George adjusted his chair at the reference desk just so and waited for his first patron of the day. George loved this job helping people find things, looking up strange tidbits of information, and just increasing his own knowledge. He had been doing this for six months and had enjoyed every day, nice people, quiet and the only unusual things that happened here were strange requests for strange information.
The door opened and in walked a pair of gentleman, and older white man and a younger black man, nicely dressed in identical black suits, identical white shirts and identical ties, either business men or some sort of religious thing, it really didn’t matter to George his job was to help people gather knowledge.
“Yes, gentlemen, how can I help you?”
“We are looking for a book that just arrived, from Africa, about yea big” the man motioned with his hands about two feet apart “weighing about 15 pounds, and smelling pretty badly.”
George obviously had a quizzical look on his face, and the younger of the two men started speaking. “Sorry about my friend’s strange request, we are from Customs and the book has some very bad terminates.”
“I assure you gentleman, no book in this library has terminates, all old and rare books are quarantined before being placed on our shelves, and any suspected book is kept in a deep freeze for thirty days, to kill any biological vectors that might be present.”
By this time the older man had stepped away and was apparently talking to a set of encyclopedias. That is when he noticed the younger man pull out a silver tube and place a pair of sunglasses on his face.
George looked down at his watch, where had the morning gone, and why had he not had any patrons, granted the reference section was often slow on nice sunny days but he could not seem to recall anyone coming in yet. The door chimed and three very nice looking young people came in, most likely high school students doing some sort of summer project, it was nice to see young people in the library, not all knowledge could be found on the computer at least not yet. The girl spoke first.
“Hello, we are looking for a book, a very old book; we have been to every book dealer in the city and just cannot seem to locate it.” She stated this with a very nice British accent.
“Well you have come to the right place; if I cannot help you then I am not sure who can.” George said smiling. “Now then what book are you looking for?”
The red-headed boy spoke now. “It is called “Ridiculous Enchantments, but I am sure you will not be able to tell us anything about it.”
A nice British aceent, must be here on some sort of summer school trip. George shook his head initially “You are correct I don’t know anything about it, but let me ask you a question or two before I begin searching, is it an English language book?
The red head nodded.
“And is it fiction or non-fiction?
This seemed to stump the children. “Fiction or non-fiction?” The third boy finally spoke up that is when George noticed a particular scar on his forehead, right above his glasses.
“Yes, is it a true story, or does it puropte itself to be a true account of something.
The girl spoke up. “I am not sure what you would classify it as, but I think most people would believe it to be untrue. “
The red head mumbled something under his breath. “At least to struggles, it would be untrue.” At least that is what George thought he said.
After a few more questions, about the author, or who published it, or where it was printed, all of which the kids could not answer, George tried to search by book title in the computer and in the card catalog, both of which resulted in no findings. The girl was the most helpful but the boys stayed off by themselves talking in low tones. After George explained to the kids the difficulty in the search and if he had more information he might be able to help them more, the red-headed boy nodded to the boy with the glasses who said. “Sorry about this but it is for your protection,”, and pulled out a stick, waved it and said “Obilivate”.
George ate his tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat bread, and read this month’s addition of Reader’s Digest alone in the break room. He found the note Mary left for him, ‘Love you hope you had a good morning.’ The note gave him time to pause for a second. Did he have a good morning? Then he went back to Humor in Uniform.
He had back at his desk for a half an hour now and looked around, everything was in place, nothing needed to be shelved and nothing needed to be put away, which was strange, usually by this time everyday things were getting a bit disorderly. A low hum and a strange light caught his peripheral vision and he looked up and there were two gentlemen standing in front of him, he had not even heard the chime on the door announcing their presence in the reference room.
“Yes, may I help you?” He addressed them, the one in a yellow velour shirt stepped forward and the one in the blue velour shirt pulled out some sort of computer strapped around his neck.
“Yes, we need some help” and he gestured with his hands towards George, pausing with the gesture “we need to find some information on whales” again the thing with the hands, and the pausing. George guessed English might not be his first language. “
“Okay, what type of whales or just whales in general?”
The one in the yellow shirt nodded to the one in the blue and he came forward. “Specifically we are looking for mammals of the family Balaenoteridae, species: Megaptera Novaeangliae or commonly referred as the humpback whales, more importantly their soundings, the noises they create under water commonly referred to as songs and what those songs may communicate.”
“I see.” George replied. “Okay let us begin with a computer search.” And George motioned towards the machine.
“I see, and this computer will have all the information we seek?” The gentleman in blue questioned.
“Well it should be a good start.”
The one in yellow turned to the one in blue and stated. “Since we have access to this machine now, and we do not want to interrupt the time stream any further, perhaps it would be best if you corrected his memory.” He said nodding in George’s direction.
“Of course Captain.” That is when the tall thin man in blue reached across the desk with his fingers spread apart and put his hands up to George’s face.
Where had the day gone, it was almost quitting time and the day had just flown by. Ah here was a customer an older man in a robe and a teenager, almost a man dressed in what looked could be called a tunic. George had the weirdest sense of déjà vu that some other strange religious people had been around earlier today but he could not place them.
“Yes gentleman can I help you?
“Yes,” the young man replied. “We are looking for a way to leave the planet.”
“Something that would avoid any imperial entanglements.” The older man added.
“Hmmm, private space travel, now that is an interesting topic, as for imperial I did read where the royal Saudi family is looking into space travel. I think I saw something about in an article about Lloyds of London doing the insurance policy.”
“Lloyds is not what we are looking for.”
“Lloyds is not what you looking for.”
George arrived home at promptly six o’clock and Mary had dinner waiting for him. George kissed her on the cheek and then took off his jacket and hung it up in the hall closet. They sat down to eat and she asked him the same question she asked him every night. “How was work today?” And at this point he would talk about the college student he had helped with a term paper, or about the little old lady looking up her Scottish roots or whatever thing had happened today. It was at that point, George had to ask himself, how was work today, he stopped himself, and looked at the mash potato spoon in his hand.
“What is wrong dear, something bad happen at work today?”
“I honestly don’t know I am drawing a complete blank.”
This story came about from a conversation I had at Disney World, more specifically Disney Studios with my daughters friend, MB. Good trip.