Oh shit. He’s standing at the door waiting for me.
“You’re late.” Angela’s new boss held up his arm and pointed repeatedly at his watch. “Two minutes. To be precise. Ask Miss Warboyes to man the front desk and come into my office as soon as you’ve sorted yourself out. I want a word with you.”
“Yes, Mr. Davies.”
Two bloody minutes. What’s two bloody minutes? Angela mumbled under her breath as she hung up her coat and put her handbag in the locker in the staff room. Then she stormed over to Mr. Davies’ office, which was neatly set in a corner at the far end of the village library, and tapped on the door.
Angela stood before the large oak table feeling like a little schoolgirl waiting to be given a hundred lines to write out.
I must not be late—I must not be late—I must not be late.
“Miss Adams, this is your first day at this establishment and you were not on time. What have you got to say for yourself?”
“I’m sorry, but the bus was delayed, Mr. Davis.”
“Then tomorrow you will catch an earlier bus. I cannot have customers standing outside my library in the cold just because a bus is late.”
“No, Mr. Davids. I mean yes, Mr. Davies.”
“Now go and relieve Miss Warboyes, and I’ll come along shortly with your instructions for the day.”
Angela walked back to the desk to relieve Miss Warboyes while mumbling obscenities under her breath. Pompous old git. If he thinks I’m catching the early bus just to get here and open his bloody library, then he’s got another think coming.
“Good morning Miss Adams.”
“Good morning Miss Warboyes. I’ve got to wait here for Mr. Davies. Then he’s going to show me what to do.”
“Ah, you’ll like that, Angela. Can I call you Angela?”
“Yes Phyllis. It’s okay to call you by your first name? It’s on the label on your blouse.”
“Yes, that’s fine and much more friendly than last names, don’t you think?”
Angela was about to reply, but Miss Warboyes had quickly disappeared as Mr. Davies came along the aisle marked videos.
“Now Miss Adams, I want you to start at one end of the library, maybe the far end opposite my office, and work your way down through all the shelves and tidy them up, please. This will help you get used to the layout of the library while helping us to keep the place clean and tidy. Off you go now.”
Angela dragged her heels as she sauntered to the far end of the library and began looking at the many books on the shelves. How on earth do I tidy this lot up? she thought. They don’t even look untidy to me.
Angela looked around at all the shelves and the labels. Then she had an idea. She began with the section marked Religion and Spirituality. She took all the books off the shelves and laid them out in various piles on the floor. The first pile comprised copies of The Bible.
Then she moved on to the History section and placed all the books on the floor so that she could read the titles and subjects. Then she looked around the corner to where the children’s books were and brought piles of them to the same area and stacked them up in subject order. Animals, pets, dinosaurs, fairy tales. She ended up with many piles spread out in front of her.
She dusted the shelves and removed all the labels. Then she began placing the books back on the shelves, beginning with the copies of The Bible and working her way through the many stacks of books until she felt she had them all in chronological order, according to Angela.
Angela proceeded with this method throughout the day, only stopping for a brief lunch break. She renewed the labels according to which books were on the shelves below them. At four o’clock, she stood back to survey her good work. Feeling very pleased with herself, she turned to where she could hear footsteps coming her way.
“Ah, Miss Adams. It’s now four o’clock and if you’ll follow me, then I will show you the procedure we use for closing the library.”
Angela began walking behind Mr Davies, but then he stopped suddenly.
“Miss Adams, I see the labels on the shelves have changed.”
“Yes, Mr Davies. I decided to rearrange the books and put new labels up so that the public would be able to find the books they wanted easily.”
Mr Davies looked around the library, eyes wide and opened mouthed with utter disbelief showing on his now pale face.
“Why have you stacked all The Bibles near the door? I don’t understand.”
“Well, I thought it would be a good idea to start at the beginning, so to speak. The Bible is about how the earth began and so I put them on the shelves by the door. Then I found all the books about stars and planets, and that led me to the books about spaceships and things like that and the moon landings. Then I got all the kids’ books about dinosaurs and put them next, followed by the cave dwellers. I went through all the history books with our kings and queens. From Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I through to our present royal family. There are a lot of books on our royal family and kids’ books too. Then I found The Industrial Revolution and books on sailing ships right through to modern cruise ships. Oh, and I’ve labelled the shelves accordingly with little arrows so that the children can easily find what they are looking for. It’s like the history of the world in order of the books on the shelves.
Mr Davies' face went whiter. He paced up and down with his hands on his head. His lips were moving, but no sound came out apart from a faint, but..but..but.
Then he said, “I think I’m going to faint.”
“Are you feeling unwell Mr Davies?”
“I am now Miss Adams. I cannot believe what you have done to my library. How on earth is anyone going to find their way around now, let alone find the books they are after?”
”Well, they can come and ask me at the desk, of course.” Said Angela.
“I’m not having this. I'm giving you instant dismissal for completely messing up my beautiful library.”
“Oh, but you can’t, Mr Davies.”
“And why not? You’re on a three-month trial aren’t you and I have every right to dismiss you on the spot.”
“No, Mr Davies. The lady at the job centre asked me if I wanted to do a three-month trial or sign up straight away for a three-year contract. I signed the three-year contract. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”