I sat home mostly today reading Count of Monte Cristo and playing that new Grand Theft Auto game. I like the transition, going from a reader to an active participant, the language in both different from my own even though we all use the same words. Days seem shorter now that I am older spending all day at my parent’s house, not like when I was young and the days would stretch on and on. Either age or unemployment has given me a sense of urgency about my life, I guess.
About three in the afternoon someone knocked on the door. I thought it might be Ocean with more work hauling, but I saw the wild hair and slight build silhouetted against the door shade like a shadow of a mad professor on the wall of a lab where the lightning is out of control and the experiment has gone wrong.
Which, I have to say, is a fair assessment of Mr. Kenneth Harris, Phd., no doctor tiles needed or wanted from what I could see.
“What brings you down to this area of the county, Ken?” I asked after getting us a few beers and settling on the porch.
“P. G. Wodehouse’s birthday of course. Have to drink for P. G.”
“Yeah, okay. Here’s to Jeeves and the bunch. Now why are you really here?”
“Thought about asking for your time,” he said.
“There’s no pay, I’m afraid,” he said, “Maybe meal or two. I’m sure Maxine won’t let you wander around the school too long without eating something.”
I knew what he needed the second I saw that outline through the door, of course. The Bannville High always held the Banned County Fair in the park across from the school, staffed and chaperoned by students and faculty alike. I had sat with Mom behind the library’s booth, playing trivia games for small prizes. Mr. Ken had been next to me most of that time when my mother had not as the high school librarian. I had loved that fair.
“You making your own booth?”
“Thought I could get you to give us the old one. Should still be in the library basement, right?”
I nodded, finishing my beer, “Should be. Have to get the keys, though.”
“You don’t have them?”
“Naw. Handed my set into the city. Course there might be a ring in the house if we get desperate, but the city might get made us not-breaking and entering.”
“We asking the same old questions?” I asked
“If you want,” he said, crushing his beer with both hands into a small cube, “Same old written on the same old cards.”
“How about I come up with some current ones?”
“Hell, rip the damn cards out of Trivial Pursuit for all I care. Just hang out all week in that booth and we’ll be square. Oh, and I found a book that’s yours.”
“Your grandfather’s really. Found it in an old stack. Remind me about it next week, okay?”
We talked for a bit more, babbled on about various topics until all the beer ran out and it became hard to stand up and get more. I missed that, not just Ken, one of the best people alive, but being around folks and laughing. I thought about that old, empty library building downtown as I sat, reading about how the Count got his bloody revenge and dark thoughts filled my mind.