When she walked in, Jessie held his breath. The sunlight behind the door caused a halo on her hair, the blonde curls turning to gold. The spell broke as the trailer door shut and the fluorescent hum of the library continued.
Jessie stared at the laptop chained to the small reference desk and attempted to look busy, but she walked right over to him, bypassing the circulation desk.
“Excuse me,” the singer from the Tent City Labor Day party said, “Can you help me find a book about goats?”
“Goats?” he said.
She nodded, cute wrinkles forming on her forehead, “We found a little goat wandering around our land and I’m trying to take care of it.”
“So care and feeding of goats?”
She smiled and Jessie’s heart broke wide open.
“Um… yeah, hold on, let me see if I can get the catalog up on this laptop…”
He tapped a few keys and knew it was hopeless. He had been working on this computer all morning and the damn thing would not connect to the wifi no matter what, but she did not know that.
“Huh,” he said, “Yeah, we might have something here.”
She leaned over to look at the screen, but he closed the lid.
“Let’s go look in the stacks.”
Jessie had some idea of what he was looking for, knew the animal section was around the 600s. He had never looked them up in the trailer library before. She followed him, though, and he tried to look confident.
The shouts started just as he found the approximate section.
“Jessie! Jessie, come out here, boy.”
The sound of the door to the library closing was followed by Debbie screaming.
Jessie looked at the girl and she looked at the books. Of course he had forgotten to tell her his name. Wasn’t like he knew her’s.
“Jessie,” the man’s voice said, “Jessie, time to go home boy.”
More people screamed and the click of a revolver could be heard. The girl’s eyes grew wide and she moved to look beyond the shelves. Jessie grabbed her arm and pulled her low. She tried to fight and he shook her arm.
“Stay here,” he said, “Don’t move.”
Jessie walked out to the circulation area and saw his father in full clown makeup holding a revolver in one hand and a bottle of scotch in the other.
“Ah, there he is,” the clown said, “Time to go home, take back what’s ours.”
“They called the cops,” Jessie said, “You won’t leave here alive.”
Jessie’s father aimed the gun at the ceiling and pulled the trigger. The boom in the small space rang and bounced and disoriented. The gun leveled on Jessie’s chest.
“Then you better go out there and get in the damn car, son.”
Ten minutes later Jessie found himself in a sedan with his father as they roared along the backroads of Banned County toward the Circus Lands.