Here’s truth for a change. I have no name but I’d like to introduce myself anyways: Hello, my name is whatever you’d like it to be. I was abandoned in this library 14 years ago and raised by a kindly librarian who sadly passed away four years ago without ever thinking to give me a name. What she did teach me – reading, shelving, stealing food out of patrons bags, squeezing myself between the books on the shelves to sleep – has allowed me to survive and thrive in my home sweet library. I can’t imagine stepping out into a world where books are burned or sold or thrown at each other in fits of anger. I’m happy in this library even though I have to change my identity daily so that the new librarian won’t realize I’m living off the fat of the land of letters. At the beginning of the year she became very suspicious of me so I concocted even more elaborate disguises and this eventually lead to this blog where I’ve claimed to be over ninety different people. Please forgive me. I’m just trying to survive in my life here in the library where I was raised on cult classics. Today’s story is a pastiche of some of those classics, a medley of madness. Today, the new librarian passed away in the Ancient History corner, allowing me a window of opportunity to tell the truth.

If through a Traveler’s Labyrinth a Mockingbird

     Lawrence Durrell has come unstuck in Sylvia’s mind. His purple prose suddenly shades the seagull flapping pages of Dr Spock’s “Baby and Child Care” and her eyes widen at a passage of what appears to be diaper changing but maybe it’s about the folds within clouds in the sky, the folds on a pair of jeans or perhaps even the folds within the Devil’s pre-frontal lobes. How can prose be so Protean, how can child-rearing be so convoluted, she wonders as she puts the book back within the rumbling sidebag of the motorcycle. She clings to the body in front of her and blinks several times as the no-logoed billboards on the side of the road roll past: Pynchon Peas – Guaranteed to Stumble you into Surprising Places, Ayn Rand’s Selfish Soda, Now no Need to Ever share and I’m Simply Crazy about Nietzschean Nuts. Even these simple slogans unravel into new language in her mind’s ear. She shouldn’t have gulped down that Kool-Aid at the last stop, she thinks as the rider spews words, words and more words in an endless stream of hip-talk jive: “Sylvia, you and I are like a writer and a reader struggling to connect through a crowd of crazies. I shout out a word but you think its from someone else. I love you. That’s no quote from nobody. No more phonies. You and I. You and I. Just hold me harder, Sylvia and forget Durrell. He’s a bum. A bum you can’t sit on. I love you and your mockbirds that chirp from their bell jar homes.”

  

Advertisements