Not much happens, then suddenly something does.
A woman appeared at the desk, a real in-person patron. She was a tallish white woman wearing so many toy necklaces so that she looked bundled in a plastic, multicolored scarf. She had on a brown leather flight jacket and a large floppy cowboy hat, the cloth kind.
I guess she is a regular, who lives in an explicitly more interesting and dangerous reality than the rest of us. All her questions and concerns are animal focused.
I was told, later, that, in the past, she has researched racoons. Why? because a friend of hers had purchased a bed which was awfully infested by racoons. From her report, they lived on the underside of the mattress and clawed at her friend all during the night. She thought they might be trying to get out that way.
She started talking very loudly to the librarian at the desk, “Do you keep books on animals here? Well, really animals and insects. Well, really, insects. I know. I have used them here before. Maybe (pointing down the stacks) somewhere down there. I just need to know where they are kept. Then I can use them.”
Librarian: Well, we do have some, but not as….
Woman: My roommate was bitten by a scorpion. And I know I have used the animal books here before. I just need to know like what a
scorpion bite looks like and how to treat it. Because my roommate was bitten or is it stung? Anyway, I need the books on the insects. Scorpions are insects, right. (SIGHS LOUDLY) I dunno.
Librarian: The books on animal bites and that sort…
Woman: Scorpions. I guess they are animals. Maybe, more insects. My social worker told me to get the information. He had been bitten too. They are everywhere this time of year. How long does it take for the eggs to hatch after it bites you?
Woman: Even my social worker had been bitten. I watched him pull two eggs right out of his chest. (starts to walk down toward the books) So maybe I can just look at some books and figure it out, since no one here… (stops dead, spins around and returns to the desk) You did say the insect books where down there? I do not want to get lost, no one knows I am here. I did not tell anyone I was coming straight here. Plus they were busy with the eggs. (SIGHS)
She did read some books. Or at least left some scattered around the table she sat at for a few hours. None of them were about scorpions.