"I don't know about this, Evan."
"Don't worry, Mom, I think this is going to work out okay. The kids remind me of me when I was that age."
"God help us."
Mom walked off while I waited behind the circulation desk. For a Monday, today had been pretty quiet. Standard old farts on the Internet and then the moms and kids after school, but not the usual rush that we often get.
At around four o'clock, things changed when I got a call from Adam's mom. After Adam and his friends had trashed the nonfiction section filming their stunt show and police collected the teenagers, I talked to Captain Stein for a smaller punishment for Adam and his girlfriend Bernadette because they helped me clean up the mess. The kids had gotten off with community service and I volunteered the library for Adam and Bern.
During the conversation with Adam's mom, I made a mental note that Adam had a mom that cared. She made me promise twice to make him call her when he arrived and before he left so she could keep tabs. I was not so sure about his dad, though, as near the end of the call a deep voice kept yelling her name and calling for a beer.
Adam and Bern walked in about five o'clock. Both were wearing dark, baggy shirts and pants with matching skulls bright on their chests. I sighed and walked over to them.
"Adam, Bernadette, how's it going?"
"Okay," she said, not looking me in the eye.
"She likes Bern," Adam said, looking at an old man sitting at a table reading a magazine.
"Okay, sounds good. First let me give you some basic rules. We don't have a strict dress code, but from now on when you come to work don't wear anything with a design, ad or cartoon or anything on it, okay?"
"This is from the Misfits. It's not Satanic," Adam said.
"I know where it's from. I been a Danzig fan from way back, and it's fine for today, but from now on nothing with words or an obvious message. We try not to endorse much around here. Plus, mom may make you wear one of the old summer reading shirts from ten years ago and I know you don't want that."
"She can try."
"Don't let her hear you say that. Next I'll give you a little tour and show you where everything is."
"We know about the library," Bern said.
"I know that, too. You did good with the carts last time. It's why you're here and not out grabbing garbage like your friends. Refresher courses aren't always bad and it gives me a break off the desk. Plus you can meet everybody."
The kids did not seem to care about... well, anything really, so I showed them around. They both liked Jessie and were good around Mom. I threw out a quiz here and there and they both knew the basics of the Dewey Decimal System, how biographies were aranged and other basic library knowledge. I gave Bern a fiction cart and Adam a nonfiction cart and sent them to work. I had to go up and get Adam to call his mother and we called her to assure her that Adam was working.
"They seem okay," Mom said.
"Yeah, told you."
"Don't say that to your mother. But you were right."
"I'll remember you said that."
"I'll forget that crack you made about my summer reading shirts."
"You heard that?"
"Mmmm, hmmm," Mom said.
"I still say they're ugly as sin."
"I designed those myself."
"I won't hold that against you."
"Don't you have a job to do?"
I started pushing buttons on the computer, "Doing it."
She walked away from the circulation desk and closed the door to her office.
This was a quiet Monday after all.
Until the two other kids showed up yelling, that is.
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