"I'm bringing these back," she said in a genial tone. Then she moved off toward the New Fiction section.
Now the lady looked a little familiar but I couldn't quite place her face. When I checked in the first book, though, the patron record of one Mrs. Carol Satan popped up.
I didn't want to believe it at first. My eyes said the record was hers, but my other senses, particularly my nose, usually detect her presence long before I actually lay eyes on her. Mrs. Carol Satan, you see, traditionally smells like a heaping bowl of that old Christmastime favorite, Aunt Linda's 3-Unfiltered-Lucky-Strikes Salad.
(RECIPE: In a large dirty ash-tray, mix together three packs of half-smoked, unfiltered Lucky Strikes, three 10 oz cans of Veg-All, a handful of Junior Mints and three cigarette-pack-cellophane-wrappers full of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Toss. Serves seven.)After a few minutes had passed, Mrs. Carol Satan returned to the circ desk with a stack of seven or eight hardback books. She placed them on the edge of the counter, but did so a bit faster than advisable, for the whole stack tumbled over, avalanching toward the back edge of the desk. Fortunately, my "liberry" ninja skills kicked in and I caught the whole tower before a single one could fall. What happened next, though, came completely as a shock.
"Oh, I'm SO sorry!" Mrs. Carol Satan said. And there was genuine regret in her voice as she said it. Granted, it was regret crusted over by layers of tar, but it was regret all the same. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to let them fall like that."
"That's... that's okay," I said.
Mrs. Carol Satan continued to be very nice as I checked out her books. First, she readily offered her library card without having to be asked, made chit-chat with me while I scanned and stamped each one and seemed remarkably pleasant for a woman who has repeatedly blessed me out for issues that were her own fault. She even smiled. SMILED! And still I couldn't smell any cigarette fumes coming off of her. In fact, she smelled... pretty good, really. Was this somehow a twin sister? Maybe a Mirror Universe escapee, sans goatee? Why was she being so nice to me?
And I still don't know. Mrs. Carol Satan gathered up her books when I was finished with them, wished me a good day and vanished through the doors, a smile still upon her lips. I was floored! This was a turnabout in behavior that could not possibly have been achieved without divine intervention, or at least a few visitations of the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, Future and Zyban.
Mrs. Carol Satan: recent divorcee?