31: Angry Library Music

Katerina is disappointed in Bob. She notices how Bob takes The Complaining Borrower to one side and starts pointing out special features in the barricade. The way the books intersect at the corners. The way the pink covers of the romance novels and the brown and white covers of the westerns intersect in pleasing ways, like tiles on a roof. Someone has bolstered the very top of the barricade with a double row of hard-back, large-print Crime novels.

Bob, she realises, is claiming all this work as his own. Bob is totally ignoring her. Bob thinks he is standing in his own back garden, pointing out the special features of his new garden shed to his next-door neighbour. Bob is showing someone the insides of his car. The 'Kit-Kat' period was short and sweet and now, she realises, it is over.

What went wrong?

Katerina is wondering why Bob thinks they need a barricade. She is wondering why they would want to stop people from coming into the library. She is wondering if Bob is expecting an Attack of some kind. She is thinking about all this while Linda is trying to get Bob's attention. Bob is ignoring her too. Linda is complaining about Manning the Defences. She is quoting the Equality and Diversity Policy. She is telling Bob that it really should be 'Personning The Defences.'

Then the music changes. It moves from strings to percussion. It sounds like a bin-bag full of saucepans being thrown down a flight of concrete steps. It is hard to talk on top of the music. Bob turns quickly. She can read his lips.

'Pigging Hell!' he is saying, 'Get under the pigging counter!'

Complaining Borrower grabs Katerina's arm. Bob grabs Linda's arm. They run across the library and crouch under the counter. It smells of printer toner and newspaper under there. The carpet is much cleaner there than anywhere else in the library.

The music is booming. Parts of it are like the sound that the tins tied to the back of a 'Just Married' car make as they bump and spark along the tarmac when the car drives away. Off to a hotel for a Honeymoon.

Honeymoon. Katerina frowns. Why doesn't anyone want to go on a Honeymoon with her? Why do Men never text her back? Why are there never any second dates? Why does it stop with a slap on the bum in the middle of barricade building? Emergencies are supposed to bring people closer together. This could have been her chance. The music is reminding Katerina of all her rejections, all her lost opportunities and disappointments. These men do nothing but stamp all over her dreams.

'Where's John?' Katerina asks. She looks at Linda, but Linda is looking in the pockets of her dungarees for her green bottle.

'Bob?' Bob is making gun shapes with his fingers and covering himself as he peeps over the counter.

The music is so loud now that the books start to fall off the shelves. The barricade is holding, for now.

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