Blog 8: Dream Cop

The night of the Infamous Burrito Drop of 2019, I had me one wild and crazy dream. The burrito spillage incident left me strangely hungry for burritos. I just wanted to treat melted cheese and ground beef the right way. Everyone has their own way of processing trauma, or so says the internet. Anyway, the world spun into view like a Microsoft PowerPoint slide transition.

I was in the lovely Laman Library, which is how we all referred to it, like it was a Hollywood starlet. I looked down, and I had a badge on my chest and a billy club on my belt. When I looked closely at the badge, there was the shape of a book engraved in it. Next thing I knew, there was a kid running down the aisle at over nine miles per hour. Red and blue lights flashed out my eyeholes and I was on his tail. We zig-zagged through all the empty shelves. The non-fiction collection was being moved around and condensed so they could put the fiction downstairs.

I shouted, “Freeze, punk!” and the little scamp transformed into a book. He floated in the air for a second, then hit the ground. I put him on the shelf and walked away awkwardly. Then, I heard the thump of hip hop across the library. When I got to the back, what did I see? A man blaring Kendrick Lamar in a public space. I like Kendrick, but there’s a time and place.

I said, “I am a sinner, who’s probably gonna sin again. Lord forgive me, things I don’t understand. Sometimes I need to be alone. Bi—“

He turned into a dang book, too. It really killed my vibe. I put him on the shelf, once again hoping that no one noticed. I got curious and opened him up and heard a scream. I walked away even quicker this time. I tried to restrain myself for a little while, but I kept seeing infractions, like leaving trash on the tables and breathing too loud in the quiet zone. I got so carried away, that I decided to go undercover.

I wrapped a secret microphone in a burrito tortilla, and placed it in the bathroom. I put my ear piece in, and waited outside. I heard my arch nemesis say, “It’s about that time again.” Then I heard some chewing noises that were just plain gross, so my dream replaced them with a drum solo. After the final crash of a cymbal, there was a pause. I was afraid he’d eaten all the way down to my listening device. Then I heard him say, “Well, I’ve eaten half the burrito. Time to get some cheese across that sparkly clean floor. Oh yeah, oh yeah.” Plop.

I burst through the door and held out my library card like a gun. He turned into a whole dictionary. I left the bathroom in a hurry, not having the time to look natural. I found a free chair in the reading area, which was hard, because the giraffes were having a meeting.

Then, a librarian dressed like Billy Idol came up to me with a cart full of the books that used to be unruly patrons.  She said, “Hey, little Terrance, what have you done? Hey, little Terrance who’s the only one? Hey little Terrance, shotgun!

I felt my arm squish, morphing into the table of contents. I woke up to my daughter, Penelope, laying with her head on the pillow next to mine, her torso on top of my arm. She’d had a bad dream, too. If I learned anything from this ground beef-induced experience, it’s that I should never take matters into my own hands at the library.

Blog 7: The Blog Awakens

I bought a new computer since I buried my exploded one in the backyard. The mourning period is over, and I am back playing solitaire. I am playing that sad, lonely digital card game, because my internet has yet to be repaired from when the shrapnel of my laptop impaled my modem. I need to recover financially before I can call the Cyberspace Squad to hook me up. I need to go to Laman so I can use their Wi-Fi. I bet all my Facebook friends think I died in the explosion, which I’m sure was covered on the local news.

I pull up at the library, and I walk up to the front desk, where I am greeted with a smile.

The library worker says, “Hello, Mr. Terrance. What can I do for you today?”

 I say, “Hello, [name redacted]! I was wondering, how do I connect to the Wi-Fi?”

“The name is Laman_Guest, and there’s no password.”

“Thanks, [Ol’ Namey Redacty].”

I go back into the study area, I open up my laptop, and I get connected to the interwebs. After I update my Facebook status, letting everyone know that I am, in fact, still alive; that I’m okay except I’m still having to draw on my eyebrows and exactly half of my beard. My eyes wander and they are caught by the glossy cover of Mad Magazine. I pick it up and take a look.

I laugh so loud that I am hushed by [Ol’ NR]. I ask if there’s any way I can check one out, and it turns out shelf lifts up like a magical treasure chest. The gold is back issues of my favorite publication, which I can enjoy in my own home without disturbing others. Well, except my daughters, but they’re already disturbed enough. They’re having to grow up with me, after all.

