Short Story Of the Day – At the Library (flash fiction) by Bill Chance

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Recycled Books
Denton, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#52) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

At the Library

I can find excitement anywhere. Even the library.

The library… the thrill of finding that asshole sleeping at a table – two books in front of him; a string of drool from his lips past his chin staining the front of his shirt. He was really asleep, deep asleep, dead to the world.

I had a big hardback picture book of erotic Greek Sculptures – I love the curves, the roundness of the bodies, the unabashedness of the sexuality – the perfection of the human form. It was a big flat book with a plastic cover.

The book in my hand, I started low, swinging it from my waist out and up over my head holding it tightly cupped on edge like a Greek discus thrower. At the top of the swing I lifted my whole body up… onto my tiptoes… yet never leaving the ground, maintaining control, sliding my hand into the center of the book so when I brought it down, fast and hard, yet controlled, perfectly flat, in a parallel plane with the Formica top of the library table. I was able to put the full weight of my body behind the book, moving it with a terrible acceleration.

It hit the table flat hard and fast and the plastic cover of the book and the Formica tabletop left nowhere for the air to go except compressed and out sideways. Right in front of Sleeping Beauty.  It made a terrific boom, a thunderclap, and since this was a library after all… well, everybody on the whole floor practically shat themselves.

Especially sleeping beauty. He snapped up and awake, scared and confused. The momentum of his head yanking off the table threw his whole body back and his chair tilted a bit, the front two legs coming an inch or two off the floor. I thought that might happen so I was ready.

It didn’t take much of a kick, really… more like a little push with my shoe on his chest. He was looking right in my eyes, still in shock from the book boom, when my loafer made contact. He tumbled over backwards, easy, like it was the most natural thing in the world, like the chair was designed for that. He hit the ground hard, though, with a boom that was not nearly as loud as my book but so much more satisfying – because there was flesh and bone involved, flesh and bone and muscle out of position, out of balance, and gravity and steel, and hard industrial type institutional floors and everything out of whack and finding a new equilibrium really quickly.

And it must have hurt bad. He let out a “woof” before his head snapped back, spittle left over from his nap shooting out when the back of his head bounced off the floor with a sickening crunch… it sounded like a bunch of things; some hard, some soft – broke in there.

He didn’t get up, or move or change his expression. I walked out quickly; before the librarians, security guards, folks with books, folks with laptops, could get their mouths closed and figure out what the hell to do. I hit the stairs, hit the front door, and was gone.

Who says the library is boring.

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