A long time ago, in a library far, far away, there was a little library in the middle of the Mississippi woods. In this library was a desk and behind that desk stood a man. The desk was of the circulation variety and the man was a trained librarian scientist.
That man was me.
I do library science shit.
It was an average day. Books came in, books went out, motherf&^kers be mother fu&^ing. You know how it is.
Around noon, I got tired of being sober and what before my wandering eyes did appear but Bazooka Slow, the most stoned man in the tri-county area. B.S. came right up to the circ desk and we shared a look that said "This is how men look at each other before doing something amazing and dumb and are amazing and dumb about doing it."
He passed me his drink. The cup was from a chain coffee shop but the purple and green liquid inside was not. The purple and green liquid inside the chain coffee cup was from a small plant grown in a small country that I cannot pronounce because in my life I have drunk the purple and green liquid from various chain coffee cups. Ce la mother fu&^king vie.
The drink tastes hot and bitter, like the smoke of a burning eucalyptus. Like a burning eucalyptus, the drink is filled with screaming ghosts of koala bears, at least that is the sound your mouth makes the moment the liquid touches your tongue.
I drain half the chain coffee cup of the purple and green liquid and pass it back to B.S., who nods and asks if we have a copy of the novelization of the Lion King in 3D. I look it up on the computer and find it in the computer system and walk into the stacks with him to retrieve it.
The purple and green drink takes hold in the forest of the stacks. We both begin complaining about the temperature and the color of the books on the ceiling. The clothes on our backs begin to burn with the heat of the library air, the air of too much knowledge in such a confined space. The knowledge should be dispersed, like a computer system, not bound, not bound, not bound into the pages, etched with ink and blood and pain. The instructions to rebuilding a 1996 Chevy Corvair are one step on the path to oblivion as humanity binds the knowledge and clutches the knowledge to its breast and categorizes the knowledge.
We are naked and excited to be free. The freedom has a cost and that cost is the hunt. Someone has seen us on our safari for the novelization of the Lion King in 3D and B.S. and I begin the hunt. They boy runs left and right, past the biographies and atlases, around the "Books to Film and Back to Books" display. We catch him near the reference desk, cover his mouth and bring him down before he can alert the others. Before he can tell them the joy. We pour the purple and green drink into his mouth and make him one of us, this boy, this man now, grown and naked and running the stacks with a pack. We are pack, we are roaming, we are the keepers of the stacks of knowledge and we are free of the rules. The purple and green drink in the chain coffee cup is a raging sea of life in our veins and we howl at the moon we suppose is above us beyond the books on the ceiling and the ceiling and the roof and beyond, past the air and the blue blanket of the gods. High up is the moon and we howl for it in our search for the novelization of the Lion King in 3D.
As they have before, they find us as we are napping. Nets and ropes and we are tied to book carts and hauled down to technical services for re-education. The man and B.S. they let go after a day, maybe two, maybe a dozen or more there is no time. Me they keep and study and re-educate in the ways of library science. In the way and the light of every book for a reader and every reader for its book and smile when you answer the phone.
All the lessons are re-educated and I am reintroduced with promises and smiles and apologies. I mean none of them, my promises and smiles and apologies have no meaning, my trip into the stacks sings in my blood. I am free in the knowledge of the knowledge from the knowledge of being free.
So the next time you come into that little library in the deep Mississippi woods and find the desk and behind that desk a man, the next time you see him smile as he smiles at you but know he does not care. He has his dreams and will not forget them. He knows how to howl and where to find your information in the forest of the stacks because he has discovered them.
He will offer you purple and green drink in a chain coffee cup, but I cannot take it any more.