I was at the library in Monterey recently to replenish my supply of non-Kindle books. The library there is quite a decent one, though they don’t always keep up with the latest releases. Anyway, Small Son and I were over the picture book section when we were accosted by a diminutive chap. I would’ve placed him at around six years old. He rushed up to me and shook my hand.
Good manners, I thought.
Then he bellowed in a, well, bellow-ish sort of voice, “you guys wanna play?” As bellowing voices are typically frowned on in libraries, particularly those of the screechy, five-year-old variety, I nervously looked around to see if one of the ubiquitous, steely-eyed library madams was glaring at us. We were in the clear. I said, “uh, no thanks.”
Where’s his mother? I thought.
“Let’s play!” he bellowed again. Small Son shied away from him in a mixture of natural wariness and wisdom and grabbed my leg. “C’mon! C’mon!” bellowed the little bellower.
Did he miss his afternoon Ritalin dose? I thought.
I was pushing our baby stroller at the time. My wife’s purse and various diaper accoutrements were stuffed in the compartment in the bottom. The little thug made a dive for them. “What’s in here?” he bellowed, as he stuck his hand in the purse. I swiftly nudged him aside and instructed him that the purse did not belong to him.
Where’s his parole officer? I thought.
Small Son attempted an escape toward the reference section. The little thug trotted after us but was happily diverted by the sight of an unoccupied library computer. The last I saw of the fellow was him thumping away on the keyboard. The homeless guy trying to snooze at the next computer was starting to look a little uncomfortable.
We’ll bring pepper spray next time, I thought.