Flash Friday–The Loud Librarian

I’ve always loved libraries–I think as a child they were my favorite places to visit.  And while that may say all kinds of things about the pace of my childhood, I still find myself going to the library more than any place but home.  I’ve even thought that if I couldn’t be a writer, my next first choice of career would be a librarian.

In honor of all libraries and librarian’s everywhere, I give you–The Loud Librarian.

I was nestled in a corner at the back of the middle grade stacks, a copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in my hands.  I had at least twenty minutes before anyone would come looking for me, and I meant to make the most of it.  But as I opened my book and flipped to find my place, I heard voices—were they arguing?  I glanced around.  Surely Bessy, the librarian, would shut them up.  She had zero tolerance for noise.

Right on cue, I heard her voice.  “Shh, now.  You have no business being so loud—you’re disturbing the patrons.”

I smiled.  That ought to shut them up.  But, what was this?  The argument was continuing, and though it was quieter, it was also closer, only one stack over from me.  And now that I could hear it better…it sounded like Bessy was one of the arguees!

The male voice was rumbly but genteel, and had a funny accent.  “I don’t see why the library must be so quiet,” he said.  “With so many books at hand, there ought to be a great deal of discussion, with a general sharing of ideas to further the learning of all.  This insistence on silence is suppression of the highest sort.”

“Oh, nonsense,” Bessy whispered back.  “We simply want quiet so our patrons can enjoy their books.  There’s plenty of chattering and discussion outside the library.  You just don’t like any policy that requires you to zip your lips.”

“My dear,” the man rumbled. “That may have been something which it were wiser to leave unsaid.  Remember you promised to consider the wisdom in remaining silent.”

“It’s true, I did,” Bessy responded.  “And you promised to re-consider your complaints.  After all, any fool can complain and condemn.”

They were moving away from me again, so before they could leave I peeked through the stacked books in front of me, to see who it was that could break Bessy’s code of silence.

Bessy stuck a book in place, and moved another down one.  Her old-fashioned skirt was patterned in tea leaves, and her hair was wrapped up in a true librarian’s bun.  But beside her was a gentlemen who made Bessy look positively hip.  He wore a flowing white shirt with puffy sleeves and a ruffle of lacey cloth at his throat.  He also had on a vest, an old-fashioned pair of pants, and hair that came down to his shoulders.

But the weirdest part—I couldn’t hold in a gasp.  As he followed Bessy up the aisle, I could see the books he was passing through him!  He was see-through!

Hearing my gasp, he turned his head and looked at me through old-fashioned bifocals.  He winked, then slipped around the corner after Bessy, their voices continuing their murmured conversation.

I sat back, stunned.  I’d seen his face before—it was Benjamin Franklin!  I shook my head, and looked down at my book.  I’d found my place now, but though my eyes rested on the page, I could only stare blankly at the words.  Here I was, reading a fantastic book about imaginative things…and trying to tune out the voice of a ghost.  Had I finally lost my mind, or could it be that fact really was stranger than fiction?

Do you recognize the Franklin quotes I snuck in there?  More of a reference than a quote, actually.  What’s your favorite Benjamin Franklin quote?  Or do you find him annoying?

Post your own Flash Friday piece on your blog, and leave your url in the linky here, or in the comments, and happy writing!

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