SETTING: My “liberry,” 6:37p on a Friday night during which I’m going to have to stay until 9p even though we close at 7p because there’s a rented function in our multi-purpose room and we have to have staff on hand to close up the building, but that’s okay cause I’ll actually get paid a lot better to do nothing in particular for two hours than I do to do my actual job.
ME— Tri-Metro County Library.
CALLER WHOSE BREATHY SING-SONG VOICE I SOMEHOW FAIL TO RECOGNIZE— Yes, I was hoping you could look up a book for me. Could you tell me the latest Sue Grafton? I think she was on Q.
ME— Actually, it's T is for Trespass.
CWBSSVISFTR— Maybe it was R. I know I already read P.
ME— Uh, no, it's--
CWBSSVISFTR— I think I maybe read R, though.
ME— (Interrupting) T is for Trespass... T is for Tresspass is Grafton's latest.
CWBSSVISFTR— Oh. Oh, she's on T already?
CWBSSVISFTR— Well, what was S?
ME— S is for Silence.
CWBSSVISFTR— And R?
ME— R is for Ricochet.
CWBSSVISFTR— Could you hold S for me?
CALLER— What time do you close?
CWBSSVISFTR— (Disappointed) Oh... Seven. (Pause) Well, what about if there's dangerous winds? Are you still going to be there if there are dangerous winds?
ME— ("Liberry"-Ninja Crazy-Sense begins to tingle strongly) Er... What?
CWBSSVISFTR— They're calling for dangerous high winds.
ME— (Looks out window where trees are barely moving in slight breeze.) Dangerous... winds?
CWBSSVISFTR— Yes. It's already a warning. The whole map is red. It’s everywhere. It's all red. We're under a warning right now and this time I really think it's going to happen.
CWBSSVISFTR— I was actually hoping to ride out the storm there in your building. I'm very frightened. But… (adopts pitiful and disappointed tone) you close at seven.
ME— (Crazy-Sense tingles unbearably.) Uh, yep. We close up at 7.
CWBSSVISFTR— Well, what about you? Are you going to try and risk going home in this weather?
ME— (Thinking about the function scheduled downstairs and how while we were technically going to be closed, the building itself would still be open and I’d still be here `til 9, but still not wanting to let her know this, cause my Crazy-Sense is almost never wrong and it's definitely blaring now.) Uh, yeah. I'm not worried about the weather. I have a vehicle.
CWBSSVISFTR— Oh, I have a vehicle too, but I don’t like to drive in bad weather. I don’t like bad weather. I’m very frightened. Maybe I could get in my bathtub.
(Long awkward pause)
ME— Um… Well… stay safe, then.
CWBSSVISFTR— I suppose I could try and come pick up my book tonight. I don't live very far away. You do have it there?
ME— Er, which one again?
CWBSSVISFTR— The Grafton.
ME— Yes, but which one? R? S? T?
CWBSSVISFTR— I would try to come and pick it up tonight, but… (pitiful, pitiful, pitiful) you’re closing. (Adopts very hopeful tone...) Unless you were going to stay open for a while? Because of the storm?
ME— No, we pretty much close at 7 on Fridays.
CWBSSVISFTR— (Disapointment bordering on dispair) Oh.
CWBSSVISFTR— But you’ll hold my book?
CWBSSVISFTR— I suppose you already know who this is, then?
ME— No, I don’t. What’s your name?
CWBSSVISFTR— Barbara Turdmurkle.
("LIBERRY" NINJA LOUD CLAXON CRAZY-ALARMS GO OFF IN HEAD. VISIONS OF BARBARA TURDMURKLE TURNING UP ANYWAY TO "RIDE OUT THE STORM" WITH ME DANCE TERRIFYINGLY IN MY HEAD. I WOULD BE TRAPPED WITH NO WAY TO AVOID HER SHIT-HOUSE-RAT-CRAZY PRESENCE BECAUSE SHE WOULD NEVER EVER LEAVE PROVIDED SHE HAD DANGEROUS HIGH WINDS AS AN EXCUSE TO STAY. AND OH, LORDY, SHE WOULD TALK AND TALK AND TALK AT ME, SPEWING CRAZY THE WHOLE TIME. I WOULD HAVE TO BARRACADE MYSELF IN THE STAFF BATHROOM AND SHE WOULD STILL TALK! *DANGER* *DANGER* *DANGER*)
ME— (Choosing words with extreme care so as not to make her think I want her to try and come in) Oh. Okayyy. Sure. We’ll have it here for you if you could come in in the next few days.
BARBARA TURDMURKLE— Maybe I’ll come by tomorrow.
ME— Yeah. Tomorrow. That would be good. You could do that.
BARBARA TURDMURKLE— Okay, then. Thank you so much for your help.
ME— You’re welcome.
BARBARA TURDMURKLE— Bye.
(I write Barbara Turdmurkle’s name on a piece of paper and walk over to Ms. D. I hold up the name for her to see.)
ME— You should remember this name and remember it well.
MS. D— Why?
ME— Ask Mrs. B.