“I nominate Natalie Ford to be our new children’s librarian,” I said to the board of directors, “She has the requisite Master’s of Library and Information Science, experience in both management and library work, and both myself and Betty Lou observed her perform an excellent, well-prepared story time.”
Mrs. Carol Anne Kinney cleared her throat, “We would like to take the time to appreciate how hard your staff and and yourself have worked to fill this position before the month is over, even over more important matters.”
Mrs. Kinney was of course referring to the theft of her pet project, the Little Banned Library, which had been stolen earlier in the month.
She continued, “But before we vote on accepting your nomination to this very important position, could you please tell us about the other candidates you interviewed.”
I felt my head tilt to the left. Her eyes narrowed a bit and I could swear there was a hint of smile on her lips. I looked around at the other members of the board present. Only six had shown, over half the number of the total members and exactly the number that was needed to hold a meeting. To Kinney’s left, Mr. Baker sat staring at me intently with his little piggy eyes. Beside him, Mr. Carpenter mopped the back of his neck and stared at the table in front of him. Three chairs down, Ms. Smith checked her phone for the sixth time this meeting. To her left Ms. Archer took a drink from her water, taking a piece of ice into her mouth with a sucking sound. Mr. Fletcher adjusted in his seat, his suit not made for listening. To my right, Betty had her pen poised to take notes for the minutes.
“Um, sure,” I said, “We rejected three out-right. For obvious reasons, we cannot hire the man who stabbed Dave. I feel McCraw holds promise and I am going to offer him a practicum position with the library through the school. Mr. Folds is an ex-convict, and while that would not exclude him from regular positions, I feel he should not be in the library considering as to why he was incarcerated. Finally, Ms. Devillis has no library science degree or experience.”
“But you had her do a story time anyway?” Mr Baker said. Carol Anne Kinney patted his hand.
I started then stopped. How did he know that? And why were he and Kinney so close?
“Yes, she and Ms. Ford both performed a story time because-”
“So she does not have the experience, yet you treated her the same as the person you are nominating?”
“Well, yes, but only because I have a prior relationship with-”
Archer held up a hand, “We know about your relationship with Ms. Ford, Evan. Everyone in town did.”
I looked down at Betty. She had stopped taking notes and her jaw was hanging open.
“I’m sorry about what you think you know, but Natalie and I have only been friends,” I said.
“Whatever you say, Mr. Banned,” Kinney said.
“I nominate Ava Devillis for the position of children’s librarian,” Mr. Fletcher said, “As her resume shows, she has experience with children as well as a child herself. She’s perfect, all motherly.”
“I have to protest this, Carol Anne,” I said, “I do not think that person could effectively work in this library. Also-”
Kinney held her hand up again to stop me, “Mr. Banned, you gave her the same deviation in interview as someone you claim is perfect for this position. That tells us you at least think she is on par with this ‘more qualified’ person. Now, let’s vote.”
What more could I say? That the only reason I had given Ava Devillis the story time was because I could not stand to talk to her? That I had hoped she would crash and burn? Hell, as obnoxious as the woman was, her storytime was not that bad even with the nonexistent preparation she exhibited. But what the hell?
“All in favor for Natalie Ford?”
Mr. Carpenter raised his sweaty handkerchief in the air. Ms. Smith looked up from her phone and raised a hand as well.
“All in favor of Ava Devillis?”
Carpenter, Archer and Fletcher all raised their hands. My heart sank.
“That settles it. Mr. Banned, could you please contact Ava Devillis with the news and tell her she is to start the first week in July and to begin preparations for the summer reading program. Now, let’s move on to more significant business...”
Her voice drown out as I sat back in my chair. I felt Betty’s hand on my knee, a small comfort to the feeling of my stomach falling to the floor. What the hell just happened?
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