The Friday before St. Paddy’s Day and all through the library, not a creature was stirring, something something holy hell I can’t think straight.
I’ll play catch up for the week just to calm down a bit and then tell you about the phone call I just got.
Tuesday was blah, nothing much. Wednesday I got my new glasses in and I can see again! Sorta. They take some getting used to. My last pair were round and these are square, so it is kinda like there’s a certain field I can see now instead of a wide panorama. Also, this non-blurry box causes some depth issues when riding my bike to work because the ground up close below my literal line of sight bends a bit. I will get used to it but it can be disorienting as hell.
While I was out getting my glasses, I missed our former board member and now creepy dude all around, Mr. Roman Fletcher about town. You guys might remember him as the only member not present when I got stabbed and Natalie was kidnapped and bound up like a turkey. He escaped all prosecution and left the board “out of respect” he called it, but every once in awhile he stops in. I have not mentioned him before because I never seem to be here when he drops in. Always really early in the morning or on my off day. That is fine because I find him a strange little monster, always with a big grin on his fat face that hovers like a pumpkin on a stick on the little skinny ties he wears.
Seems today Mr. Fletcher came around to show off his son who has come back into town. The son did not follow in the family business of... you know, I do not remember what Fletcher did before he retired. I want to say it was something to do with music, but that’s not right. Anyway, Max Fletcher is a teacher of all things.
Jesse told me he was going to stop by on Monday to catch up. I can’t imagine what Max wants to catch up about. Sure, we were in high school at the same time, but while I was busy drinking and having fun Max was wrapped up in church and whatever the student body president does.
That’s not what I want to say here though. I want to talk about what I just heard.
We had just finished the last rush of the day, the last real push of Spring Break. For some reason like clockwork the kids stick to the schedule and at five in the afternoon are out of here and on their way home. Despite Cassidy doing programs until eight or even later (and threatening to do a lock-in), they bug out on their little bicycles every day around a five.
Cassidy and Caleb waved goodnight to me and I settled in with a book on that Kindle browser app on the computer to give the impression that librarians do more than just sit and read. Don’t look at me like that. Have you ever been a night librarian? I’m here from three in the afternoon until midnight. Trust me, there’s plenty of time to get things done between listening to pins drop.
So anyway, the phone rings and I pick it up.
“Banned Library. This is Evan, how can I help you.”
I hate that this is instinct now. My face pulls into that rictus fake grin the call center so many years ago beat into me. I swear, I could be calling my mom or my for cancer results and that same grin will appear on my face because “they can hear you smile on the other end.” Old habits.
So I answer and I hear nothing. Repeat.
“This is the Banned Library. Can I help you?” I say.
“I killed her,” the voice said.
I was silent. Believe it or not, this was not the first weird call I have taken at the library.
“I killed her,” the voice repeated.
It could have been man or woman. The voice was high in pitch, but like in a panic not naturally. Like on the verge of laughter. A low woman or a high man’s voice.
“Who did you kill?” I asked.
“I apologize, but this is a public phone and not for playing games with. I am going to hang up now and if you call back I will take your number from caller I.D. and contact the police. Good night,” I said.
“I killed Betty.”
That stopped me. Betty’s murder had been pinned on Darling. I had seen him over her. He had claimed innocence, but... This made me angry.
“Goodbye,” I said and hung up before the caller could bait me.
I sat back in my chair at the circulation desk, looking around to see if anyone had noticed. Two guys waiting on the shelter to open at nightfall sat reading magazines. Another man was digging through the used books. I just sat there.
The phone rang again and I jumped.
“Banned Library,” I started, but the voice cut me off.
“Did you find the book?” the voice asked.
“I’m sorry, what book?”
“The book Betty wanted you to have,” the voice rose and fell on odd words, excited and calm at different times. I could imagine spit flying at it spoke “t’s” and “p’s” as the voice pushed the syllables out.
“Who is this?” I asked.
“Ohhhh. You did find it.,” The voice became calm, “Didn’t help her. Didn’t help you. Won’t help poor Cassidy.”
“What? Who is this?” I asked again.
“I’m gonna kill that whore Cassidy,” the voice said, “Just like I killed Betty. Just like helped kill Ava.”
I was standing now, “Who the fuck is this?”
Dial tone. The person hung up.
I ran into the phone closet and grabbed the little receiver that gathered the incoming call numbers. Both calls came from “unavailable.”
I went back and called the emergency police number and explained what had just happened. They said they would attempt a reverse, but if we were getting an unavailable so would they. The operator said she would send by at car to take a statement.
Next I called Cassidy. She was fine, out with a friend. I told her to stay with them that somebody had just called threatening her. She brushed off my concern with a throaty laugh and said she had no intention of being alone tonight. I told her to take it serious and she said she would.
Next I called Caleb and filled him in. He asked if I wanted to take the night off, if he should come down. I told him no, just that I wanted him filled in and that I would write an incident report and talk to him when I got in tomorrow.
So here I am. The officer has not gotten here yet, which is encouraging, he said sarcastically. I wrote this to better transcribe it to the incident report and to get it out of my head. How did anyone know about the book? And what did it matter? It was a book of old Norse legends. It did not help anything. I could not tell the police about it, of course. I had not shared it with them earlier. I could say the caller knew about Betty’s quilts or something personal that was in the room with her when she died. But not the book.
I need to reread that book. We shall see.
Happy St. Paddy’s,