The Library

Hi, this one was prompted by a the pun on Book Worm in refernce to librarians. I have a few version of this theme, I love the idea of hoarding books, and defending knowledge…I know, a writer who loves books, what a surprise. Hope you enjoy.

People came from far and wide to visit The Library. The books within it were some of the oldest in existence, and there were few other places that one could see a book like this, let alone be allowed to interact with it.

No one knew how long The Library had been there, it seemed like it had always been there, and when people began to question this, it’s age could not be verified. The strange thing was, despite the growing size, and the voluminous collection, The Library only had a single librarian that worked there. There had only ever been one, and it seemed there would only ever be one.

There were assistants of course who were known to help out from time to time, but they never stayed on for long before moving along. Even though the positions were voluntary, and the vetting process extreme, there was never a lack of applicants. Everyone knew that a good reference from the Library was worth it’s weight in gold. It could be used to gather all manner of positions in the world, not just in libraries, but in museums, archeology, anthropology, to have worked in The Library was one of those things that was coveted.

There were many attempts to sack The Library over the years, but none really ever succeeded. It seemed they reconsidered upon entry, or they mysteriously disappeared never to be seen or heard from again. No one knew who owned the library either, as many had tried, and failed, to purchase it.

The one person that no one had ever suspected in all of this, was the libraries lone librarian. At present the librarian was known as Kaida, though in her late 40’s now, had been a mere 19 years old when she had started her apprenticeship to the previous librarian Daniel. No one knew how one got an apprenticeship at the library, and it was assumed that Kaida had been head hunted in some manner to obtain it.

Behind closed doors though, there was only ever one, the other an illusion to satisfy the curiosity of others. After all, were it known that the librarian was the proprietor, and the original one at that, there would be no end to the questions. One thing that they had learned from the fall of their brethren, was that there would also be no end to the fear. Not until the other had been eliminated, and was not longer a threat.

While many of their kind had kept jewels, gold, even spices, they were likely the only one, or were at least the only one left of their kind to keep books. In the early days they were laughed at, because they kept nothing at all, only the stories they had been told, and it was hard to explain to the ignorant what the true value of knowledge was. When people had began writing things down, they were overjoyed, for now they had something physical, some proof of what they had acquired.

At first they had kept the collection private, but private collections implied one had something to hide, and the illusion work was tedious to keep inventing husbands and wives and children. At some point they would surely be found out, and so they had created The Library.

This Library was their greatest accomplishment, and by another name, their hoard. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, to give others access to their hoard, but it kept it safer. Strangely, it also helped it expand far more quickly, as people were surprisingly willing to donate books to a library, knowing that it would benefit themselves as well as others.

The Library got more donations than any in the world, as it was advertised that no book donated would ever be destroyed, or thrown out, like so many other libraries did. Even the most damaged books were treasured, and carefully restored, in what was assumed to be a world class restoration room. It was very hard to explain that one was using magic to fix them, when one didn’t admit to being magical.

What The Library gave them though. was more than a safe hoard, it also gave them the gift of companionship. It allowed them to meet the people who were most like them, that worshiped at the altar of knowledge. Here they would live out their days, content in what they had wrought.

Ends Justify the Means

I am not sue what the motivation for this was, but its the story of someone who always takes second place. Its a little bit about getting what you wished for, but it not quite being what you wanted. Take a look, and tell me, what do you think?

She stood holding the medal and wanted to weep, knowing what was done to get her here.

She was good, actually, she was the best, but she had lost out more than once due to her nemesis, Amanda Cartwright. Technically speaking, Amanda was near her equal, but emotionally, in a performance, Amanda couldn’t hold a candle to her and knew it.

Amanda wasn’t one to win gracefully either. Every time she won, she rubbed it in. Made sure to thank Chloe for trying. For showing up, even though they both knew how it was going to end. It was infuriating as it was true.

The worst part for Chloe was knowing that she was better, in just about every way, except one. Amanda was prettier. Amanda was was taller, thinner, blonder, and just prettier than Chloe. Everyone said that Chloe would grow into her looks, which was a polite way of saying she was kind of funny looking, and well she was.

These weren’t beauty contests though, they shouldn’t have been basing the decisions on the contestants looks, and yet, its the only reason that Amanda was winning. Until today that is.

Her sister, her evil, loathsome, little sister, who was sick of getting ‘dragged all over hells half acre’ as she put it, decided in a surprising show of sisterly solidarity to put an end to it. She put hair dye in Amanda’s oil treatment. Black hair dye, which not only turned Amanda’s hair a deep unnatural black, but also had stained her skin in all the spots of oil she hadn’t wiped off, because knowing it was oil, it was safe.

It had made Amanda look dead, her natural peaches and cream complexion was washed out, and the scream Amanda had given when she saw herself in the mirror… Well Chloes first thought was that she got injured.

And then people turned on her. As she cried, everyone else just laughed. It was karma of sorts, all that meanness over the years coming back to her. The girl she called fat, the one she said was stupid, the boy she called Mexican even though he was obviously native American, all of the people she had mocked and taunted with her wins, saying they would never be good enough, they all took a turn tearing her down.

She ran crying from the auditorium, and Chloe was one of the ones laughing, because no one person had ever deserved this more than Amanda Cartwright.

