It's not often that one works with a child killer. But at the library on Tuesday we got the thrill of working with Joan H. who came to work as a substitute librarian. Before she showed up, I told Carol who was coming.
"WHAT?!? I can't believe they sent her to us! I can't fucking believe it!!!"
Joan had run over a family of three in her car last February. She killed a four-year-old boy and for good measure hit a blind girl. She was sentenced to a day in jail.
"I'm going to call them! I'm calling downtown to tell them not to send her!"
But it was too late. Just moments later Joan arrived. Broomstick-skinny, 78 years old, she smiled her withered death smile at me. I bravely gazed into her crazy killah eyes.
"Hi, Joan," I chirped. "Thanks for coming today."
"Hm," she said.
Prison hadn't changed her except for the THUG LIFE tattooed on her neck next to I LOVE BOOKS.
Everyone got out of her way as she went for the reference desk.
But the day was just getting started in all its kooky glory. On one of my frequent breaks, I heard a child screaming and screaming. I wondered if the kid had sensed Joan's presence, but then went back to my crackers and Nabokov.
Later at the desk, a middle-aged lady came up to me and asked who the manager was. I pointed at Carol in the distance. But the woman didn't look.
"What is her name?"
I told her.
"And what is the name of her boss?"
Oh geez. Here we go again. On Friday an elderly woman had threatened to call the cops on me for the crime of taking off a book from her account that she claimed she had returned. She wanted my supervisor's name, the mayor's number, the FBI alert number, etc etc. She had this idea that a crime had been committed and I was attempting to cover it up.
Now this lady. I told her Carol's boss's name, and the woman marched away. I then went to the office to tell Carol in a relaxed, casual manner that someone had wanted her name.
"SHE CAN FUCK HERSELF!!!" Carol roared.
"Close the door!"
I sat in the office while Carol started screaming and stamping her cowboy boots on the floor. Having just had a Botox injection into her throat, her voice was squeaky and shrill. But she still managed to get some good volume in it.
"THOSE FUCKING ASSHOLES CAN FUCK THEMSELVES THEY CAN FUCKING GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE THOSE FUCKING FUCKS!!"
Through the tangle of fucks, I pieced together what had happened. The screaming child had provoked the middle-aged lady and another "crabby" old man to tell the mother to get her child out of the library. It was a library, after all. Quiet, please? But Carol came over as the mother was crying and trying to get her books checked out. She yelled at the old people that they were rude, and more words were exchanged. I had missed it all.
Meanwhile Carol was blowing back the few hairs on my head with the ferocity of her war cry.
"FUCK FUCKING FUCK FUCKETTY FUCK FUCKING FUCK FUCK FUCKED FUCKER FUCK FUCKHEAD FUCK!!"
"Carol, Carol!" I said. "You're going to blow a gasket. And you'll lose your voice..."
Carol collapsed back in her seat. Panting, she agreed to calm down a smidge. I further calmed her down by promising to do all the yelling at crabby old people in the future.
Joan looked at me as I left the office. "Sounded like bloody murder in there," she said with a crooked crypt grin.
Joan clocked out. Then, as she left for the day, I called after her, "Drive safe!"