The HR Lady showed up to do her investigation and I was summoned to the office. She had out her iPad thingy. She typed away, getting my full name and serial rank.
"Okay. Let's get started," HR said, pushing up her spectacles. "Do you talk to Reggie?"
"Reggie. Who? Oh, Reggie. Yes, I know him." Then I lowered my voice: "Makes for great blog material."
"What was that last part?"
"Now is it true that you said to Reggie that we should paint the wall black that he stands against?"
"Yes. High gloss ebony, I think were my exact words. Then when a boss person came by he could just close his eyes and essentially disappear. I'm just trying to help him out."
"He says that there are some racist problems here. Are you a racist?"
"Yes. I mean, no."
"Your joke, he says, contributes to an atmosphere of racism."
"Heh heh. Yeah. We have fun around here."
"This isn't a joke, Mr Johnson."
"Okay, maybe it was inappropriate. Maybe I shouldn't have said it. But... but who's on trial here? You're out of order. You're all out of order, and so on."
"Just relax, Mr Johnson."
"What are you typing?"
"Just what you are saying."
"So you typed, 'What are you typing?'"
"Let's move on. Are you aware that a neighbor called the police on Reggie when he first started working here? He was cited for loitering in the alley."
"Yes, he's told me that story. And so many, many others."
"Have you ever said nigger to him, or referred to him as a nigger?"
"No. I never, ever use the N-word. In fact, I never use any words that start with an N. If I see a nest in the forest I point at it and say, look at that roundy twig thing. And Don Knotts is just plain ol' Don N-word Otts to me."
HR had stopped typing.
"But was Reggie really using me to cover his ass? I mean, isn't this about the lady who called about him?"
"Yes. We're still investigating all aspects of the case." HR closed her iPad. She gave me a brittle smile. "I'm off to exchange my shoes."
I was dismissed. In the staff bathroom I mopped my brow. I felt a bit resentful that Reggie had used me as part of his "The Library Is Racist" conspiracy smokescreen. But I had to laugh. That Reggie. He's delightful in his own way. In the end, I had done all I could to save Reggie. And to make sure he'd get fired. What else are friends for? In a few days the mayor will be meeting with the city librarian to decide Reggie's fate. I'm going to write to them so as to save my blog.
Meanwhile I'm getting my buddy Tom Sawyer to paint the walls in high gloss ebony around here, just in case a certain Don Otts comes back....