My redacted friend tells me they’re due in two weeks, which is plenty of time for hilarity to ensue. I leave feeling satisfied, though I am a little embarrassed about my noise pollution.

Blog 6: Time Keeps on Slippin’

By Lilith McFarlin

I got off work a little late today, but they didn’t suck all the life out of me, so I figured I’d head to the library. The fact that it’s Friday makes me think back to the crazy Friday nights I used to have. One time things got all fuzzy, then I woke up in a lush garden, just in time to dodge the bite of a giant Venus flytrap. He kept coming after me, so I grabbed a nearby squirrel by the tail and slung it at him. I ran away while he was chewing then prayed to Squirrel god for forgiveness.

Anyway, when I finally made it to Laman, it was all dark on the inside. I asked out loud to no one in particular, “What kind of voodoo is this? Did a witch make all the lightbulbs disappear?” Then I looked to my right and, to my horror, I saw posted on the window that the library closes at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. If this were Sunday, I really would have messed up because they’re closed all day. I opened my bag and said to my library book, “I’m sorry I didn’t get you home on time, but I am returning you the same as when you left. I hope I don’t have to pay a fee.” Then I remembered the last time I was late, they told me they don’t charge late fees. They didn’t even ask what my intentions are with their library.

I go home, disappointed in myself, but I have to remember that this is a learning experience. When I’m in my recliner, I read the last two chapters of The Stitch-Free Lover. It was so good, I had to read it twice. At least I didn’t have to renew it and keep it from someone else even longer. That’s the book that made me believe in love again. I can now feel the breeze of a bright future.

Blog 5: Problems

By Lilith McFarlin

Just like most days, that day was not my day. My Wonder Bread got stuck in the toaster so long that it caught fire. I tried to throw it out the window, but I missed and burned down my house of cards. I am proud that the whole thing burned without collapsing. The fireman didn’t seem too impressed. He also didn’t think it was funny when I apologized for making him late to his Village People reunion.

I needed some peace of mind, so I headed to Laman Library to smother my problems between the pages of a book. Once I was there, I am in desperate need of the restroom. I didn’t want to use my home toilet, because the place smelled like the smoke from my Aunt Martha’s Pall Malls, which brought back painful, prune-filled memories.

I walked into the restroom, and what did I see but a man with a half-eaten giant burrito in his hands. I swear the whole other half was on his face. My presence seemed to have set off some kind of alarm in his head. His eyes were baseballs when he said, “That’s it for the Bathroom Burrito hour. Tune in next time for an interview with my foot!” He then wiped his face with a paper towel, threw it on the floor, and ran off, leaving a trail of ground beef behind. I was disgusted. I thought I should tell the staff, but I didn’t want to be a snitch. I panicked. I needed to get it together, so I told myself: Terrance, this is not that kind of library. You can tell them when life throws you a fast one. They won’t beat you with a dictionary and steal your shoes in lieu of a fine. These are nice people.

I approached the front desk in what I thought was a calm, collected manner.

The library worker behind it said, “Sir, are you okay?”

I said, “I’m, uh, fine. There’s a mess in your men’s room.”

They said, “We’ll get that taken care of. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

I said, “I lost my library card when my beloved house of cards caught fire. It was my cornerstone. How do I go about getting a new one?”

They said, “Um, I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll just need to see a photo ID so I can look up your account, and a replacement card will be two dollars, since your card isn’t expired.”

“That is a small price to pay for access to such fine resources. Paying for this one might make me appreciate it more than the first.”

I needed to use the computer to print, so I hopped on the one next to the printer. I clicked and clicked, but all it would tell me was print release station. Where was my beloved Google Chrome? One of the library workers gently guided me over to the express computers where I logged in with my library card and pin numbers. I came back to the print release station, put in my card number again followed by my money, then I printed. Then I picked up the latest romance novel to warm my heart during my lonely nights and checked it out using my ID. All was right in the world. Except, on my way to my car my right foot tripped over my left foot and I skinned my knee. But the scab was in the shape of Justin Timberlake, which I took as a sign of good luck.

In Laman’s Terms 4: LINC Edition

This morning, my computer exploded in my face. Some of the shrapnel went up my nose, and I just coughed up a microchip. I drew my eyebrows back on with magic marker for the third time this month, and now I’m at Laman Library to use their computers. I lost my library card in the chaos that followed: My epileptic cat, Voltron, had an episode on my desk. The scratch marks on my hand look like Michael Jackson if you squint.

