I got a phone call from another library asking what type of plants we have outside in our planters. Strangely, I had no idea. I then asked Charles. It turns out he's... kinda crazy. Large, gay, African-American, he has cubic ear studs and a penchant for making art just like another custodian we all used to know and love. He also has a petite patch of gray in the middle of his hair--just like another famous custodian from history.
"WHO YOU GONNA CALL?!"
He gave me a frightened, and frightening, look. "No one told me!" he bellowed in reply. "NO ONE TOLD ME!"
"What? No, I was just wondering if..."
"They never tell me anything! How can I do my job properly if they never give me any training downtown! How can I know what kind of flowering life we have near the egress area?!"
"Okay, I'll just tell them..."
"Tell who?! TELL WHO?!"
"It was just some security clerk from U Hills. He's a weirdo anyway. I'll just--"
"They got cameras and mics everywhere. They're watching us. Don't you get me fired!"
"Cameras? No, no. There are no cameras..."
"Then what's this?!"
Charles pointed frantically at the computer monitor that had several security cam views on it.
"That's just for the basement. They're to watch if customers try to sell children into sexual slavery."
"Sure, sure! Customers. They're watching us." He passed a finger across his throat. "We can't say nothing!"
Later, Charles got on his giant backpack and was storming out--even though it was the middle of the day. Carol was curious as to where and why he was going, so he sat down with her in the office. He looked at her with pure hatred in his eyes and told her it was all her fault. She had "set him up." She had connived with the security guard at U Hills and was now conspiring to get him fired. Carol was stunned. She worked hard to make him understand that the plant issue had nothing to do with him, and that he should RELAX. But he took the bus downtown to complain about us (the second time). Carol was crying as I walked with her outside to calm her down. She was afraid of Charles and asked downtown that he be reassigned somewhere else. By the end of the day, we were told that Charles was "sick" and was going to be held downtown for further observation. But we all had a delightful surprise when he was back at work the next week. It seems only a matter of time before he explodes again. One thing I have learned most definitively: Don't mention the flowering life.
Meanwhile, a smooth-talkin' Negro is chuckling and painting vaginas somewhere in heaven.