She's our substitute librarian who's often substituting for various reasons. Skinny, winsome and wrinkly, she passionately believes in abolishing all notions of personal space. She thrusts her face nanometers from mine and exchanges biomolecular material as she chatters. And then there's her hair. A writhing mass of Medusa flaming snakes with henna-red bronze highlights made of bronze circus metal. Currently she was telling me about being attacked by crows.
"No, it's true! I was just a few blocks from here. You know the spot, on Fifth? Just on that corner? You wouldn't believe it..." She placed her talons on my shoulder. "These crows, just fifty of them, they attacked me! I was running for my life!"
"Maybe they thought your hair was a pomegranate," I said. "Or something similarly delicious."
"Oh! Then I saw a wounded deer. No, it's true!" Zani ran her crustaceaous fingers along my thigh. "I saw it! It was just there by the street in a little ditch. And the deer looked up at me."
"Maybe it was hiding from the crows?"
"Hey, tell me something. Do you think I can ask Karen if I can leave early today...?"
Todd was at the other desk. He stared at us.
"Zani," he said. "Zani!"
He motioned with his gloved hands. "Step back from Greg a little. Give him some space."
"Oh! I'm sorry! You know, that's something I grew up with, just everyone in my family was talking in each others' faces." She held up her hands to each other to demonstrate faces adhering. "It hurts my feelings a little when you say that."
"It's okay," Todd said. "Just stop doing it."
After Zani tripped away as if being chased by a murder of crows, the topic turned to Waterworld. Todd said he went every day with his daughter.
"Isn't it a problem, with all the plastic and all?" I said smugly, thinking at last I had caught him in a contradiction. "Hmm, hmm?!"
"No, most of the slides are rubber. But the ones that aren't I wrap myself in a hemp blanket and slide down that way."
Todd stared at me beardily.
"Oh! The very fact that I believed you for a second..."
"Ha, ha! You idiot!"
Donovan waved at us from the front entrance. "Come on! They're having a party!"
The Arts Festival was going on. Just outside the library was a mash, or a bash, of art monsters singing about feasting on the hot innards of babies. Or so was my understanding.
"We're coming to your town, we'll help you party it down!!"
(sung to Grand Funk Railroad(?))
"Wait," Jonah said. "Is that Zani getting off the spaceship?? I can't let her see me eating this hot dog!!"
"No, it's just aliens coming to gang probe us."
"Oh, thank God."