What is it about old books that fosters the weird in both used bookstore owners and librarians? It seems these places are a haven for the socially awkward. And the power trip -- oh boy!
"I've got a couple of books on hold," I said, presenting my library card to a man so thin he must have been steam cleaned while clothed, subsequently hung out to dry, and then blown off the line only to land on his librarian stool.
"Did you get a call?" he shouted, from behind a steel bookshelf.
"A couple of days ago."
There was some mad shuffling. His shaking hands flew above the shelf and then smacked at his sides.
"Howe," he said. "We got anything for MC Howe?"
"Right here," said another one, wearing baggy pajama pants and a squared off afro, circa 1992. He waved the books at me as he brought them over. "It was more than a couple days."
"It was Wednesday," I said.
"You only get five days," he glared
"Okay," I said. "You called Wednesday. Thursday was Thanksgiving. You were closed on Friday."
"We was open Saturday."
"I was out of town."
"I'm here today. Are those my books in your hand?"
"They might well have been shipped off."
"I suppose, but it seems they weren't."
"Cause you were lucky. You only get five days."
"So I've heard. I'm blessing my stars. Can I have my books?"
And now I don't even want to read them.