A muffled, solitary beep came from the stacks. My brain brushed it off as a cell phone, not bothering to tell the rest of me about the beep in the stacks. My brain does that. It also does not tell me about each tile on the floor as I walk or every book I walk past in the stacks. My brain prioritizes.
The second muffled, solitary beep raised my brains suspicions. Not much, but enough to think, "Hey, maybe the librarian might want to-"
A third muffled, solitary beep from the stacks put my brain into motion. "Hey, dumb, dumb," it told me, "Stop looking at those library bean bag chairs in that stupid magazine and listen for a minute."
I listened and heard nothing. Paranoia on my brain's part, an often occurrence on a cold winter day when the library is empty and silent. My brain wants noise because my brain is active as active can be on a cold winter day with nothing but library bean bag chairs to fill its attention.
The fourth muffled, solitary beep put us both at attention and in motion. I stood and my brain followed, putting the rehearsed speech of Helpfulness on the teleprompter behind my eyes.
I scanned the stacks and found the man. I am unsure how I missed him before now. On a cold, winter day he stood in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts, sandals on his feet. His head was bare save for glasses which magnified his eyes to owl proportions. And he was holding a metal detector.
The metal detector made a fifth beep, no longer muffled by the stacks and no longer solitary as it matched the sound my brain made when it gave the fuck up.