A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times




Hello, come in and sit down. We can talk if you’d like. But you should know I abhor gossip. I don’t understand why people do it. It’s just not in my nature.

Yes I do realise it’s important and if you need background I’m the best person to speak to. Excuse me for a moment.

‘Hi Arthur. How are you keeping?’

Sorry about that. Honestly a couple of our members are so scruffy I worry the paperbacks will absorb their germs. It happens. I read about it in the Daily Mail. I keep a bottle of Lysol under the counter just in case.

‘Hello Mabel. Umm, we’ve just got a new one. “Desperate Nights of Extreme Passion”. I put it by for you.’

Where was I. Oh yes. Working here, you get to be a bit like one of those psychologists you see on the TV – I’m a fantastic judge of character. Ask anyone. It’s amazing what you learn about people just from the books they borrow.

Take Margret. Her Charlie had a stroke last year. He’s over it now of course. Or so she says. But she’s gone through our entire “Black Lace” collection in the past six months. Before that she only ever borrowed “Good Housekeeping”.

Anyway. You want to know about that couple from in the paper. The ones that used to come here.

She used to be one of our regulars. Nice woman. Her name was erm. Dawn. She never ever brought a single book back late. She used to come in every Monday to pick up her “Mills & Boon”. She was quite a fan. I used to order them in especially for her. She was an unfortunate looking girl. But she had good teeth.

I think the first time I saw him was two years ago last January. It was a Monday. It was really cold and the council had run out of grit for the pavements so I was wearing my old boots and slipped and hurt my ankle, so I was stuck on the desk.

It was his first visit I think because I had to make him up a library card. Terrible fingernails he had. I never do trust a man who nibbles. He got out “Cooking for One”. I remember that because it’s got a good omelette recipe on page 42 and I mentioned it to him.

And then when they were leaving they bumped into each other. Literally knocked all the books they’d borrowed onto the floor. It was like one of those famous love stories. “Pride and Prejudice”, “Anna Karenina”, “Casablanca”. ‘Of all the libraries in all the world, that kind of thing …’ And I witnessed one of those ‘great romantic moments’ as they looked into each other’s eyes for the first time. Then they picked all their books up and left.

I presume they started courting soon after that. Dawn certainly stopped visiting so regularly. And the “Mills & Boon” stopped altogether. Oh there’s my assistant. Do you fancy a cup of tea?

‘Hi Trish. Be a love, we’re parched. Earl Grey. Just pop the books down dear, you can put them away later. Two please.’

So anyway. Next time I saw them they weren’t together, but they did come in on the same day. She got out a diet book. One of those faddy low fat ones. I don’t understand that. What’s the point in a life without cheese?

He was in about an hour later. He was looking a bit better actually. At least his coat wasn’t so creased. His book? Oh now that made me chuckle. His was on body building. Poor chap. There’s only so much you can do with what God gave you you know.

Then I was in hospital for a few weeks for my hip so I probably missed a couple of visits.

Next time it was summer and they came in together. They borrowed a bunch of wedding magazines. They were giggling and holding hands and she had a ring on. I remember thinking he can’t have had much money. But young love. It conquers all doesn’t it?

‘You are a dear Trish. Was that Robert I saw earlier? Did he bring back those vampire books? I do worry about him. All that black hair and jewellery. I must talk to his mother.'

You know one of the good things about working here is there’s no Hippocratic Oath for librarians. I’ve done a lot of good in my time. Ask anyone.

I forget which one I saw next. I’ll just check the history on the computer.

Oh yes. It was Dawn. She was in a good three months after that. She changed her surname and got some books out on fertility and getting pregnant. Everyone’s in such a hurry these days. But she’s not exactly a spring chicken I suppose. She re-stamped those eight months running. We had to write to her in the end to ask for them back. Then it doesn’t look like she came in for nearly a year.

Yes. This February. She got out six “Mills & Boon”. Never a good sign. Looks like she was up to her old tricks again after that. About six a fortnight from then on. Until.
Oh that’s right, HE came in just before. I remember now. Ordered a book on step-parenting. I said to Trish at the time – something odd’s going on there.

Now this one’s interesting. I don’t think I was here when Dawn got those out because I definitely would have remembered. “Do It Yourself Divorce” and “Car Mechanics for Dummies”. That is sad. But I guess the writing was on the wall from the beginning. Fingernails you see.

Now he’s only been back in once more in all that time. Last month. He got a dozen books on serial killers. I didn’t even know we stocked that many. Wouldn’t you know, he still hasn’t brought them back. He owes £7.52!

Oh. Of course he couldn’t bring them back being dead could he?

So how did it happen again Officer?

Brakes you say?

It’s amazing what you learn about people from the books they borrow.












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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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