There are so many things I wish I could unsee in my 16 years of working at a public library. There’s the guy who shed his clothing on the second floor and wandered down to the first floor where a woman smacked him repeatedly with her purse. The aggressive amputee trying to steal DVDs and then grunting that he was being targeted by the staff because of his missing arm.
I think I’ve repressed the memories of the public restrooms where a shit inspired artist set up shop, smearing poop on the walls and the sinks. Think a women’s restroom is a clean place? It’s not. Someone heavily influenced by Jackson Pollock’s work went to town in there. Somebody didn’t have a paint brush so they made do with tampons and pads.
Stay out of the library’s chairs because the bums shit and piss and spill their beer while passed out. Stay out of the garage elevator because it’s constantly occupied by piles of shit and garbage.
And then there’s the crack pipe story.
In the children’s area of the library is a desk where the librarians sit. The kinder librarians let the kids call their parents for rides home and the more thoughtful kids called home to say they’d be a hour late getting home. It’s easy to eavesdrop while the phone’s in use:
“Yeah, me and Cindy are going to work on our geography project.”
(Smoking cigarettes in the basement parking garage)
“Brian and me are going to the 2:30 Manga club.”
(Chase each other through the library and draw dicks on the shelves.)
Once in a while an adult will need to make a phone call. Some of them are a little drunk, some of them are a little loud, and some of them are a whole lot of fucked up.
Let’s all agree that a crack pipe doesn’t go up your butt. I’ve never tried crack so I’m just guessing you don’t smoke it with your asshole. A man needed to borrow the children’s phone. He dialed 911 and began speaking in a low voice:
“The cops were coming and I panicked.”
“Yeah. I shoved the pipe up there. Uh-huh. Maybe 3 days ago.”
“I can’t get it out. I’m starting to worry.”
Worried that his asshole was on crack, that it had been going on a bender?
None of us ever found out what happened to the man with the crack pipe up his butt. Can you imagine the family gathered around a fire, a big Christmas tree in the corner with dozens of beautifully wrapped presents spilling from the bottom branches?
“So there I was, sweating and starting to cramp up. And MaryAnn, you were so helpful, keeping me calm when I thought I’d never shit out that crack pipe. And that’s how I met my lovely wife MaryAnn. And I stopped smoking crack. I started to snort it instead.