The Last Librarian
The smell of new books? That's a distant memory. Old books with dog-ears and yellowed pages and coffee stains are all I know. Old books with flimsy, faded covers and dust and words unread for years and years and years. As of yesterday, I have started eating the books for sustenance, but I don't think the paper and ink is good for my body. They have little nutrition to give. I never liked Dickens, so he will be the first to go. I eat Great Expectations while sitting by a fire made from Dostoyevskys on the third floor. By now I have used up all the varnished timber hand railings on the stairs and balconies. I am glad for the change, as the fumes from the burnt varnish made me light-headed and I almost fell two storeys down one time. I have made a toilet section in fine arts, and use DaVinci to clean the excrement from my backside.
I am the last librarian left in the world.
I spend every morning taking books off the shelf and reading them. And I spend every afternoon sorting through the returns and putting them back exactly where they belong. But there are always more books in returns than those books I've taken myself. I think there is someone else in this library reading my books. I did not read the Lord of the Rings last Tuesday. I did not read Nineteen Eighty-Four two days ago. I did not read the Hunger Games this morning. Yet they still appear in my returns pile. And I think they're moving things around. Taking books from one shelf and putting them on another where they don't belong. I go to bed on a stack of John Grisham novels and dream about lawyers doing dangerous and exciting things. I wake up and find Winnie the Pooh has been moved to the non-fiction section in between the Mr. Men books and Harry Potter. Calvin and Hobbes turns up in philosophy. That one seems about right. I pile up my books to read and eat this morning and pluck Mein Campf from children's fiction.
My work is never done.
Copyright S.T. Cartledge 2012