Our reference librarian is dead. I think the Gray Man did it, but he said no so I have to believe him because what if he's wrong?
We sat down in my office today to go over the budget, the reference librarian and I. We smiled at each other and laughed about stories each of us had about things that had happened that did not matter. We went over the budget and I saw irregularities.
When I asked, the reference librarian said the money was safe. I did not believe him.
"The money is safe," he said. "In the mountain. That's why we are here."
Let me explain. A month ago, the library relocated itself from the piney woods of Mississippi to the top of a Virginia mountain. We did so to save energy.
Inside the mountain we have found tunnels and in those tunnels we have found darkness. And coal. And dark things that whisper our names. The Gray Man says they are not whispering our names, that's just how they talk.
So the reference librarian had stored away a portion of the budget to the dark things in the secret tunnels of the Virginia mountain so it would be safe. Such things are done.
But not without telling somebody. The patrons will wonder if we cannot afford the secret Encyclopaedia Britannica only available to libraries, the edition that explains the truth about the gray men and the dark things and has the recipe for Coca-Cola written backwards in an ancient language that looks like the entry for 'hippotamaus.'
I explained this to the reference librarian and he shrugged. The money is safe and sound and behind a door marked 'Chester.' I asked him what 'Chester' meant and he said it was his name. I do not believe him. No one is named 'Chester.'
His anger was palpable. I could feel it in the way you can feel when milk has gone bad right before you put it in your mouth. The reference librarian radiated foul hate and stood and walked out of my office.
A moment later, a scream. A thump. A death.
The reference librarian's head spread on the floor right in front of the circulation desk. The official report from the mountain police who arrived on horseback states he slipped on a patch of ice, got tangled in the six foot railing as he fell, rolled over the railing and the nine-inch spikes at the top to stop birds from roosting, and fell to his death.
We all agreed that it is sad when accidents happen.