I could see her face at the window. It was the fourth time this month. Didn’t she have somewhere else to go? No, obviously not. A small glob of spit clung precariously to her lip. It was cold out. It was inevitable that her mucous would be a bit on the runny side. Still, understandable or not, I would be the one to have to clean off the renegade dribbles from the window. Fuck me.
I learned long ago to never put the lights on if I arrived to work early. It just attracted them like so many soulless zombie moths to an equally soulless flame. It acted as a beacon of false hope. Clearly the hours of operation posted on the door and on our website meant nothing to her or to “them”. I knew they could read, I had witnessed it many times before. However, for some reason the particular combination of letters and numbers beneath the bold words “Hours of Operation” made people utterly stupid.
She shifted her significant girth against the window. I thought it might even crack. Her ridiculously large eyes probed the darkness. I knew she couldn’t see me sitting at my desk. I was in the darkest corner of the reading room. Even if the lights in the office were on I would still be sitting in the dark. The motion detector for the lights in the reading room was fucked. I would work for ten minutes then the lights would go off. I would wave in the air like an idiot to no avail. I would get up and do the light dance in the hope that the irritating fluorescent lights would click on, to no avail. Eventually I simply gave up. I embraced darkness.
Twelve minutes until the library opened. Twelve minutes before I had to open the door to allow the dribbling bulbous eyed cretin in. I could predict her movements. She would walk through the door with a stunned look. She would avoid making eye contact with me. This would not be a bad thing. She would undulate her way over to the large wooden table in the reference room. She would present me with a list of call numbers written in some alphabet that only slightly resembled letters of the English alphabet. She would tell me about why she wanted the books. I would try to boil her brains with my super powers but I have no super powers so I would have to settle for replaying 20 Minute Workout videos in my mind. 4 more….3 more….2 more… . I would retrieve the books. I would have to listen to her wheezing and snorting and farting. I would have to listen to her mumbling and her giggling and her artificially random remarks. She would try to get my attention, try to have me engage in her world of tedium. I would return to Holly Butler bending over on the rotating stage. 4 more….3 more….2 more… . Eventually she would finish with her book bonanza. She would schlep toward the door and blither something about tomorrow. I would cringe. She would leave. I would see her cross the street and I would feel no relief because tomorrow is always around the corner and the doors are opening in one minute. I will sit in the darkness for a moment longer.