybe you need a vacation, because you are sounding bitter in your recent postings. :)

Juice S. Aaron said...

Tollula,

Bitter in only the most recent posts? Wow. I thought I'd been bitter a lot longer than that. : )

Still, while I freely admit to possibly being the paranoid one here, I'm not giving Rick any breaks. Nor, I think would most people who witnessed his screaming tantrum performed back when he first applied for said card and then repeatedly tried to lie to us to get around the rules.

I'll be civil, but I won't be trusting.