Opening Statement: I’m requesting the repeal of my library late fees. Below I have built a case for your consideration.
Article 1. Early June.
Some kids were running through the graphic novels section and laughing too loudly, which is, I believe we can agree, a serious infraction in a respectable place of study such as yours. I looked up and down the aisle and saw no person of authority present to restrict the behavior. So I took it upon myself, as a conscientious citizen.
“Shh,” I hissed.
They stopped. They looked at me.
“Shh,” I said again. I held my index finger to my lips.
They clustered together, disgrace on their faces. And they were silent.
I have yet to receive any remuneration for my assistance.
Article 2. Mid-July.
You obviously aren’t aware of this, but I regularly clean your inventory for you. The second I walk through the door of my home, a stack of library books in hand (sometimes up to thirty or forty a week, let the record state), I grab a container of Clorox wipes and sanitize the hell out of every cover, front and back. Admittedly, this is mostly for our own benefit. I refuse to let those filthy things touch any surface of our house otherwise. I’m fully convinced we’re going to catch syphilis or some equally disturbing disease from these books should I shirk this responsibility even once. And I’m aware that’s not likely to happen unless we were to rub the books against our nether regions, but hey, my daughter is three, and last week we found a small piece of rice cake lodged up where no rice cake should be, so I have to work on the assumption that anything’s possible.
And even though we—the party of the first part—reap the benefits of a syphilis-free household, surely the library itself benefits as well. Just imagine the P.R. nightmare on your hands if it weren’t for my tireless work.
Article 3. Early August.
Although I have personally never used it, I regularly find myself tidying the children’s play area including, but not limited to, the toy kitchen, the felt board, the train table, and the baby board books. I do this because the sign says “Please clean up all toys,” but it doesn’t specify to whom it’s talking. So, like most conflict I experience, I assume guilt, internalize shame, and set to cleaning up other people’s messes.
Article 4. Late August.
I’m convinced I’ve single-handedly kept the library in business since I’ve been old enough to procrastinate. Every time I put off returning a batch of library books, you benefit. I can’t help but think that you may be actively rooting against me; I’ve heard rumors that you have your eye on a new online audiobook service, after all.
But allow me to raise this question to you: isn’t it time you consider some equivalent to a frequent buyer program? I propose a punch card: pay nine fines, get the tenth for free. Easy to instate, cheap to run, it’s a system that rewards your customers for their loyal business.
According to my calculations, I’ve paid fines on roughly 265 occasions, meaning I should be well on my way to my thirtieth complimentary fine.
Article 5. Mid-September. Retraction.
I’d like to rescind my request.
While I was standing in line to speak to someone about the aforementioned fees, my daughter looked up at me, something strange in her eyes.
“My tummy hurts,” she said. At this time, one of your representatives made their way to me.
“Can I help you?” said the librarian, her eyes darting back and forth between us.
“My tummy hurts,” my daughter repeated, this time clutching at her stomach as well.
“Is she ok?” asked the librarian.
“She’s fine,” I insisted. “She’s kind of a hypochondriac.” And that was true. She’s pretty much had a stomachache ever since she discovered flavored medicine. “Anyway, I wanted to speak with someone about something.”
The librarian was having a hard time pulling her attention from the whining child at my side.
“Are you sure she’s ok?”
“Yes, yes,” I maintained. I’d finally worked up the courage to handle these fees; there was no turning back now. “She’s always saying she has a stomachache. It’s kind of her thing. Just ignore it.”
And then it happened.
All over the carpet.
In the middle of the library.
The librarian looked at me with disgust. With just her eyes, she told me that she was considering reporting me to CPS for negligence.
“I’m hungry,” she was imagining my daughter telling me, to which I likely reply, “You’re clearly lying. You just ate last week. Why do you keep bringing this up?”
After she had cordoned off the offending area of the carpet, she looked at me. “Now what was it I can help you with?”
“Nothing,” I said quickly. “Anyway, I should get her home.”
Closing Statement: I’ll tell you what. I’ll pay the fee, and you pretend not to remember the vomit the next time I come in.
Kaylen is a writer who spends most of her writing time cleaning a house which has literally never once in the history of home ownership actually been clean. This is in part due to the constant presence of her loving family, all of whom are going to physically dwarf her before they’re even halfway done growing. You can find her on Instagram @gingerfoxstylings where she writes book reviews about extremely sanitized, uncontaminated books, creates literary related crafts, and coordinates picture book illustrations with children’s outfits. You can also find her on Twitter @kaylen_wade, where she’s usually confused by what she’s doing there.