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international librarian of mystery

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Artemis: A New Hope

I was on issues, working on my repetitive strain injury, when I spotted Artemis in the queue. He was quietly scowling at the elderly lady in front of him, as she struggled to retrieve her library card from her handbag.

There were two of us on issues, so as Artemis worked his way to the front of the horrendously long queue, I juggled it just so to get him onto my desk.

"Hello Artemis."
"Hello Natalie. I like your brooch."
"Thank you. How did you go on your project?"
"Very well thank you. I got a 'commended'."
"Congratulations. That was a lovely map you drew. I was hoping I might be able to see the final product. You said you were going to add some streets and building features to it?"
"Thank you. Yes. I did. I found a map at home that had all the information I needed. I did two overlays onto the tunnel map on some transparent film paper. I'll bring it in next time I come to the library if you want."
"Thanks. Sound great."
"It is. It looked a lot better than those poorly photocopied versions of the original map that ended up in some of the other's projects. Do I have you to thank for hobbling the opposition?"
"Ha! Yes."
"Not that I really needed it, but thank you anyway."

Such gratitude. It verged on heart-warming.

During all this I was absent-mindedly checking out his books without taking any notice of what he had pulled from the shelves. It was only as I printed the issue slip that I took a proper look, and was mildly intrigued to see his selections: a book on wilderness medicine, something about scuba diving, and, most interesting of all, a book on museum, archive, and library security.

"Another project, Artemis?" I enquired, nodding down at the pile.
He paused, then, deadpan: "Yes."

Another moment passed as I waited for more information, but Artemis just grinned fiendishly and piled his books into his school bag. The length of the queue meant I couldn't quiz him on his book selection any further. Not that I'd have been able to anyway - he was already headed towards the exit.

A book on library security. I'm sure he was just winding me up.

[ continued here... ]

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