Holly Finds a Book
Holly first knew something was wrong at morning roll call. Every morning at the planet Llannonn’s Council City’s Earth text Living Library began with Holly Jahangiri, the Head Librarian, taking inventory of the Living Books in their dormitories and comparing that to the checkout records.
The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1) was missing.
None of the other Books had seen him since the day before. He hadn’t said anything to any of them about going on an errand or a walk or anything that would have taken him out of the library and if he had left, he would have checked himself out, as was protocol.
When Assistant Head Librarian Genesis Selinsky reported for work, Holly asked her if she knew anything about it. Young Genesis sometimes scribbled self checkouts on bits of paper rather than fill out an official form.
She rummaged around on her desk and did find a small slip of paper with the scribble on it.
“This isn’t my handwriting, though,” she said. “He did get a phone call yesterday afternoon. I wonder if that had anything to do with where he is.”
Holly had resigned herself to sifting through the phone logs when a call came in for her.
It was from Pel Darzan, District Chief Inspector of the Meadow of Flowers District policing station.
“I’ll take it in my office,” she said.
Her visaphone displayed a slightly plump man with curly black hair and large brown eyes. He was blushing, so she felt herself blushing in return.
As it happened, he wasn’t blushing from the power of their mutual regard, but because of the message he had to convey to her.
“We have one of your books here,” he said. “The Case of the Velvet Claws (Perry Mason Series Book 1).”
“What’s he done?” Holly asked wearily.
Darzan blushed more deeply. “He hasn’t done anything. One of our prisoners called him to defend her in court.”
Holly, as Librarians are often forced to do, stated the obvious. “But he isn’t a lawyer. He’s a book about a lawyer.”
“Nevertheless,” said Darzan, implying one of the bedrock principles of Llannonn justice: the right to choose your representation in court and the imperative to comply.
“What’s the charge?” Holly asked.
Improbably, Darzan blushed even harder, turning the color of a ripe fardleberry.
“We’ve had reports of her for months. She isn’t even a rogue book. She’s memorized passages and scenes from a variety of books. Who knows where she’s found the physical texts.”
Holly, like all Librarians, was a woman of the world and didn’t need to ask what kinds of passages and scenes.
Darzan, seeing that Holly understood him, continued. “She would recite bits of herself in return for credits in alleys and cheap rented rooms. We were out to cite her for the usual charge against freelance books: creating a public nuisance. Unfortunately, she gave a sample to an undercover officer and we also charged her for saying rude words to a member of law enforcement.”
“Oh, dear,” said Holly faintly.
“Of course no one wants this to go to trial,” said Darzan. “The rude words would have to be repeated in court and reported in the press. Unthinkable!”
Holly’s lightning intellect suggested a solution at once.
“I’ll come interview her,” Holly said. “If she seems suitable you can release her to me. We have so much demand for Lady Chatterley’s Lover we could do with a second copy.”
As with very nearly all of Holly’s ideas, this one worked out to perfection. Once the new book was persuaded to stop calling herself Lady Chatterley’s Second Lover, all was smooth and all was well, as things should always be in a library.
MY PROMPT TODAY: Binge watching the last season of Better Call Saul
Holly JahangiriMay 14, 2023 at 7:26am
Steamy! 😁 “Lightning intellect” – I love how, in your imagination, I have a solution for every problem! Happy Mother’s Day, Marian. ❤️
Marian AllenMay 14, 2023 at 9:18am
Of course you do! Happy Mother’s Day to you, too
Dan AntionMay 14, 2023 at 10:41am
Leave it to Holly to come up with the perfect solution. Great story, Marian.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Marian AllenMay 14, 2023 at 12:35pm
Pete LabergeMay 14, 2023 at 3:26pm
And a happy Mother’s Day to you and the two Hollys. And who knows about Steffie? LIkely top secret. Great story. A spare book is a good thing to have.
Marian AllenMay 15, 2023 at 12:49pm
Sushi! Steffie is super hush.
Marian AllenMay 15, 2023 at 12:50pm
Sshh not sushi. Autocorrect fail!
acfloryMay 14, 2023 at 8:21pm
Marian Allen! Your imagination never ceases to amaze me. Simply brilliant. 😀
Marian AllenMay 15, 2023 at 12:51pm