Friday, February 26, 2016

Better Off Deader

Three years ago Karen began her reign of terror/hilarity at Cherry Creek library. And what a day it was. She stomped in from the snow, accompanied by our clusterfuck manager, Gwen, an overweight black woman with a skunk streak in her hair. Smiles and introductions all around. Reggie was also there. Chuckling, smiling, emitting chuckly yellow smoke. Gwen asked him why he wasn't out shoveling. He laughed, shook his head, and then headed out to no doubt not shovel snow.

It was a Monday. The library was closed. Karen called the few of us working that day into the workroom.

"Everyone! I want you all to know I have MS!"


"Just thought you should know that."

Then she called me into the office. She was bubbling with excitement. Little did she know that I had campaigned for a different, less bubble-prone candidate for her job, but Gwen had shot me down. I smiled and smiled until Karen gave me the exciting news that she was going to take over the scheduling. My job.

My scalp burned. Karen had been at Creek for about seventeen minutes and already I was angry. This did not bode well.

Over the next weeks, months, years, she regaled me with her life story (husband's death from diabetes, selling the horse ranch, laid off from Aurora PL, living in her mom's basement at age 60) and entertained us all on this blog and said fuck a LOT and in the end we learned to love Karen's wacky reign of wackiness. Also, I wrested away the scheduling from her. She was terrible at it.

As for Gwen, a year later she retired and then went boweling and died. Or, as Todd puts it poetically, she became a "deader."

"She's a deader," Todd said, nodding his bird-nest beard. "See, that's why you have to get out when you can. She put off her retirement for years, and then what happened....?"

Just then Ed shuffled past. Todd flinched, as if to dodge a book being hurled at him.

"There's another fucking idiot who needs to retire."

"Yeah," I said. "You'd think he'd want out of here before he becomes a deader."

"Hell yeah, hooker." (We've been calling each other hooker these days because we work at a library.) "If HR weren't such a bunch of pussies they would have fired his ass!"

"That hooker Zooey is doing all she can on her end..."

Zooey was one of our on-call librarians who was filling in a lot because another librarian was on maternity leave. She was 68, skinny, bug-eyed, wrinkled, and had flaming metallic hair all kinked up like the corona coming off a gas plant explosion. She hated Ed and loved to talk and invade your personal space. All while grinning. GRINNING

"Greg," she said to me later, "listen to me... Mm? Listen to me."

She was penetrating my space. Thrusting. Grinning.

I took a step back, but she advanced.

"Greg?" Step forward.

"Yes?" Step backward.

"You know how I told Ed he should retire, hm?" She plucked at my sleeve to keep me from retreating. "Do you think I can get him to retire?" Zooey nodded a lot as she talked, wide-eyed, lipstick on her grin. "Do you think? DO YOU THINK??"

"Not sure," I gasped, face turned and smushed into the wall. "I mean, uh..." Zooey's breath and spittle coated my cheek. "He has so many bills to pay, and responsibilities..."

"I told Ed how great it is in Mexico! Do you think we can get him to leave? I told him how to retire and how he should go to Mexico! Mexico? Do you think he'll go to Mexico? Mexico is great! He should go to Mexico!..."

"Mm?" Just then I fell over a cart.

For a second I thought I was a deader. I floated out of my body and I heard Zooey still talking, but I heard her as Ed must have heard her. That's right: I was having someone else's out-of-body experience.

"Mexico Mexico [DENTAL PLAN] Mexico, Mexico? Mexico Mexico Mexico Mexico Mexico [DENTAL PLAN] Mexico Mexico; Mexico Mexico [DENTAL PLAN] Mexico Mexico.... Mexico! Mexico [DENTAL PLAN] Mexico? Mexico, Mexico Mexico--Mexico Mexico [DENTAL PLAN] Mexico Mexico, Mexico...!"

So what will win? Mexico or the dental plan?


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