I have some extremely bitter
feelings about the way bingo turned out the other day. I only got a pack of toiletries
and a water bottle. I had my eyes on that flowerpot. It wasn’t dipped in gold,
but it might as well have been. The plastic was so shiny. I was last in line,
because I was taking an iconic bingo selfie. As I got closer, sweat was running
down my face like a football team. Then, the lady in front of me bought it with
her bingo tickets. She had to know I wanted it by how my sweat made me stink.
When she turned back to talk to me
about how my daughter’s oboe lessons were going, I’m sure she noticed I was
making flowerpot contact instead of eye contact. To the untrained ear, her
laugh when she talked to the bingo lady sounded like a friendly chuckle. I know
it was maniacal, like she had just assassinated Ronald McDonald.
Now I’m back for a crafting
program. We’re going to make dog and cat sculptures out of paint, some glue,
plastic cups, and other household items. I made a test model at home. Well, two
test models, because the first one spontaneously melted.
I sit down next to two ladies who
tell me all the library gossip. Apparently, one of the librarians put a large
print in the standard print section by mistake. Oh, the scandal! We all make
our sculptures, and the lady running the program said my use of glitter was
refreshing. I reminded her that my teeth are also very white and sparkly.
I leave the lovely Laman Library,
feeling like a craft project held together with the finest glue that money can
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
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.
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
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.