Posts Tagged library

Excerpt 137


Danno told her that “watermelon” would act as the password between her and the driver and not to get in the car with anyone who came to pick her up who did not know it outright. She nodded and hung up, and then waited under a nearby tree whose shadows swallowed her from street view. 
The car that came was black with tinted windows and gold rims.  The driver wore a gray blazer and stubble sprinkled his jawline and coffee can of a neck. Keeping his eyes straight ahead, he rolled down the window.

Ala approached, suddenly feeling ridiculous about having to ask him for a password, when she would obviously do anything to get out of the area at this point.  Bruce was probably awake and looking for her, calling the police to tell them he knows that Ala was involved in the fire.

“Did Danno give you a password?” She said, not knowing what to do with her hands and holding them behind her back.

“Watermelon,” he said. “Get in.”

She let herself in to the back, pulling the nightgown so it covered her knees.  The driver lit a cigarette and turned the radio on.  Whatever career path he had pursued most likely promoted more excitement than driving a girl with an awful haircut and no shoes around in the middle of the night.

A blues song vibrated in the back speakers, forcing her to bite down on her lip to keep from audibly crying.  She turned her face toward the window and let a few tears leak out before straightening out in the seat.  She had almost died.  And now another chance had come from someone who loved her and didn’t bother asking questions.

They passed the local library after twenty minutes. Bruce did not live that far away from her parents, yet his neighborhood had been unrecognizable.  He probably visited the same library. His mother probably shopped at the market that Ala’s mother shopped at.  They probably had seen each other before. A strong gulp managed to push the bile back down her throat.

She rolled down the window as the car turned onto the street where her parents had lived.  It looked the same as always when she had returned from a trip.  The houses looked smaller, cozier, as if she had conquered somewhere more important, and was coming home to recharge.  Now her heart banged against her chest with the thrill of being safe, of coming back from the dead.

Before the car came to a full stop, she opened the door and spilled out in front of Emmanuel’s house.  The car stopped sharply. Danno came out the front door and nodded, sending the car on its way.  Before Ala could comb through her hair with her fingers, she was in his arms.

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segment 53


She rested her head against the ledge and closed her eyes.  The water whirled around her knees creating small sprays of bubbles, not unlike what she had seen at the beach.  She turned her head to one side and heard the satisfying crack in the back of her neck. She turned her head to the other side, heard the pop and suddenly could not take her eyes from what she saw in the corner of the bathroom.

Next to the wastebasket was a large, bring pink cylinder with rounded ends. She knew what it was instanty because of the color.  She climbed out of the tub and, dripping wet, slowly approached as if the object was alive and could attack at any moment.  She crouched down and looked closely.   The handle was covered in rhinestones.  It was almost the size of the one she had seen on the computer screen at the library.

She blinked several times, a hot fear creeping up her back.  She tried to put together that she was in her parent’s master bedroom and seeing this toy.  She couldn’t.  She was afraid to get closer to it, just like when she was about to kill a spider, fearing that it would rise up and swallow her whole.  The ribbed surface and curves made her want to touch it, but she knew she never could. She had no idea where it came from or who had used it.  She couldn’t imagine how it got into her parent’s bathroom. There had to be some kind of mistake.  Her parents barely watched TV and had never seen an R-rated movie as far as she knew.  How would they even know what this was?

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segment 40


Her mother came outside dressed in a cerulean sundress. Her white blond hair was in a French twist and she looked ten years younger with her eyes lined in silver.

“How is Gertrude?”

“She fine.  She has a boyfriend.”

“Oh, that’s nice.  What does he do?”

“I really don’t know,” Ala lied.

“All right. Well, dad and I are going out.  I’ll see you later.”

“Have fun.”

Her mother looked at her for an extra second, and then stepped back inside, sliding the door closed behind her.  A veil of depression swept over Ala as she thought of how her parents were going out while she was hanging upside down on this swing, wasting the best years of her life.

She stood up and stretched, then looked at her watch.  9:15pm. The library would be open for another hour.  She got her backpack from her room and locked the front door behind her.  The sun was setting as she walked down the rolling hill to the library, remembering that she would have to do her research there because since her wallet was missing, she wouldn’t have her library card available to check out books.

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segment 2


This was also perhaps the closest up she had ever seen male genitalia and instantly felt grimy because she was doing so in such a public place.  This after all, was a place for the elderly to come and look at the newspaper or children to join the summer reading challenge. Not a place for smut.  In fact, even in a town as small as Pilkington, say 30,000, Ala could think of a lot of dirty places where people might exchange and discuss photos such as the one staring her in the face.  The parking lot behind the supermarket, where boys wait to collect carts, was definitely a possibility.  Also, the park a few blocks over, where tweens had sex in the slides during the night, was also the place for this kind of picture.

She took a few more moments to study the image before reaching around the side of the monitor and pushing the button that shut down the machine.  She thinks of telling a librarian on duty, but decides it’s no use.  It would only call attention to her and she didn’t want that many people in town finding out she was back from Boston.  Being away for less than a year sounded strange, especially in a place where people hardly ever moved away.

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segment 1


It sort of jumped out at her, or seemed to, as much as anything behind a glossy computer monitor screen could.  The rubbery property of it seemed to dangle even though it was part of a still image.  The color made it seem for a moment that there was a chance it could possibly be something other than what she assumed it was.  Ala looked both ways to make sure no one was peering over her shoulder, or even was watching across the room, the image being so blatant and unapologetic.

Logging on as a guest in the Pilkington Public Library this morning, she certainly did not expect to be greeted with the image of a large, rippled and nearly gray penis.  Surely computers in libraries had strict administrative rules.  She could not even secure an Internet connection in the past when she tried to look up the name of an Etruscan burial site for a term paper she was laboring over. How someone managed to find or import this kind of photo, and more baffling, leave it for someone else to find, was past her ability to comprehend.

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