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General

“George, pick your coat up out of the aisle.”

“Cecilia, your book is not a stool; please don’t stand on it!”

“Can I help you find anything, Mr. Henry?”

“Doing well, Cheryl?”

It was my job, as a librarian, to make sure the library was in shape. Politeness and respect for others encouraged them to come to the library. Asking the children to fix things that they were doing wrong kept our library clean. While none of these things were my favorite things, however, I still did them well.

My most favorite thing was sorting books. Not shelving them, which put a nonstop ache in my back, but looking at them and sorting through them. Which ones needed taped together, which ones were no use, which ones people read, which ones never had been read, and buying more books.

I never did like selling books or giving them to other libraries, because I felt like they were all in a family, and to sell or give away some of the books meant splitting up family. At my own home, I had three empty rooms since my children had left (that is, upstairs), and turned them into libraries. The downstairs rooms that were empty turned into guest bedrooms. My shelves were only half full with my own books and books from the library.

This morning was one of those days. Those days where you’d just rather lie under the covers and sleep, those days when you’d much rather prefer to hide away from everyone else, those days when you just aren’t happy at all.

My coworker, Sandy Owens, noticed right away that something was wrong. My usual cheeriness was not present, and my hello must have sent chills down her spine it was so icy.

“Good morning, Chief!” Sandy chirped in the lounge room, shutting the big door. She hung her coat and purse up on the coat rack and headed straight over to the coffee maker, which I had just turned on.

“Hi,” I said, chucking a broken disk (in its case) into the trash can next to her. She ducked and it flew into the wall, then fell into the trash can. 

“Woah, somebody’s in a bad mood,” she analyzed, slowly pouring her coffee into her mug.

“Phht! Yeah, Charlie called in sick, Emma called to say that she’s stuck in rush hour traffic backed up to who knows where, and you leave early today. Who’s in a bad mood? I’m perfectly fine! As long as I have my library, I’m perfectly happy!” I retorted, chucking another broken disk into the trash can on the other side of the coffee table, which was, again, over Sandy’s head.

There was another perfectly good trash can across the room from me, but I had a feeling I was purposely taking my anger out on Sandy for no good reason, not to mention the disks I had just broken in my fury.

“Actually, I’m not leaving early,” Sandy said quietly pouring her cream in. 

She liked just a little bit of cream in her coffee, so it was basically black. I personally liked coffee-flavored cream. “Why? You don’t have to stay on my account.”

“You said you weren’t in a bad mood,” she objected.

“I mean, you don’t have to leave because of the fantasy you’ve created of my being upset,” I hastily corrected, hoping this last disk could be repaired.

She eyed the disk I held in my hands as I clicked the three pieces into place. She moved away from the trash cans. “Um, no, it’s just that Brad’s mom is going into surgery today since the doctor has to perform an emergency surgery tonight.”

“Oh. I hope all goes well, I guess,” I said meaninglessly, setting the last disk into the trash can under my desk.

She looked shocked, and a little hurt. I blushed. “I mean, oh, you were right, Sandy! I’ve been such a jerk, and I’m sorry. I’ve just been so…bummed out. And nothing sad really happened, so I don’t know what’s wrong. Maybe it’s the weather,” I shrugged, glancing out the window into the foggy misery.

She set her coffee down and hugged me. “I know exactly what you need, Chief.”

“Not an aspirin or a sleeping pill,” I joked coldly, wiggling out of the uncomfortable embrace.

“Nope. A good ole’ book shopping day!” she exclaimed.

“Alright. But what makes you think that I should?” I asked, grabbing my purse.

“Breaking those Veggie Tales disks convinced me. And the throwing them at my head was a compelling factor,” she grinned, handing me the key to ‘The Desk’. 

‘The Desk’ was the desk with a secret compartment that held all the money. The bank refused us for some odd reason, and we had to hide the money well due to three break-ins last year.

“Thank you, Sandy. Good luck!” I smiled, for the first time that day.

I hopped into my car and drove to the nearest bookstore, Pages and Paragraphs. Their selection was few, but enticing, and had a lot of books people requested.

“Good morning, Becky! What’s on the agenda today?” Emilie smiled from behind her desk.

“Shopping, shopping, shopping!” I laughed. “Do you happen to have these books?” I handed her the fat notebook that had grown in the past month.

While she disappeared into her giant notebook with the list of books, I looked around at the self-help stack on a library cart. After picking out a few, I decided one more would do it. I scoured the cart, wanting to make sure the book was the perfect one. I found a red book, rather worn and misplaced among the shiny new books.

I opened it to old writing, cursive, and dates back to 1915. Its pages were brittle and smelled like a very nice old book (don’t judge, it’s one of my favorite smells). I turned to Emilie, who had stacked up most of the books I had wanted. 

“Find a few?” she laughed, seeing my armfuls of books. 

“Uh, yeah,” I said, setting them down on the counter. “Is this one for sale?” I held up the book that looked like a diary.

She pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Of course! Why wouldn’t it be?”

“It’s a, uh, diary, I think,” I answered, handing it to her.

She flipped through it and handed it back to me. “Odd. You can keep that for free. Do you want to pick another?”

I reached back and snatched the Little Women copy that three women requested this week. “Yup, and that’s it. Can you possibly help me with these?” I motioned to the several large Braum’s sacks. 

She grinned. “Sure.”

After we struggled to shove the bags in the back seat, I thanked her again and set off to the library. Before I arrived, I called Sandy to acquire her assistance. She came out promptly and heaved the sacks into a little red wagon.

Once we were inside, I removed the little book from my purse and showed it to Sandy. “This was on the self-help shelf.”

She flipped through it excitedly. “Oh my gosh, Becky! You found my great-grandma’s diary!”

“How? What?!” I asked, shocked.

“Yeah, my grandma told me a week ago that she sold her mother’s diary. I wasn’t too happy since I loved this little thing. But you found it!” Sandy exclaimed, throwing her hands around my neck.

“You know what?” I asked her.

“What?” she asked.

“I don’t think I’ll need to throw broken Veggie Tales disks at you anymore!” I grinned.

She laughed and went off to read the lost and found diary, leaving me to feel accomplished, and not in a bad mood.


January 24, 2020 23:55

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4 comments

Yoomi Ari
22:35 Jan 29, 2020

I love this story! Well done! I knew this was a good story when I read the title!

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Alaina Logan
22:37 Feb 03, 2020

Thank you! I wasn't sure if it would go ok because I used the title of a song from the new Mary Poppins 😂

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Nikkianne Spaans
21:58 Jan 29, 2020

Good work, I also occasionally feel the need to throw broken veggie tales disks.

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Alaina Logan
22:35 Feb 03, 2020

I was looking through our DVD's and CD's and found at least four veggie tales disks, and I was hit with an idea. I guess you really never know when you can get one. Thank you!

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