During my tenure at the library, I have had the misfortune, er...pleasure to interact with all sorts of characters. By characters I mean purveyors of the many colorful facets of the collective that is human personality. Honestly, I look forward to walking into the library on most of my work days for that fact alone. I mean, you just never know what you are going to get on any given day. Well, I would always like to pass on the kids who put rocks in the drop box day, but I think you all know what I mean.
One of the most interesting creatures whom I deal with is the Corkscrew Kid. That child has more tangents than a geometry textbook. He is more slippery than a Teflon coated eel. When I see the Kid's calculating and slightly ferretish face I instantly go on guard. You know that child is plotting something.
He learned his skills from his mother, an elfin, crunchy granola looking creature. Clad in patchwork shirts and sandals with wool socks, her dread-locked bedecked form elicits an instant guard up response from me. This response has nothing to do with appearance and/or life philosophy. Rather, when the Kid's mom walks into the library I know I am about to be hit with an excuse wave of tsunami sized proportions. In order to endure the onslaught I have to fortify my spine with all manner of internal monologue concrete. That lady flips out excuses like a line chef flips pancakes in a Vegas breakfast buffet. I gotta give her props, she has skill.
For instance, one time the Corkscrew Kid glued nickels to the top of the cover page of one of our books. Apparently they thought we wouldn't notice if they just returned the book in the drop box. I mean, we totally get books with spare change super glued in them all the time. How bout no. When we called and let her know that the book would have to be replaced, first she denied that her son would ever do that, then she went on a deflection campaign that a politician would be in awe of, and finally she went to a neighboring library and had the damaged book written off of her account. The level of effort and skill put forth in avoidance of fessing up to one's actions is kind of awe inspiring, and I am slightly frightened of just how effective the Corkscrew Kid's mother would be if she ever put her skills to work on something society needed.
Anyway, that instance happened a few years ago, and there have been many, many instances involving the Corkscrew Kid since then. Why, just a couple Saturdays ago when my manager was manning the circ desk she said CK walked in and went to the back of the library. Since he can't use his card right now due to the fact he has four lost items percolating on it, he's been lurking in the junior section after school and reading books since he can't get on the computer. He's been perfectly well behaved, but I know better than to let my guard down, for this kid is the Greg Pikitis of my town. Sure enough, a few minutes later my boss saw something slithering across the floor out of the corner of her eye. It was the CK's pet bearded dragon. She was more in awe of his reaction than the lizard being there, he honestly projected complete mystification as to the inappropriateness of bringing one's pet lizard to the public library. I am not gonna lie, I had a good belly laugh over that instance.
This of course brings us to yesterday. I was in our new work space, checking in books that had returned in the courier. Our new office space has a huge window that looks out onto the stacks and front door. As I was checking the condition of an illuminating tome on how to paint rocks, movement caught my eye. It was CK. I smiled a hello and stared right into his calculating blue eyes. He nodded and raised his backpack up towards the book drop. Swords had been crossed.
CK then made a big show of returning exactly four books into the book drop. I admit, I had to look away a couple of times as my face might have broke into a smile. The kid was really going over the top with his book returning ministrations. He then walked around the corner and asked me for a guest pass.
"Well, CK, you have a card, and as you well know, I can give you your number if your account isn't blocked. Let me go check in those books you brought back and I'll be right with ya." I replied.
The four books were checked out on his mother's card. Apparently yesterday's attempted con was to return exactly four books in the hope that I would just chuck a guest pass for the computers in his direction, even though his card is blocked due to four lost items on it, a well known fact that my coworkers, CK, and I all know about and reiterate to him at least once or twice a week. You gotta give the kid props for trying.
"You still have lost items on your card, sorry bud, no computer time for you today." I smiled at him as I delivered the Minecraft play time death blow.
CK just slightly inclined his head as he bored his gaze into mine. We regarded each other for a second. I raised an eyebrow letting the full force of my policy purveying librarian power forth upon his defiant little form. He in return hit me with the full force of his couldn't give two dog defecations in a glass about what I thought attitude. The battle continues...