Tip the Carrier

by Banned Library in

The news paper thunked against the front steps of the library and bounced into the bushes. Evan sighed, put the car in park, and got out. He crossed the library lawn to get the paper where it needed to go.

    He did not notice the grass turning black where he walked. At three in the morning, not much showed up in the dark.

    The job had come a few months ago. It was every day without vacation and paid bad. If he wanted a day off, Evan had to find someone to do the route for him. He had interviewed at the library three times, twice for library positions and once for a janitor job.

    As he got close to the library steps, he turned on his phone and got the LED light going. He leaned down to the bushes and shined his light. The plastic bag the newspaper was wrapped in glinted in the white light.

    Evan reached down and plucked the paper from the dirt. He muttered something about not getting enough tips. Most people didn't even know you could tip your newspaper carrier. Or they didn't care or think about the person until the paper was in the wrong place. Then they complained and Evan got his check docked, three dollars for every complaint just because the paper didn't reach the porch.

    The paper dropped from his hand onto the steps, time lost but one paper down. Two hundred more to go.

    Evan turned back to the car still running on the curb. He heard the door behind him open with a groan. He stopped and turned. The door opened and darkness was behind it.

    Hello, he said.

    The door opened wider. More darkness filled the square.

    Hello, Evan repeated.

    Hello, came a voice from the emptiness of the library. I heard you talking about a tip.

    Okay, thanks. You can just add it to your bill. Evan turned and headed towards his car.

    But you don't want the money? The voice had an echo from inside the building. Evan kept walking.

    Behind him the door closed with a slam.

    The library never tipped him.