4: Restricted Items

Linda is shaking Garry's hand. It's a nice hand, a kind of soft and clammy but certainly very clean hand. She shakes for a bit longer and gives it a squeeze and strokes the back of it with her thumb. She wants to hug Garry because he is new and he is holding a roll of cling film and the poor little bugger looks like he's expecting someone to come and eat him right up any minute now.

Now Garry you must be nervous but don't be. As soon as we get your locker sorted out we are going to go and put that nasty little tube of cling film right inside and lock it up until lunchtime! Oh yes we are! And then I will take you Upstairs for your induction and I can see that the first that we need to address is the list of Items That Are Restricted On the Library Front Desks and Public Service Areas For Health and Safety Reasons and Due To The Imminent Terrorist Threat! That all right by you! Good! Lets get you upstairs then, shall we! Chop! Chop!

Linda takes the cling film out of Garry's hand. It feels like the poor little thing is trying to hold on to it, but it slides out right enough and she taps it on her palm like it is a baseball bat. Garry flinches, so she stops tapping and puts it into a pocket in the front of her dungarees. The pocket isn't big enough and the top of the roll pokes into her tummy now and again as she strides across the library.

She takes Garry through a back room. The one from Ref is hanging about in there again. And that means the Enquiry Desk has been left unmanned. Linda thinks two thoughts at the same time. She thinks 1) she will have to report the desk being unmanned but that would mean Going Into The Office. 2) is 'unmanned' a sexist thing to say for a representative of the elected members? She waits for him (poor little sod) to catch up and she pushes the button to call a service lift.

There is one other thing to remember! Other than Restricted Items! Everything Else You Can Pick Up As You Go Along! So first, or second, after Restricted Items, is never, ever push the button for the basement! You don't want the lift to go into the basement! The cellar! The storage area! It is dangerous down there and only personnel with the Working At Depths certificate are allowed to make Ingress into the Basement Working Area! Nothing to worry about!

What's down there? Garry asks. Linda doesn't hear him at first. She puts her head on one side as if she is a bird and asks him to speak up. He does.

Oh, well, she says, nobody really knows. Old books. Records. Archives. Special collections, I expect. If you're really curious, you should ask Bob. He might know.

Linda feels a hiccup coming on. She swallows hard, and bangs her chest.

The lift is very slow to move. Eventually it starts. Garry sways slightly. Linda smiles at him. She thinks about polishing the leaves of the rubber plants in the children's library. She thinks about The Library Lion. She thinks about crepe paper and gin and burnt sienna Crayola crayons. After a little while the lift stops and the doors slide open with a wooshing noise that sounds like disappointment. She thinks about gin again and steps out of the lift.

They are near The Office.

Here we are, she whispers. I think I'll leave you here. It's that door at the end. Good Luck.

No comments: