Jessie closed the lid and pushed the power button. The old dot matrix printer spat several loud chunks and grinds and settled into position, ready to work.
“Okay, ‘Shonda. It’s back but can’t promise it’ll stay that way. She’s on her way out.”
Reshonda smiled at him, “Thanks. Someday we’ll buy one of those fancy label printers, until then we’ll just make do.”
Jessie picked up his tool bag and walked out of the small back room of the trailer that held the cataloging department and crossed around the circulation desk.
“Did you wait until the day after a holiday to go crazy?” Debbie told a patron.
Jessie stifled a laugh and kept walking. Debbie had a lack of tact that bordered on sociopathy that often disarmed patrons as easily as it pissed them off. Jessie did not want to get involved, although he thought about starting a twitter called “Shit Debbie Says.”
“Jess,” Ellen said.
Jessie cringed. Ellen smiled.
“Sorry, I meant Jessie,” she said, “There’s a guy in the lab having trouble with his yahoo?”
“Is he from Microsoft?”
“Nothing. Which one?”
“Grey jacket, number two.”
Jessie walked back to the lab and found an old man in a grey jacket staring at the computer, his hands in his lap.
“I just don’t know. It was the same yesterday.”
“Might be the caps lock. Try it now.”
The man typed a few letters. Jessie noticed a bracelet on the man’s wrist, a threadbare string with a few pieces of dried macaroni on it. The macaroni were different colors.
“Nope. It didn’t work, Jessie.”
“How’d you know my name?”
Other patrons in nearby computers looked over.
“She said it. You okay, son?”
“Don’t call me that.”
“But… I can’t anymore. I’m sorry, boy. It’s time you came home.”
“What?” Jessie backed up as the man stood.
“I came to invite you back in, son,” the old man said, “You know, when you made this for me I was kinda dumb.”
“No… No, I don’t think so,” Jessie dropped the small tool bag and backed away from the old man, “No, you’re dead.”
“Can’t believe she told you that, but Melinda was always prone for drama. I’m alive, Jessie.”
Jessie stared at his father, took the man in and saw him, saw him for what he was. Then he turned and walked out of the library. Ellen tried to stop him, but he pushed past and kept walking. No one followed him and he did not stop until he was home.