Then Chloe found out her sister did it, specifically to make her win, and her stomach flipped. It was funny as a joke, but as sabotage, she felt guilty. Then she won, and she felt horrible. It was like the win was soured by what her sister did to get her there. She = knew she deserved the win, got there on talent, but there was a part of herthat knew, knew that if Amanda was there she wouldn’t have made it. And know she had a lingering doubt that maybe, well, what if Amanda was better. What if she was winning because Chloe wasn’t as good. What if Chloe only stood here holding this medal because her sister went Tonya Harding on my competition.

Winning had never been so bittersweet.

Glass Half Full

This was a strange piece, that was me testing out omnipotent narrator because I felt I had too many first person stories, and then I inadvertently made them more god like, but if god was a scientist running at live simulation model. It has more than a little judgment on our current society. What can I say, the education system is more than a little skewed.

Humans were a strange sort. A mess of contradictions, pack animals longing for independent validation.

They even knew it, and created proverbs to warn others of the coming peril. “Be careful what you wish for” and “may you live in interesting times”. Both about getting the things they wanted, but with the understanding that what they wanted, they would not truly enjoy it.

Most animals lived far simpler existences, even those such as dolphins which were no less intelligent that the humans. More so actually, but humans didn’t know that, as there was a limit to what dolphins could actually demonstrate on a human test of intelligence.

What was it that the humans said “If you judge a fish by how well it climbs a tree it will spend it’s entire life believing it is stupid”. Thats the strangest bit about them, that they came up with such profound and interesting sayings, and on the whole completely ignored them. This is why they thought they were smarter than dolphins.

Also its why they measured intelligence using a paper test, which only measures a specific type of intelligence, and even that not very well as a huge part of the test is, inadvertently, reading comprehension. It is true people with very high reading comprehension are intelligent, but if you haven’t learned how to read, you are not inherently stupid, youjust have lived with very different circumstances. This of course extends to standardizes testing as well, which is odd, because they don’t actually let the teachers hold the children back to actually learn the materia,l and be what they consider to be successful, no they simply push them along and then marvel at how they scored even lower the following year

The wise thing to do, would be to change the system so that it was more accommodating to actual learning, and not based on some outdated theories, but alas, it would be very difficult and one thing I had learned in my time, was that most humans were lazy.

Watching the dawn of human civilization was entertaining, they learned so quickly, and grew faster than I could have imagined. I admit to having to do a little fast thinking when I realized the the crafty buggers had managed to figure out how to escape their tiny habitat, and carefully relocated their little biodome into a large enclosure, where the other planets weren’t just a careful projection that they saw when they looked up at the sky.

I admit to going a little overboard. I actually put them somewhere so large, that if they managed it, they would be able to get to other “galaxies” and build entire colonies. I, of course, recorded everything, in case I missed something key, but each night I still had to go to bed, and sleep even if it did feel like I was at the most interesting part of their development yet.

The day I came out and saw them all, barely visible through the pollution they had created, I was more than a little surprised. The model was indicating overheating, somehow, while I was sleeping, they had managed to destroy their own planet. They were smart enough to realize that they had screwed up, and some of them were even trying to fix it. On the whole though, they were ignoring it, and then being mocked for doing so. I ran the projections, and knew it didn’t matter either way. They weren’t going to be able to fix this.

I looked at the now, excessive space that I had made for them, and hoped, desperately that they would be able to explore a fraction of it before they were gone. Or, that whatever evolved on the planet after them was far smarter. Maybe my sister was right, and I really should have stuck with the dinosaurs. They were pretty neat.

The Other Side of the Fence

This one goes out to all those with crazy neighbors, specifically those who think you are out to get them. I have had a few over the years, most of which had no idea that they were in fact the nut case. I am not saying I am a great person to share a wall with, but, I am not insane.

The lady was crazy, or she had more money than sense and he hoped that this was not a sign of things to come.

It had started, quite simply, with a fence. After all, good fences make good neighbors. Him and his wife hadn’t lived in the area long, though they were once local years ago. They had moved back just short of retirement, and bought something on the pricier side, new construction, and it was a duplex.

The person who shared a wall with them was a real go getter, and with a child and a dog, fences were a high priority for her. The quote she had gotten was steep, but his portion was reasonable, and she had been willing to go around and ask others in development if they were interested, to get a better deal. Overall, he didn’t have to do much and really, that was the best kind of deal wasn’t it.

The problem wasn’t with her, it was the other neighbor, the one he didn’t share a wall with. He should have known that she was trouble from the initial assessment, when ti was explained to him, that upon hearing her other neighbor had not answered his door at the first ask, she was going to pay the entire fence herself.

He was a bit flummoxed, but went along, and when the day came to start he gave his payment up front and explained what he had understood from the developer’s about the rules for fence building.

When he returned home he was surprised to see he had no gate, and the fence was not in the agreed upon position, and there was a nasty email about riding roughshod over the plans made. A quick call to the builder explained the developer may have had plans, but they were not conveyed to the city, the neighbor had been irate, and demanded it be built on her yard alone, he was not to use it to attach a gate, and she would pay for it.

Dumbfounded, would be the best description of how he felt, and the builder wanted to know if he needed a refund, as his payment now covered more than the cost of his shared fence with the other neighbor. He quickly dismissed this notion, and asked if he could get a gate built, and get a few other small things done.

He tried to look at the bright side, a weekend worth’s of work done, and the cost of lumber was saved, he got a fence, and was not responsible for the upkeep for a large part of it. He felt the first stirrings of doubt over his new purchase, and hoped that this was just a misunderstanding, and not how this whole relationship was going to shake out. After all, there wasn’t that much space between their houses, and it would be horrible to spend the retirement at war with a crazy person