Well, well. Ain't we some sorry so & so's. There just ain't nuthin funny about today's library news. I go on the Google and I 'spect to see something worth mocking. Something a little off. Maybe eBooks started blowing right the hell up. No, all I see is budget news, LoC exhibits, libraries closing, protests, and do not get me started with how sick I am with that stupid "Asians in the Library" video (I am not linking to that crap, Google it if you must).
Now I have to go to my roots. Break out in dialect and shit. Maybe tell y'all a story.
Gather 'round after the jump.
My library mentor was a man named Library Bill. Bill worked reference back in the days before computers and had subsequently memorized the nonfiction collection. When the computers arrived, his first act was to spit on them. I found this encouraging as Bill had almost been thrown out of his MLIS program for peeing on a Coke machine in front of the dean.
On a sunny November morning, Bill was showing me how to use the Reader's Advisory books to pick up girls. We looked up as we heard shouting from the circulation desk. A mud-bathed man stood gesturing wildly as the poor circulation librarian retreated. Bill walked to the desk and I followed.
"Can we help?" Bill asked.
"Y'all got books on snakes?" the man asked.
"Follow me," the man said as he began following his own mud trail to the front door.
Library Bill and I shrugged and followed the man to a blue Chevy pickup, also covered in mud. In the cab was a sweet looking golden lab. You could hear the dog's whine as we approached.
The man lead us around the bed of the pickup. He paused for a moment for us to catch up, then threw a burlap sack on the ground. The sack moved.
"It bit my dog," Mudman said, wiping his nose with the back of his hand, "Need to know if its poison. Can't 'ford no vet less the dog's in trouble."
Bill and I again looked at each other again.
"Why's it alive?" Bill asked.
"Ain't gonna kill nothing for doin what its sup'osed to do, Bill. Plus, the vet might need it."
"Sounds fair," Bill said, "Open her up."
I was shocked to find he was looking at me. I shook my head, "Above my pay grade, sir."
The two men laughed and found a heavy stick to hold the snake down with while we identified it. Now, you may be wondering, who is calling animal control or the police? For the first part, guys like this were animal control. For the second, we lived in what you would call "meth country." The boys in blue had better things to worry about. Plus, all they would have done is stand around and argue about what kind of snake it was. Then maybe shoot it, endangering us all.
Anyway, the two of them wrangled the snake into a position where I could sketch out the markings. Mudman tied the snake back up and we went to the books. Five minutes later we had our identity and the dog was safe.
Mudman was soon gone.
Bill turned to me, his eyes a little far off, "Boy, I think I'm having a stroke. Damn snake scared the shit out of me. Here, call this number and tell my wife to come get me." His hand shook as he handed me a card with neat handwriting on it. Bill walked toward the front door.
"Where you going, Mr. Bill?" I asked after him, "Shouldn't I call the hospital?"
"I'm gonna have a cigarette," he said, smiling out one side of his mouth, "Now call my wife."
I watched the man walk out and sit on the curb in the parking lot while I dialed the number. When his wife answered, I told him what he said and she said she would be right there.
She came six minutes later. Then Bill was gone, too.