I tell the people at the desk in the computer lab about my conundrum, and they give me a guest pass for now. I can use the computers for two whole hours, which is enough time to fill out my job application, and to get caught up on the vegemite shortage in Australia. People are choking on dry toast down there.

I log onto the computer by clicking Login as Guest, then I type guest and all the numbers, like they told me. I fill out my job application and, when I’m done, I can’t find the submit button. Heaven help me. I throw myself on the mercy of the desk. They come over and find the button at the bottom of the application. It must have been hiding in some sort of cyberspace camouflage. I then print off my application information page that it showed at the end.

I leave, showing the staff my handsome, smiling face as my thank you.

We don’t have your book?

If I were eyelashes, I would be short, sparse, and in desperate need of mascara. Of course, my actual eyelashes are an American classic. What I really need is the newest book by my favorite author, Daphne Baker. You might say that romance novels are what really accentuate my features, like a good highlighter. Just kidding, I don’t know what that is. I’m a man. And so was David Bowie.

Anyway, I have once again parked in front of my favorite library, ready for them to serve me up a fresh helping of D Bake. I look on the new shelf, and you wouldn’t believe it. My book’s not there. Someone may have checked it out. Who wouldn’t want to read a romance novel about a forbidden romance between a nudist and a tailor’s daughter? I search for it on the OPAC, and it isn’t there. I’m not the best speller, so I ask the front desk to look it up for me. The desk says nothing, as it is an inanimate object, so I ask the person behind the desk.

She searches for it, and tells me that they don’t have it. Though it is hard for me to admit, I flew into a rage so hot, there must have been volcanoes in my eyes. I demanded to speak to whoever orders the books. I need to read The Fabric-Free Lover, or my heart will erupt.

They call down the acquisitions librarian, and I demand to know why I am being deprived of my full-frontal joy. She tells me that it hasn’t been ordered yet, because the demand wasn’t quite high enough. I tell her that it is number nine on the romance list. She hands me a suggestion form, which I can ask for at the front desk whenever I need it. Since the book is fairly new and popular, it will probably be ordered. If they get it, it will be put on hold for me, and I’ll be called the day it comes in. If not, I’ll still get a call. I’ll make sure I’m sitting down when I answer the phone, just in case. I breathe. I will keep coming to Laman, even though I feel like the fabric that attempted to constrain the bare-bottomed Romeo I desire to read about. Before I leave, I check out the book sale. The books are only a quarter a piece, so I buy sixteen for four dollars.

I leave the library, hopeful that I’ll get to read my book without paying nineteen dollars at the bookstore, and I point my car in the direction of Ulta Beauty. I mean Home Depot, which isn’t far from Ulta Beauty where I’ll buy something for my wife who I’m totally still married to, not mascara for me.

A few weeks later, I am sitting in my Perfectly-Good-Work-Ethic Boy Recliner, reading The Fabric-Free Lover. It ends with a beautiful compromise between the nudist and the tailor, where the nudist agrees to wear a clear bowtie to his wedding and nothing else. But the father of the bride is happy to design such a garment. I am pleased.

The Children’s Department

I pull up to the Children’s side, where me and my Penelope stroll in like it’s the red carpet. Why didn’t anyone take our picture? Who am I wearing? Wal-Mart and Hanes, thank you very much. Penelope’s a good kid, I tell the front desk, even though she never eats her vegetables, and she once karate chopped a man in half for looking at the back of her head the wrong way. So naturally, I need to sign her up for a library card. I return my books, which I can also do in the Children’s Department. I ask if there is a fine, and they say they don’t charge for late books.

I ask what I need to do to sign Penelope up for a library card. I tell them I have a copy of her mugshot if they need it. They tell me they only need to copy my information onto her account, since she’s there with me. While we’re getting that taken care of, Penelope plays with the toys they have available.

Penelope’s card is ready to go. They have Storytime every Tuesday and Wednesday at ten-thirty in the morning, which I’ll be sure to tell her mother about. I ask them if they can look up and see if they have the movie, Labyrinth. It was my favorite as a kid. It’s available to stream on one of the lovely apps they offer. I’m glad they’re making David Bowie accessible to the youth of America.

I turn around, and Penelope has left the toys behind and has some Captain Underpants books that I totally didn’t ask her to find, along with a cool one about leopards and such. I ask them if they have The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and they get it from the Teen Center for me. We leave, feeling satisfied. She’ll have something to do while I kick back and watch the Goblin King prance around in all his spandex glory.