Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Challenge 12: How predictable can the iconoclast get?

"I think it's a stupid idea," says the boy with the 'Trainee' badge.
"Well, it's got to be someone." This is the woman with sunglasses, who's lounging on the stool.
"Hold on, I'm coming," says a voice from the main building somewhere.

The boy kicks the door to the back room open. "I can't believe you people do this!"
The green-haired man who's shelving in the 400s has emptied his shelf and wheels his trolley back to the issues desk, where he leaves it to join them in the back room. "It took me a while to get used to it too, but management orders, y'know? We really need the stocktake - look what a mess the place is!" He gestures at the ground floor. "It's even worse upstairs. The last two times the university let us close for long enough were both over Christmas, and I was away."
"The students start complaining if you close for no reason," the woman says. "So, who's it going to be? I'll arrange the people for next week."

The green-haired guy pulls up a swivel chair. "I still think Carter Brier. That kid has lost more books this month than everyone else all year."
"What about that woman, uh...you know, the old one. She's always doing the shelving wrong, you've had me redoing it."
"No," the man says sharply. "Not one of us."
The woman sighs. "Get on with it, please!"
"Next time, come when the rest of the staff are here. Particularly the Chief Librarian. We need to talk this through."
"Yeah, yeah...and then the place would be full of 'patrons'." She makes little quote marks with her hands when she says 'patrons'. "Well?"
"That book reviewer guy in the student magazine," says Trainee. "He puts his apostrophes in the wrong places."
"Oooh, yeah, him," says green-haired guy. "Can't stand those apostrophes."
"Does he come into the library, though? Do you know what he looks like?"
Trainee folds his arms. "Surely your people can deal with details like that!"
"Ha. We're not that sophisticated. C'mon, don't make this more complicated than it needs to be. Someone who'll be in here Monday, that's easiest. Who's on duty Monday evening?"
"Us, again," says the green-haired guy. "We'll stay down on the ground floor. There will be people shelving on floors two to six on Tuesday morning, and seven to twelve on Tuesday afternoon."
"I'd do all the work I could on the eight floor on Monday, then. You won't get a chance to be in there until you open again. They'll make you open up again as soon as they can, you know. Wouldn't be surprised if you only get two or three days."
"We got a week, last time!" protests the green-haired guy.
"Well, time's've changed. We do what we can."
"We may's well wait till Christmas, at that rate!"
"Can't make everyone put off their holidays. You said yourself, the place is a mess. Besides, can you afford another seven months?"

"It's got to be Brier, then. He's been in Monday nights. And his name came up last round, remember?"
"Shit, remind me never to lose a book," says the kid.
"Lost, damaged, late, ugh! It's disgusting. And he's been here for five years. If he treats his degree as carelessly as his books, we'll have to put up with him for another five."
The woman looks happier. "Right, and would he have any reason for the eighth floor?"
"Hold on..." he goes to the nearest computer and logs on. "I'm looking up his record now...hm, his books are more on the sixth."
"Oh, I think that can be managed. Let's have a look?" she studies his photo on the screen. "I'll make sure they check his ID first anyway. Don't want to kill off one of your well behaved patrons."


Word count: 639
The moral of the story is: read the prompt properly before you write anything. I may be coming back to this later :P


  1. Hehehe

    I have been thoroughly bored of libraries over the last few weeks (I do NOT recommend cataloguing as an exciting career option)but this makes them into exciting and daangerous places. Stocktake! Twelve floors! ARRRRGGHH there's a nightmare ><

    With my track record of fines, I wouldn't have a chance.

  2. Here is your galumph-hug practise: *Galumph-hugs*!

  3. I think this could be the seed for a very... erm, interesting(?) novel about a library...