“Hello, Miller residence!”
A voice, electronically distorted: “We know you have the book.”
“The library book. We know you have it.”
“I’m sorry, is this the library calling?”
“No. This is not the library. The library does not know we exist. The police do not know we exist. The FBI does not know we exist. Who we are is unimportant.”
“Is this some kind of prank?”
“This is no prank. You have a book checked out from the library that was due yesterday.”
“Gosh, I’m sorry, must have slipped my–”
“Do not interrupt us. You will return the library book. You will journey to the downtown library at midnight. You will be alone and unarmed. You will return the book in the drop slot.”
“This all sounds kind of cloak and dagger–”
“Silence! You will follow the instructions exactly if you ever want to see your puppy again.”
“Fluffers? You’ve got Mister Fluffers?”
A single woof sounds across the line, then silence. The call disconnects.
For several reasons I am pleased to report that this scenario did not take place. I would not object to intimidating someone into returning a library book I wanted to read, but I’m glad I didn’t have to dognap anybody. A life of crime sounds like a romantic existence, but I don’t want to take anyone’s dog. That kind of thing is for thugs. I do not want to be a thug. I want to be a rogue vigilante. There’s a difference.
I am also glad I was saved the indignity of referring to myself in the plural. It is pretentious. I understand that certain rogue vigilantes are pretentious, but I would rather be the salt-of-the-earth type, quietly bringing justice to the grateful citizenry.
“No, ma’am, that sack full of gold won’t be necessary, and while I appreciate the offer of your daughter’s hand in marriage, it raises a host of contemporary political and ethical issues of gender and government that are ill-suited* to the spaghetti Western that I am trying** to create here. Your smile is all the thanks I need.”
*Worked for Brokeback Mountain, though.
To be honest, my fantasy of being a Library Enforcer working in the gray area of the law is not so much about protecting the good townspeople. It’s got more to do with selfish demands, chiefly, that I be able to finish the series I’m reading.
The bad news is that the book in question was not overdue by a mere day. In my infinite grace I am capable of forgiving a book that is one day late. But the book I wanted was weeks late. I have many strengths. Patience is not one of them.
The good news is that it was returned yesterday. So, on the first day of the holiday weekend, quite in contrast to previous plans, I got dressed. And then I went to the library. And then I got the final volumes of Bone, Jeff Smith’s epic fantasy series of graphic novels.
So I was able to finish Bone (great series, by the way, with great characters, as evidenced by the two different times I cried in the final volume), but that’s all the fun I get to have this weekend, I’m afraid.
It occurs to me that other people spend holidays with friends and family doing… I’m not sure what, exactly, but I suspect it involves fun and excitement and tasty animal flesh cooked on a grill, or tasty veggie burgers for those who swing that way.
I intend to become that type of person someday. Really I do. Maybe for the Fourth of July weekend I will have fun and excitement. (But not the bit about the grill. Realistically, I am not at the point where I could manage a grill, even if I had one, which I don’t. My rate of progress with the slow cooker is… well: “slow” is the key word, here. I am not at a point where I should be trusted with food preparation.)
This weekend, however, I am going to try to finish that chapter on Fantasy, sweartogod (are you reading this, editor?) and I’ve got to do some more indexing and, for variety, I need to write an article. But once I finish those first two bits, I will become the sort of person who does not have Important Projects looming over her incessatly, at which point I shall join the ranks of people who eat tasty grilled things on holiday.